Last update: 11-Dec-2013 8:26 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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No site for Maracas ECCE, says ministry
The Education Ministry is still looking for a suitable location for the Maracas Bay Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Centre, Yolanda Morales-Carvalho, the media relations co-ordinator for the Ministry of Education, said yesterday. She made the comment as she claimed reports that the facility would have been constructed by the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) in time for the school year, or was postponed, were inaccurate. “If you check the Internet it has been said many times over,” Morales-Carvalho said in a telephone interview.
She added: “The Ministry of Education is standing by the agreement to build the school. However, it was previously agreed that a location was needed to be identified for the construction of the centre by a committee of members from the community. “The land that was initially identified was not suitable and we are still looking for a suitable location. “If you realise, in the case of the new ECCEs, they must all have the same standard dimensions, layout and features to be approved.” Activist and member of the Congress of the People (COP), Brian Garner, said the sod had not been turned on the proposed site, although the school had been earmarked for construction and should have been built two years ago.
He said the problem the residents encountered was that most of the land at Maracas Bay was state land and the bureaucracy involved in getting the designated land from the Commissioner of State Lands signed over to the Education Ministry. Garner said once that was done the school could be built as everything else had been done, including surveying, Town and Country Planning approval, water and sewerage. He said: “We’re just waiting to get that piece of paper from the Commissioner of State Lands to go to the Ministry of Education, then to the EFCL who supposedly has a contractor ready to start building.
Garner said a lease was signed with the Ministry of Community Development to temporarily house the 30-40 children at the Maracas Bay Community Centre. He said, however, that the centre was so far off the beaten track that he feared they may lose some children’s attendance. Garner said there was already a problem with children not going to school and it was imperative the community got the document from the Commissioner of State Lands to go ahead with the new facility. He said a piece of land off Bay Road was ideal as it was near the main road and parents could pick up and drop their children easily. Garner said not even a prefabricated structure could be built in time to accommodate the children before the new term but he was hoping a permanent building for the school would be ready by the next school year.
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