– offended by Minister’s school arson statement
“We came here today because the Minister of Education, in the wake of the arson that was carried out on a school in Linden, promptly pointed fingers at the Linden protesters, when in fact the people of Linden were the ones who arrested the alleged arsonists and turned them over to the police,” said Working People’s Alliance (WPA) executive David Hinds yesterday while explaining the reason that demonstrators mounted a protest at the office of the Education Minister.
The Protest was supported by Red Thread, social activists and politicians.
Recently, Linden suffered the fiery destruction of one of its schools. On the day of the incident, Education Minister Priya Manickchand issued a statement denouncing the act and the demonstrators yesterday asserted that she essentially blamed it on the Linden protesters.
“A section of her statement read ‘no person in their right mind can argue that to burn bridges, block roads and burn a school constitute peaceful protest’. Is that not blaming the protesters?”
Social activist Frederick Kissoon said that the Minister of Education has “unapologetically and shamefully attributed the burning of the One Mile Primary school to the protesters”.
“We have rejected that, and we are asking for her to provide the evidence that the protesters have done that,” Kissoon stated emphatically.
He added: “We believe that Minister Manickchand has now taken the lead in the sordid defence of the government’s brutality and authoritarian handling of the Linden protest and we need to expose her.”
Kissoon also opined that Manickchand has taken on a “vulgar defence” of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee in parliament.
This is following the no confidence motion filed against the Minister by the joint opposition following the fatal shooting of three protesters in Linden.
David Hinds said that “Minister Manickchand has to realize that as Education Minister, she is custodian of one of the most important sectors in any society and we feel that she should not get herself embroiled in this kind of political controversy”.
“She needs to decide if she wants to play dirty politics or if she wants to pay attention to the Education sector in this country which she herself said needs badly repairing. We want to warn her that if she continues down the road she is going, she is going to suffer the same fate (no confidence motion) as Mr. Rohee. We are going to lobby our parliamentarians. To go about the place accusing those people of arson is really a slap in the face for Linden,” Hinds stated firmly.
“Minister Manickchand should be visiting Linden to make sure that those who will be turning out to school in a couple of weeks are prepared to do that.”
Asked whether he sees it possible for schools to reopen in the community come September, Hinds said “we are pushing for that, education is an absolute necessity.”
Michael Carrington expressed concern that “so many Lindeners were arrested following various acts while no-one up to today has been arrested for the murder of those three men”.
“Someone took the lives of those children’s father and today he walks free while people were arrested for arson and protesting.”
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