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TIWU/ TTUTA query less MTS officers at schools

By DARCEL CHOY Tuesday, April 8 2014

The Transport and Industrial Workers’ Union (TIWU) president Roland Sutherland is concerned about the reduction in the number of National Maintenance, Training and Security Company (MTS) security officers at the nation’s schools.

The reduction of officers was first raised last week by President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association, Davanand Sinanan. Sinanan said principals informed them that instead of there being four officers on duty at schools, there were only two, and he was told that decision became effective on April 1.

Speaking with Newsday yesterday, Sutherland said since 2012, the union has warned workers of attempts by the ministry to dismantle the MTS security in schools, but it recently became a reality.

“The officers were silently removed from some of the schools in the remote areas, and then the removals starting spreading across the country, so we realised what was going on,” he said.

He said this was not a time for the downsizing to be happening because of the escalating violence in schools.

“If we ever needed to strengthen the security service, it is now. The teachers are under threat, they have the fear that without security guards their life will be exposed to harm,” Sutherland said.

He said MTS security officers have been placed in schools for the last 30 years, and they have performed well without the necessary tools and equipment.

Last week, Communications Manager at the Ministry of Education, Alicia Busby, told Newsday, contrary to the fears, security has not been reduced in schools. She said the ministry, as part of a rationalisation and alignment exercise, has hired approximately 168 School Safety Officers two of which will be placed in every school. She said the ministry adjusted the MTS complement in schools which would have seen, in some instances, a reduction and in some instances an increase depending on the need arising out of a risk analysis.

Sinanan said the union will meet with TTUTA today to sit down and discuss how they will address this issue.

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