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.