School students rally behind the Bahamas

Chil­dren in schools across T&T have been asked to do­nate non-per­ish­able food items to as­sist per­sons from The Ba­hamas who have been dis­placed by Hur­ri­cane Do­ri­an.

The re­lief ef­fort which is be­ing co­or­di­nat­ed by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion will span a pe­ri­od of two weeks from Sep­tem­ber 16 to 27.


Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence at the Min­istry’s head of­fice in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day, Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter An­tho­ny Gar­cia ap­pealed to stu­dents to play their part.

Ti­tled the Na­tion­al Schools Ba­hamas Dis­as­ter Re­lief Project, Gar­cia said it will be a two-fold ini­tia­tive: “The first step would be ed­u­cat­ing our chil­dren in schools in T&T from the ear­ly child­hood sec­tor through to pri­ma­ry, sec­ondary and even ter­tiary lev­els on nat­ur­al dis­as­ters and its ef­fects, and al­so, what good cit­i­zen­ship means and the need to look af­ter those in less for­tu­nate cir­cum­stances.”

Gar­cia said the do­nat­ed items would be col­lect­ed by the Of­fice of Dis­as­ter Pre­pared­ness and Man­age­ment (ODPM) for ship­ment to the Ba­hamas.

Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Lenore Bap­tiste-Sim­mons is li­ais­ing with se­nior of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of For­eign and Cari­com Af­fairs to en­sure prop­er co­or­di­na­tion of the ef­fort.


Gar­cia said, “We are ask­ing all our teach­ers, prin­ci­pals and par­ents and in par­tic­u­lar our stu­dents, to play their part in the ef­fort to as­sist the chil­dren of the Ba­hamas dur­ing this time of great need.”

But Gar­cia made it clear the ini­tia­tive does not in­volve tak­ing in stu­dents from the Ba­hamas af­fect­ed by Do­ri­an, as was done for Do­mini­ca, at least for now, “That is not part of this ini­tia­tive. But of course, if that be­comes a ne­ces­si­ty, we will have dis­cus­sions to see how best we can fa­cil­i­tate,” he said.

In Sep­tem­ber 2017, the min­istry wel­comed Do­mini­can stu­dents af­ter the is­land was dec­i­mat­ed by Hur­ri­cane Maria.

At the time, Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Kei­th Row­ley en­cour­aged lo­cals to open their “homes, pots and schools” to ac­com­mo­date dis­placed pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary school stu­dents from the hur­ri­cane-rav­aged Do­mini­ca, so their ed­u­ca­tion would not suf­fer.

Reporter: Anna Lisa-Paul

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