Minister: Classes resume at Curepe Presbyterian Primary School

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Parents and guardians wait for their children outside the Curepe Presbyterian Primary School in April 2022. FILE PHOTO/ANGELO MARCELLE –

EDUCATION Minister Dr Nayan Gadsby-Dolly has said that classes have resumed at the Curepe Presbyterian Primary School after sewer-related problems caused parents to remove their children from the school recently.

She made this statement in Senate on April 29 when she responded to a question from Opposition Senator Wade Mark on this matter.

Gadsby-Dolly told senators that the school is “open for business.”

She added that all parents are aware of this fact “and that they can carry their children safely to school.”

Gadbsy-Dolly said the ministry’s facilities department, the National Maintenance Training and Security Company Ltd (MTS) and the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation (TPRC) are collaborating to address the sewer problem..

“For context, the ministry has dealt with 38 such sewer issues from January 2024 to present and we continue to deal with them as they arise.”

She told senators that the TPRC will pump down the school’s sewer to keep the school operational while MTS does a scope and cost to do longer term repairs needed to the sewer.

“However those interim measures have already been put in place. The school is open and ready for business.”

Gadsby-Dolly said it was unacceptable for a leaking sewer problem to be occurring in a school for a year.

“Every report of a sewerage leak is dealt with expeditiously by the ministry. The situation is that the sewer needs to be replaced at this time and that is what we are setting about to do. If there is a leak that arises, in every case, repair will be attempted first because it is the cheaper option and the less disruptive option because a total replacement is contemplated.”

In the case of this school, she said it was believed the sewer has reached the end of its natural life and, therefore, needed to be replaced.

“Those measures that are put in place now are to ensure that the school can operate and that students can go to school even as the work will be done.”

Mark remained unconvinced that the interim measures mentioned by Gadsby-Dolly would be effective to ensure the health and safety concerns of students and teachers at the school.

Gadsby-Dolly said, “I have answered this on two occasions and I will say it again. But I will speak more slowly so that the member (Mark) can understand what I am saying.”

She reiterated, “The school is open. The sewer is to be repaired. The regional corporation has agreed to pump down the sewer as required so that there is no leak and no health-and-safety concern for the students. While they are doing that in the interim, so that the school can function, the MTS is working on the scope and cost for the repair of the sewer so that the problem will be alleviated. The interim measures are already in place. The school is open.”