Gail Alexander and Joel Julien
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Suruj: Give Penal/Debe its just due
Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan said it is time the region of Penal/Debe, often described as backwards, become a place of national pride in T&T.
He said Penal/Debe had often been looked upon in a negative light and its residents derided and overlooked and had never been given its place of prominence it deserved on the national stage.
He said the results of the 2012 Secondary Entrance Assessment examination (SEA), which showed the district produced one third of the top 100 students in the national exam, including the best performing student, Rebecca-Ann Jattan, as well as 57 of the 300 National Scholarship winners, including the President’s Medal winner, Marcus Isaac Belasco.
Addressing the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation (PDRC) civic award ceremony at the South National Academy for the Performing Arts on Saturday night, in which all of the top performing students were honoured, Rambachan said the perception of Penal/Debe had to change.
“Let us honour the children who brought us to the point where we can say that 30 per cent of the top performing students are from this region. Let us by our efforts ensure that this place Penal/Debe becomes a place of national pride in T&T,” he added.
Rambachan told the region’s chairman Premchand Sookoo and other guests that the 57 students who won scholarships may also be a record by the region. Not only in academics, the minister said, but in other spheres of extra curricular activities, the students were out performing their peers in other parts of T&T. He referred to the Shiva Boys College, which last year joined the ranks of the prestigious Intercol football title holders, along with their female counterparts at Debe High who have been dominating the Intercol tournament for the past five years.
For the first time last year, as well, Parvati Girls Hindu College also won the RBC Young Leaders title. Rambachan said the almost overnight success of the Penal/Debe schools, “suggest it has to do with strong values which are promoted in the region, as well as in the quality of parenting and the commitment to excellence by teachers.”
Teachers of the outstanding students were also honoured at the function. Rambachan said the opportunities for self-development in the region would be further advanced with the construction of the UWI Debe Campus, the specialist hospital, the judicial centre and regional sports complex.
He also used the opportunity to announce that a parcel of land at Katwaroo Trace, Penal, had been secured for the construction of a new administrative complex to house the PDRC. “Architects have been invited to put together their ideas, along with the chairman to see what the complex should look like,” Rambachan added. In addition to that, Rambachan said, is a clock, whose time would be regulated by satellite, was to be installed soon and by the end of February 65 roads in the region would be paved, in addition to the 35 now receiving similar attention.
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