Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 9th 2013 Contents A5
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
While Education Minister Dr
Tim Gopeesingh yesterday urged
parents to keep sick children at
home, he could not provide a res-
olution for healthy students unable
to attend the Pleasantville Second-
He said it might be a further two
weeks before classes resumed at the
Parents of students are expected
to protest at the ministry in St Clair,
Port-of-Spain, this morning.
Gopeesingh, speaking with jour-
nalists after the formal opening of
the Lengua Presbyterian Primary
School, Papaourie Road, Barrackpore,
said problems at the Pleasantville
school were a "nightmare" the gov-
ernment inherited from the PNM.
He described the situation at the
school as a disaster.
He explained that a contractor
was given the job to construct the
school but work was not progressing
so the contract was terminated for
several reasons. That, he said, then
evolved into a "legal problem."
"We had to disentangle a legal sit-
uation with the Pleasantville Sec-
"Now the existing one, of which
part has been completed, we have
to go and do repairs and maintenance
work, disentangle all of the overhead
cabling and so on and continue to
construct what remains to be con-
structed in Pleasantville," Gopeesingh
He said San Fernando East MP,
former Prime Minister Patrick Man-
ning, personally called him and he
assured the MP he would address
the situation at the school.
Goopesingh added: "The whole
electrical work in the school will cost
about $8 million so we have inherited
"We are trying to work as quickly
as possible to ensure that the stu-
dents and the teachers continue to
be part of the education process.
"I am personally looking after it.
I understand that the teachers and
the PTA are very unhappy but I will
continue to work with them and do
the best, as fast as possible for the
benefit of the students."
He said the principal told him
teachers were working with most of
the students online but he hoped
the completion works would not
take more than two weeks.
He said the Education Facilities
Company Ltd (EFCL) was working
as fast as possible to have all out-
standing school repairs completed.
Gopeesingh said 229 projects were
completed over the vacation but
there were some problems with some
of the schools.
Commenting on the H1N1 situ-
ation, he warned parents against
sending sick children to school.
He said: "We are going to ask the
students or the parents of children
who have the common cold to stay
away from the schools during the
viremic stage, this is, during the time
they have the fever, the cough and
"All in all it is going to be normal
as ever but we are taking special
The warning came hours after
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar mandated Health Minister
Dr Fuad Khan to increase the pur-
chase of H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines
Thus far, the Ministry of Health
has confirmed six cases of swine flu
and two suspected deaths.
Gopeesingh said the ministry was
prepared to treat the issue the same
way as two years ago, through
"What we are doing is sending
out information to the various
schools, to the various principals for
prevention by ensuring good personal
hygiene and thorough washing of
hands," he said.
Gopeesingh assured if there were
any severe or serious cases screening
would be done.
He said there were several differ-
ences between the symptoms of the
common cold and the H1N1 virus.
Gopeesingh said one could tell
H1N1 by the "rapidity and the sever-
ity of the symptoms. If you have
severe body aches and severe
headaches and severe lung problems
or breathing problems, you know
that it is one of these major prob-
lems," he added.
He and Public Utilities Minister
Nizam Mohammed ceremonially cut
the ribbon to open the school, even
though students have been occupy-
ing the $28 million building since
January 10, 2012.
He said he wanted to formally
open to demonstrate Government s
commitment to provide quality edu-
cation facilities to students nation-
He denied yesterday s ceremony
was staged to coincide with local
government elections campaigning.
"Nothing to do with local gov-
ernment elections. Education tran-
scends all politics. You do not play
politics with the lives of children,"
There are four Influenza
A/H1N1 cases at the San Fernan-
do General Hospital, two of
whom are critical.
The two patients are being treat-
ed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
while the other two are on the
CEO of the South West Regional
Health Authority (SWRHA) Anil
Gosine said the two who were in
the ward were doing well.
He explained underlying prob-
lems prior to having the H1N1,
such as respiratory or cardiac prob-
lems, can make the illness worse.
He said patients needed to be
aware of these problems and take
the necessary precautions.
Gosine said an area of the med-
ical ward has been converted into
a holding bay for patients suspect-
ed of contracting the disease, com-
monly known as swine flu.
He said the area was isolated
and fully equipped to handle any
patients coming in with the symp-
toms associated with the flu.
However, Gosine said there had
not been a repeat of the mad rush
the Accident and Emergency
Department experienced last week,
following the announcement by
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan that
the disease was here.
The CEO said there was no epi-
He said authorities were working
with the 2009 protocols and
guidelines which went into effect
when there was an outbreak in
He said the vaccines, which
would have remained in stock from
that period, have been revalidated
by the manufacturers up until next
New stocks were received on
Monday and that new stock would
have a shelf life for up to three
years, he added.
The vaccines, however, when
injected into the human system
only lasts for one year.
Gosine said staff who had been
vaccinated in 2009 would have
the option of being vaccinated
By tomorrow or Friday, he said,
the vaccines would have been dis-
tributed to all 31 health centres
and district facilities within the
SWRHA jurisdiction and available
to the public.
For the second consecutive
week there will be no sitting of
the House of Representatives,
leaving in limbo a government
motion to appoint four members
to the Police Service Commission
Sources could not say when the
House would meet again, leaving
speculation rife that it may not
meet before the October 21 local
government elections in Trinidad.
Last week, after a tour of the
Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, $2
million police post project, Leader
of Government Business and
Housing Minister Dr Roodal
Moonilal said the Parliament would
meet in a few days but did not give
a specific date.
He said the matter concerning
the PSC was among the agenda
items to be discussed when sittings
Meanwhile, Attorney General
Anand Ramlogan said he had
received a letter from Karl Hud-
son-Phillips, QC, about the qual-
ification of the nominees submitted
by President Anthony Carmona.
He said he subsequently wrote
to President Carmona about the
Hudson-Phillips letter was writ-
ten on behalf of former head of
the public service Reginald Dumas,
who has claimed two of the nom-
inees, former Independent senator
Dr James Armstrong and attorney
Roamar Achat-Saney, did not meet
the constitutional qualification
He said the members must be
"qualified and experienced in the
disciplines of law, finance, sociology
Armstrong and Achat-Saney did
not appear to be experienced and
qualified in the fields of finance
and management which were the
only disciplines not found among
the proposed commissioners.
Meanwhile, the work of the
commission, which includes the
review of the performance of the
acting Commissioner of Police and
the Deputy Commissioners, cannot
be carried out.
The commission has not been
operational since July 20, when the
three-year term of the four com-
missioners---Addison Khan, Martin
George, Kenneth Parker and
Only PSC chairman Prof Ramesh
Deosaran remains in office. His
term expires next April.
Hundreds of complaints about
police promotion and indiscipline
cannot be addressed as there is no
The T&T Guardian understands
Carmona is not expected to back
down on his nominees. The names
will be put before the Parliament
and a vote will be taken.
Two critical swine
flu cases in South
No House sittings so
PSC motion in limbo
Minister Dr Tim
looks on as
Minister of Public
Baksh hands over
keys to principal
official opening of
yesterday. At left
is chairman of the
KRISTIAN DE SILVA
'Two more weeks before classes resume'
Dr Tim: Nightmare at
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