A qualified apology by Minister of State in the Ministry of the People, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, over comments she made about People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley has failed to q
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Bullied student seeks justice
A 14-year-old student of a government school in Arouca, a victim of bullying, appeared on CrimeWatch this week pleading with host Ian Alleyne to assist him in getting justice. Ronaldo Baldwin, a form one student, told Alleyne that he and a friend were just leaving the school compound on Monday evening when he was attacked by a form four student. Baldwin was slashed across the neck.
His father, Stanley, told Alleyne that his son received five stitches as a result of the incident. He said when he took his child to the Arima Health Facility the doctors told him that the attack could have been fatal (The father walked with photos which showed the gaping, bleeding wound and photos which were taken after his son got the stitches).
Ronaldo’s neck was covered with a plaster when he appeared on the show and he was having difficulty talking because of the injury. He told Alleyne he has been unable to attend school since the incident.
His father told Alleyne that he went to the school in question and requested a meeting with the principal, but was told he had to meet with the dean. He said the Dean never asked his son to identify his attacker. Instead, he said he was told by the dean to write a report, bring it back to the school and he would try to get the attacker suspended.
Ronaldo told Alleyne he was not aware whether his attacker had previous problems or had been involved in fights at the school. He admitted that he had seen his attacker on the school compound but said they had never spoken. He admitted to being confused over why he was attacked. His father, Stanley, said apart from his disappointment with the school officials, the police response was poor, since he said he made a report to the Arouca Police station but they are yet to investigate the matter.
Callers to the programme deemed the situation “ridiculous” and joined Alleyne’s call for Education Minister Dr. Tim Gopeesingh to do something about the problem of bullying in schools. Alleyne said this situation requires urgent attention since it is clear that children are now taking weapons to schools and something must be done about the situation.
Ronaldo’s father said he would be seeking a transfer for his son given the attack, since his son’s attacker remains in the school while school officials seem to be uninterested in doing anything. Hazel Ann Henry also sought Alleyne’s help this week to get compensation from her former employer for an injury she sustained in September, 2009.
The woman, who was employed at a Port-of-Spain bakery, told Alleyne her fingers were crushed by a mill on the job and the owner at the time promised her compensation to the tune of $30,000. However, she claimed she has been getting a constant run around and on her last visit to the bakery she was told the owner had died and no one there could now assist her.
But the woman claimed she has since seen the owner and knows he is not dead. She said since the incident five years ago she has been unable to work and needs some help. Alleyne called on both the Ministries of Legal Affairs and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to get involved.
Alleyne got a Sangre Grande man to agree to pay for repairs the car he hit in January this year. The man had been giving Armanath Ramsumair a runaround after the accident on January 12. But after Ramsumair appeared on CrimeWatch Alleyne visited the home of Ronald Sookraj and worked out an arrangement for Sookraj to pay a straightener and painter for repairs to the AE101 Corolla, which was hit in Montrose, Chaguanas, and which Ramsumair has been unable to use since the incident.
In another matter, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, National Security Minister Gary Griffith and Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj all contacted Alleyne and promise to assist Vishnu Ramlochan. The man claims the T&T Defence Force owes him $5 million for food which he supplied between 2006 and 2007. Ramlochan said he is on the verge of losing his home. The National Security Minister asked him to provide the necessary documents and once the claim is legitimate assured it would be paid.
Alleyne told the Government he would follow the matter closely and intends to continue putting it in the public domain until the money is paid.