Lindeners begin reconstruction of burnt school
It was an atmosphere of cooperation and camaraderie at the old One Mile Primary School, which was recently gutted by fire, after arsonist set it alight during the protest action against electricity increases for the mining Town.
From the break of dawn, scores of residents from all across the town began converging at the site to clear the rubble and debris.
Trucks made several trips fetching sand to the site, in preparation for the rebuilding of the school.
A grader/loader from Bosai was also engaged in helping to clear the debris.
Men, women and children, students and even teachers, joined hands in the arduous tasks of removing some of the rubble with wheel barrows, while others milled around offering words of encouragement.
Two makeshift kitchens were set up where food and ‘swank’ were prepared for those working on the site.
When this newspaper arrived on the scene, the women in one of the camps were busy preparing to cook a pot of cook up rice.
One of the women said that they had already cooked about fifty packs of chowmein and about three gallons of rice for the day.
“These people are working hard and we have to ensure that they are fed,” another of the women noted.
There was also musical accompaniment as the people worked, lending a celebratory mood to the atmosphere.
Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon, who was on the ground with the people, said that what was being witnessed was the true strength of the people of Linden, adding that what the people were doing was rebuilding their future, “not building, but rebuilding our future, for what the children would have lost.”
Solomon noted that what was being demonstrated was also the resilience of the people, who despite having endured an entire month of struggle and hardship, were still prepared and committed to persevere.
Another Lindener, Aubrey Norton, called the activity a manifestation of the people’s commitment.
“I think they would have also pointed out that they know that they didn’t burn it down, but agents of the Government; and they are demonstrating by this activity that they care about the children’s education, and thus are prepared to return to self help to ensure that the school is rebuilt in the quickest possible time.”
Norton pointed out that he is committed to work with his fellow Lindeners to help establish the committee that will be tasked with the rebuilding of the school, and ensuring that in the quickest possible time “our children get not just a school, but a new modern school.”
The initiative was also applauded by Mr Christopher Ram and Gerhard Ramsaroop who were at the location offering moral support.
Ramsaroop noted that what he saw happening was very symbolic of the people’s struggle.
He added that he was quite moved to see even the children and women becoming involved in the clearing exercise.
Christopher Ram emphasised, “It’s unbelievable, it’s emotional, it’s amazing to see the kind of energy, the enthusiasm and the commitment of this community. It’s sad- the genesis of it, we never should have gotten to this point, but it shows you that out of anything bad comes something really good. And I think that Linden and the entire Region 10 could become a model for this entire country, and I would hope that the other Regions and communities will take an example from what Linden is doing. And I think what is really important is that the government should take note, of what the people are prepared to do in the interest of their own self development.”
Several persons and even organizations, both overseas and locally have committed both cash and materials to help in the rebuilding of the One Mile Primary School.
Among those contributing were Leader of the Opposition David Grainger, who donated thirty two sacks of cement, and Harry’s Lumber yard which donated $200,000.
The school has a population of 830 students. Come September the students are expected to be housed at alternative venues, until the new school is completed.
After the fire, two suspects were detained by Police but were subsequently released without charge.