At right, Couva North MP Ravi Ratiram stand in solidarity with Waterloo residents to highlight their plight to have the Waterloo road, Carapichaima Early Childhood Care and Education centre opened. – Photo by Lincoln Holder
Led by Couva North MP Ravi Ratiram and members of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation, several Carapichaima residents demonstrated on Thursday to highlight the unopened Waterloo Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centre.
They are calling on the Government to open the centre at Waterloo Road in Carapichaima, saying it was built under the People’s Partnership administration. But the government changed in 2015, and the centre has never been opened.
Ratiram said he and local government representatives joined in solidarity to give a voice to the voiceless. The representatives were councillors Allan “Taxi” Seepersad, Dubraj Persad, Ramchand Rajbal Maraj and Gangaram Gopaul.
“This centre was 100 per cent completed and has not been opened,” the opposition MP said.
He strongly criticised the Government, accusing officials of trampling on citizens’ rights, freedom and privileges. Ratiram repeatedly called on the residents to speak out on issues that affect them.
Seepersad, the councillor for the area, called on Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and her colleagues to “open their eyes and be serious.
“This administration must make sure that ministers can do their jobs properly. If they cannot do their work, they should pack up and go,” Seepersad said.
“Today the children are suffering in the community. We are calling on the Education Minister, the Public Utilities Minister and others to come here to see what is happening, because we want service for the children. We want the ECCE centre opened.”
Third from left, Couva North MP, Ravi Ratiram kneels in prayer with residents and councillors to highlight their plight to have the Waterloo road, Carapichaima Early Childhood Care and Education centre opened. – Lincoln Holder
Seepersad said the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration built the centre to show love for the children.
One of the protesters said she was looking forward to letting her three-year-old child attend the centre.
Last month, the Education Ministry announced that ECCE and standards one-four students will return to the physical classroom in April on a rotation basis.
Owing to the covid19 pandemic, since March 2020, when the Government first announced lockdown measures, there have not been physical classes for ECCE students.
Initially, all educational institutions were banned from having physical classes, and all classes were virtual. Last year, the Government loosened restrictions, allowing some secondary students back to schools.
Newsday called the Education Ministry for a comment, but up to Thursday afternoon, there was no response.