Protest for new Rousillac school

Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 14:00

Rousillac Hindu School pupils have been waiting the longest to get a new school but it seems they will be among the last to get it.

The children, who were displaced 16 years ago when a bush fire destroyed their school in 2003, have all grown up. 

On Thursday some of these former pupils joined with parents of the school to protest the government's delay in completing their school.

Construction of the 20 classroom building started in 2013 at a cost of $32 million.

It was supposed to be completed within eight months but there were challenges in getting requisite approvals. 

In a document leaked to Guardian Media, the contractor indicated that designs, recovery plans, revised schedules and extension of time applications were delayed and this hampered the project. There was also untimely payments to the contractor which resulted in a slow pace of works.

"The contractor claims the unresolved funding tied up in the additional floor claim, had affected his ability to complete the project because he was building a three storey facility at a price catered for a two storey facility," the document stated.

Up to September 2015, the building stood at 57 per cent completed and all works were suspended in October that same year.

In the meantime, the 210 pupils from the school are having classes in the Rouuillac Community Centre.

Grandparent Ramkissoon Gangabissoon said he was disappointed that the Ministry had failed to complete the school. He said following last week's protest, the Minister of Education Anthony Garcia indicated that no proper approvals were given for a third floor to be built at the school.

However, Gangabissoon produced a document dated November 2013 which showed approved plans for a ground floor, first and second floor as well as an elevation.

Acting Public Relations Officer  Oma Orie said it was unacceptable that 16 years after the fire, the children were still suffering.

"We have been moved from building to building. In 2014 after protests we were relocated to the community centre. We were promised that we will get a school but in 2016, the Minister said the third floor was not approved. We have papers to show this was not so," Orie said.

She said children were falling sick term after term.

"The Ministry says they have 27 schools on a list to be completed. Out of this 13 are primary schools yet we are not on that list. We need to be put back on the list," she said.

Orie added that the parents will be escalating their protests if they do not get a response from the Ministry.

During a press conference last week, Minister Gar­cia, Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Camille Robin­son-Reg­is and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert said Gov­ern­ment will be go­ing on the lo­cal mar­ket to raise $900 mil­lion to com­plete 27 schools.

Up­on the Gov­ern­ment as­sum­ing of­fice in 2015, Garcia said there were 118 in­com­plete schools, most of them in dis­ar­ray. He said it would cost $2.8 bil­lion to com­plete all those schools.

- by Radhica De Silva