Build new Paramin RC
By MIRANDA LA ROSE Friday, June 22 2012
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Fun run: Students of Paramin RC Primary School race along Morne Espoire Road, Paramin yesterday. The EMA is denying permission for a new school to be ...
AFTER nine years based in the compound of an abandoned supermarket, residents are calling for the construction of a new Paramin RC Primary School, saying the students are at a disadvantage attending classes in such an environment.
What is for certain is that the residents and the schools Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) do not agree with the Education Ministry’s proposal to rebuild the school on the said compound of the abandoned supermarket.
PTA president Jennifer Constantine told Newsday that the community only learnt yesterday from a radio news cast that the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) had reportedly not granted permission for construction of a new school on a site provided by the Roman Catholic Board of Education because the site was a “forest reserve.”
“This is disappointing news,” Constantine said. She said the EMA had deflated the communities’ spirit which soared when via a letter, the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) revealed that NH (International) Construction Company was given a contract to build a new school at Morne Espoire Road over a nine-month period. Construction was due to start last April and end next February.
Told last night that the EMA had since issued a media release stating that the radio news report was “inaccurate” and it (the EMA), “is currently awaiting outstanding information from the applicant before a decision is made”, Constantine said, “I’m honestly glad. I’m relieved. There is hope still.”
The EMA in its release said that it received the Certificate of Clearance application on November 23, 2011 and requested further information from the applicant. The EMA said further information received lacked the necessary information to complete the review. The applicant was then advised to supply the completed information by March 27, 2012.
In the applicant’s response, the EMA said, information on public consultation was still outstanding. The applicant was asked to supply this information on June 12, and this was still outstanding.
On the area being reported as a “forest reserve”, Constantine said it was given to the Catholic Church by a prominent lawyer through the Bruce Procope Trust. “From that parcel of land,” she said, “Our Lady of Guadeloupe Church was built and a playground built under the last administration. There was no talk of forest reserve them. Now we hear this.”
A former member of the Paramin Development Committee (PDC) who spoke on condition of anonymity declared the EMA does not have authority to rule on the land use as it is, “private property and not State land.” The land tenure is vested in the Catholic Church, the PDC former member said, based on a deed of conveyance.
In the meantime, students continuing their school work and play on the compound of the old supermarket. Several schoolboys engaged in a lively game of cricket on a road at the back of the school.
Resident Nicolas Felix told Newsday the present school is not suitable an environment for teaching children as it is located next to a bar and a Play Whe booth. “If you are going to teach moral and ethics in school, the school should not be right next door to a bar,” Felix said.
The lack of attention in the construction of a new school building, Constantine said has resulted in a decline in enrollment. The school has 157 children. The school, he said has had to refuse children at the start of this current term, limiting new admission to only 25.
She said for a population of 3,000 to 4,000 people in Paramin, this school’s student population should really be in the region of 300 to 350. She said many residents shoulder additional economic burden to send their children to primary schools out of the area.