The Education Ministry must immediately launch an investigation into allegations of racism at the Tunapuna Hindu School, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday. "Should those allegation be true that is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Persad-Bissessar added. She commented briefly on the issue to the media following yesterday's launch of the "Colour Me Orange" project at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann's. The Opposition PNM has called for investigation of the issue - and Transport Minister Devant Maharaj's part in the situation - following claims the principal of the school, Sita Gajadharsingh Nanga, was barred from the school recently.
In Parliament last week, the PNM produced a letter to the Teaching Service Commission from Nanga, listing her reasons for a request for transfer and alleging that SDMS head, Sat Maharaj, instructed her to bar black children from the school. Maharaj, secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, which runs the school, subsequently denied the accusations levelled by Nanga. Yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said the Education Ministry should to do an investigation into the matter. She added: "We'll see what they (ministry) have to say but should those allegations be true, it is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. There should be no discrimination anywhere in this country."
On other aspects concerning Maharaj and issues at the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT), Persad-Bissessar said, she had not spoken to Maharaj (Devant), but she would "try to find out what's happening there." Asked how she felt about the various issues arising, Persad-Bissessar said: "That's life..." She also reiterated comments regarding detractors of Government's $300 million programme for 20,000 jobs. PNM MPs had said the initiative was insulting and tantamout to a handout.