Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 31st 2014 Contents A4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, March 31, 2014
KALIFA CLYNE and RICHARD LORD
An ongoing dispute between the parent
and teacher association of St Barbara s
Spiritual Baptist Primary School and its
principal Barbara Gray-Burke will be
referred to the Teaching Service Commis-
So said Education Minister Dr Tim
Gopeesingh, in response to questions from
reporters at the Early Childhood Care and
Education, off the Churchill-Roosevelt High-
way in Maloney yesterday. The school, which
was officially opened by Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, was the venue for
yesterday s Spiritual Shouter Baptist Lib-
eration Day celebrations.
Without naming the author, Gopeesingh
said a letter was written to the minister
outlining the problem behind the dispute.
He said there seemed to be different views
on the problem.
"This is a matter for the Teaching Service
Commission to investigate," he said, adding
that his ministry "will be sending the matter
to the Commission for determination."
Gopeesingh said the matter seemed sim-
ilar to one which occurred in the Tunapuna
Hindu School, where the board of that
school did not want the principal.
He said he will work with his Permanent
Secretary, the Chief Education Officer and
the elders of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist
community "but the Teaching Service Com-
mission is the one which determines the
issue of the principal."
He said it will be the commission which
will determine "whether the principal moves
or stays. That is the issue for the Teaching
Service Commission to determine."
Gray-Burke , who addressed celebrations
at the school yesterday made an indirect
response to the protest.
"Don t mind the little hiccup on the way.
Satan must mash our heels and bruise our
toes but we are going to go on."
Pressed for elaboration later, she said:
"Today I am celebrating, Wednesday check
How it started
The PTA protested on Friday calling for
the removal of the chairman of the school s
board, Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke.
They held placards as their children stood
in front of them during a protest outside
the school at Maloney on Friday morning.
Nigel Thompson, who has three sons at
the school, expressed outrage over what he
described as neglect of the school s needs.
Thompson, vice president of the PTA,
said the school often ran out of lightbulbs,
markers for whiteboards, ink for printers
and other necessary items, leaving parents
and teachers to purchase them.
"Barbara Gray-Burke has refused to meet
with us despite many requests that she do
so," Thompson said.
The catalyst for the protest was the can-
cellation of a Spiritual Baptist celebration
Thompson said teachers and parents had
spent weeks preparing to stage a re-enact-
ment of a traditional Spiritual Baptist
thanksgiving for pupils, but the day before,
Gray-Burke called the school to prohibit
"The children came in their dresses and
headwraps made by their parents. They
were excited for the activity and they came
here to do nothing," Thompson said.
Bidia Ramsudharsaid the school was being
allowed to deteriorate.
Gray-Burke shut down the cafeteria, she
"She said the cleaning service at the
school would be discontinued. Teachers are
left without supplies and she is against all
extra-curricular activities for the students.
"I am a parent. I have four children
attending this school and I am concerned
at the things that go on here."
The school has six teachers and approx-
imately 250 pupils.
Gray-Burke was a United National Con-
gress Senator between 1995 and 2000.
The 2,000-square-foot building was
completed in three months by Super Indus-
trial Services Ltd in 2012.
Baptist PTA rift goes to
Teaching Service Commission
Three people were arrested for possession of an
illegal firearm, ammunition and marijuana in the
Western Division following a police exercise in the
area on Saturday.
The exercise which was spearheaded by Sgt Perry
began at 3 am and ended at midday.
Police reports are that officers, which included
members of the Western Division Task Force, K9
Unit and the Inter Agency Task Force, executed a
search warrant at a house at Upper Mercer Road,
Diego Martin, where they arrested a 25 year-old man
and a 38 year-old woman for possession of a 9mm
extended magazine, a 9mm firearm, 12 rounds of 9
mm ammunition, a Glock 19 magazine, an SLR mag-
azine with 20 rounds of 7.62 ammunition and a
Smith and Wesson magazine. PC Pantin is conducting
enquiries on that matter.
At a house at Le Platte Village, Maraval, officers
arrested a 24-year-old man with a quantity of mar-
ijuana. WPC Riley is investigating that matter.
Three arrested in
Political leader of the People's National Movement (PNM) Keith Rowley, centre, dances during the performance of Beverly Irish along
withDeputy Political Leader Rohan Sinanan, left, Lady Vice Chairman Camille Robinson Regis, Archbishop Dorothy Hercules, Archbishop
Alston Peters and PNM deputy leader Joan Yuille Williams during the PNM's Shouter Baptist Liberation Day celebration, La Horquetta
basketball court, Phase 5, La Horquetta, on Saturday. PHOTO:ABRAHAM DIAZ
Drummers of the Universal Ecclesiastical Order of
Spiritual Baptist set the mood during Praise and
worship at the Tubal Uriah 'Buzz' Butler Baptist
Village at Harris Promenade, San Fernando, Saturday
night. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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