News day / The 100-year-old school has been plagued by a number of problems including: poor ventilation , a rat infestation , and a faulty sewer system . Students have been forced to stay away from classes on many occasions. The parents, armed with placards held aloft and led by their MP, Dr Bhoe Tewarie and councillor for Freeport/ Chickland Anil Balliram, chanted that they wanted a new school. Speaking with the media , Tewarie said the school had become a health hazard and that the protest was the culmination of frustration by parents, students and staff over the past several months . He outlined two solutions to the problems: firstly, to restart construction of the new school building which is more than 60 per cent complete and secondly, to relocate staff and students to the Preysal Community Centre. The former Planning Minister is also proposing the construction of a “pre-fab”building to house the students saying such a structure would take just a few weeks to complete.

Meanwhile, councillor Balliram called on Garcia to stop playing games with the children’s education.

He claimed the students are being victimized because they live in an Opposition constituency.” Imagine you want us to pay property tax and we can’t even get basic things like a school, “ he said.

Responding to the protest in Preysal , the Ministry of Education said it is addressing claims by staff of a foul stench emanating from the sewer system at the Preysal Government Primary School. A media release from the Ministry said officials from Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) repaired the leaking, underground sewer line on the compound on May 20 and classes resumed. However, despite these efforts, teachers continued to complain of a stench on the compound. The Ministry noted that school supervisors from the Caroni Education District visited the school on several occasions and reported that these claims were actively being investigated.

The Ministry stated the school supervisors also met with the principal, teachers, representatives from the National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA) and the school’s Parent Teachers Association (PTA) on Monday to discuss suggestions to temporarily relocate the student body to two locations, namely the nearby Preysal Community Centre and the old Couva West Secondary School. A follow-up meeting was expected to take place yesterday.


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