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TTUTA: Arima Hindu unfit for occupation

Tuesday, September 2 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Davanand Sinanan...
Davanand Sinanan...

Arima Hindu Primary School is unfit for occupation, and it would be reckless for students to resume their classes on the school’s compound on Temple Street. This was the view expressed yesterday by Davanand Sinanan, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA).

“The school is unfit to be occupied. It would be reckless of anyone to insist they should have school. They are putting all people at risk by going into the school,” Sinanan said.

For months Arima Hindu has been trying to relocate the school because their present school is termite-ridden and in a state of disrepair.

The Ministry of Education was trying to make provisions for the school to be temporarily housed in the old building of Arima New Government Primary School on Simone Avenue. However, that building was in a worse state of disrepair than the Arima Hindu School building.

With all schools expected to open today, Sinanan said it would be violating the Occupation Safety and Health (OSH) Act if classes resume for Arima Hindu School on Temple Street. On Thursday, when teachers were expected to report to work, Sinanan said the teachers walled off the compound stating that it was an unsafe work space.

Sinanan said the principal could be liable for allowing a staff and students to enter the compound if it is in a state of disrepair.

“A principal’s first responsibility is to ensure the safety of students and staff. The principal is there to ensure that quality of the plant and ensure that it is in compliance with the law,” Sinanan said.

Satnarayan Maharaj, Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) said he spoke with the principal and teachers of Arima Hindu School. He said he heard their concerns, but still hopes that the school would open today.

“We spoke with the teachers and principal. There is still a lot of concern. I have every hope that the school will reopen,” he said.

Maharaj said the SDMS is currently looking for a parcel of land to rebuild the school. He said they hope to acquire the land in the near future. Until then, he said the school will have to continue on Temple Street. “We have no option but to continue there for the time until we can acquire the land,” Maharaj said. Commenting on the Arima Central Government Secondary School on Simone Street, Sinanan said the school is a source of concern for TTUTA as well.

Arima Central was also bidding for the vacant Arima New Government building. Teachers and parents have been complaining about the school being cramped for space and overcrowded. The school’s facilities are also outdated and needs to be refurbished.

Sinanan said he spoke with members of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and they expressed concern that the school would not be ready today. Some of the work in the school has been completed and that includes replacing the school’s library floor. However, the complete scope of work is yet to be completed. Newsday spoke with an official from the Ministry of Education who said the principal reported that Arima Central should be ready to be reopened today.

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