Parents, teachers and pupils of the Ramai Trace Hindu School have set off on a three-hour protest march from Debe to the Ministry of Education in San Fernando to press their demands for the immediate opening of the school. They have been joined by Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal and members of the community
More than 100 people began the six-mile journey around 9 am from Ramai Trace Junction at the SS Erin Road to the Ministry of Education's Sutton office where they intend to drop off a petition signed by more 1,000 stakeholders.
Parents and pupils of the school have held numerous protests over Government's failure to open the school building which is 95 per cent complete.
Since 2015 the 200-plus pupils have been housed at the Hanuman Milan Mandir on Penal Rock Road in sub-standard conditions.
Describing the march fas historic, Moonilal said: “We are calling on the Minister of Education and the Government to immediately complete and open the Ramai Trace Hindu School which has been under construction for five years now."
The Oppostion MP said Education Minister Anthony Garcia had promised on five occasions that the school would be completed and opened.
“This morning will be a peaceful march. It is really a sad day when children now have to stay away from school to march to ensure that they get their school, to ensure that they get their education,” Moonilal said.
He said it is obscene that government is finding $150 million to refurbish Skinner Park, San Fernando when a fraction of that sum will complete the school. He said former education minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, under whose tenure construction of the Ramai school started, is expected to join the march.
PTA president Sherryann Persad-Bhagwansingh said pupils of the school have been suffering for years.
“We are embarking on a peaceful march to San Fernando and we hope and prayer that our pleas are heard," she said.
Persad-Bhagwansingh said the temple is not conducive to teaching and learning.
“It’s way too small. Children keep getting sick, toilet facilities are inadequate they are suffering plain and simple,” she said.
The marchers are accompanied by a music truck as they make their way to San Fernando.
- by Sascha Wilson.