Protest march sets off from Ramai Trace

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. 

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