UNC local government reps, parents protest over school not being opened

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Marabella West councillor Michael Alibcous joins parents on Thursday in a protest outside Marabella Anglican Primary School which did not reopen at the start of the new term on Monday. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

UNC Marabella West councillor John Michael Alibocus and UNC alderman Villana Ramoutarsingh joined some parents of students at the Marabella Anglican Primary School to protest the school not being opened for the new academic year, which began on Monday.

The small group of parents assembled outside the gates of the school, which is close to Bay Road in Marabella, on Thursday.

Alibocus said work on the school was completed in 2019. But, he said, it has not been opened to date.

The Government, he said, “promised the people (they would open the school). It is only fair to open the school for the children. Let the children come first.”

Alibocus said many children and their parents have been greatly inconvenienced by the school being closed.

One parent estimated the number of boys and girls enrolled at the school were 250 and 260 respectively.

Ramoutarsingh said these students have been placed in primary schools in places like Gasparillo and Harmony Hall.

“There is no room at these schools to hold these children.”

She said one operates on a shift system and this places a burden on parents.

“It is very expensive for these parents, in these hard times to be paying for transport for these children.”

A second parent claimed the school was not open because it had no electricity connection.

“We want to hear that from the Ministry of Education.”

This parent said the Anglican Board is liaising with the Education Ministry about opening the school.

While Alibocus, Ramoutarsingh and the parents spoke with the media, a security guard looked on from a nearby booth while another worker was walking close to the locked gate of the school.

Alibocus and Ramoutarsingh promised to continue to represent the parents as best they could to get the school opened.

Alibocus reminded the Government that a general election is coming in 2025.

A third parent said parents were prepared to intensify their protest to have the school opened, if there is no satisfactory reply from the board or the ministry.

Ramoutarsingh appealed to San Fernando West MP Faris Al-Rawi to do what he could to expedite the opening.