Parents want new Rousillac Hindu school completed

Par­ents yes­ter­day staged a plac­ard demon­stra­tion call­ing on Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter An­tho­ny Gar­cia to com­plete the Rousil­lac Hin­du Pri­ma­ry School.

For the past six years, pupils have been housed at the Rousil­lac Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­tre, which is a ten minute walk from the in­com­plete school build­ing.

The school was de­stroyed by fire 17 years ago and six years ago the Gov­ern­ment be­gan build­ing a new school, but the project was halt­ed.

The school build­ing is 70 per cent com­plet­ed. A res­i­dent said he saw peo­ple re­mov­ing ma­te­ri­als from in­side the build­ing.

At the site yes­ter­day, there was a sta­tion di­ary on a ta­ble in front of the build­ing with a log book, but no se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cer.

Loads of sand, reels of mesh wire, bags of ce­ment, toi­let fix­tures, wa­ter tanks and tools laid waste in­side the build­ing.

Vice pres­i­dent of the Par­ent Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (PTA) Camile Gob­in re­called that in 2003 a bush fire par­tial­ly de­stroyed the school.

The pupils were housed at a tem­ple next to the school for about a year while the min­istry re­con­struct­ed one of the school wings which was par­tial­ly burnt.

The min­istry be­gan con­struct­ing the school in 2013 and the pupils were re­lo­cat­ed to the com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre.

The school was sup­posed to have been com­plet­ed in 18 months.

Fol­low­ing protest ac­tion, Gob­in said the PTA met with Gar­cia and Min­is­ter in the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion Dr Lovell Fran­cis and they were promised that the school would have been com­plet­ed.

“...This year, 2019, they gave out a list for 27 schools (to be com­plet­ed) and Rousil­lac is not on the list,” Gob­in said.

Gob­in said the com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre is still be­ing used by the com­mu­ni­ty for ex­tra cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties and is un­san­i­tary for the chil­dren.

Coun­cil­lor Chan­dra Ra­mad­hars­ingh said she was present when the con­tract was drawn up for use of the com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre for 18 months while the school was be­ing con­struct­ed.

“From then to now noth­ing was done. In fact, ac­cord­ing to the PTA we are ac­tu­al­ly squat­ting in the com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre be­cause there is no con­tract that says we have ex­tend­ed time on it,” Ra­mad­hars­ingh said.

She said the com­mu­ni­ty has one of the largest vil­lage coun­cils and women’s group which use the com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre for dif­fer­ent events and pro­grammes.

She said a pre- school was pre­vi­ous­ly housed at the com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre. “Not on­ly are the chil­dren be­ing de­prived, our whole com­mu­ni­ty is at a stand­still. We can’t do any­thing be­cause every­thing we do is in­con­ve­nience for the chil­dren.”

Last week Fri­day at a press con­fer­ence with Gar­cia and Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Camille Robin­son-Reg­is, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert said Gov­ern­ment will be go­ing on the lo­cal mar­ket to raise $900 mil­lion to com­plete 27 schools. Up­on the Gov­ern­ment as­sum­ing of­fice in 2015, he said there were 118 in­com­plete schools, most of them in dis­ar­ray.

He said it would cost $2.8 bil­lion to com­plete all those schools.

- by Sascha Wilson. Photo by Rishi Ragoonath.

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