(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) A single parent who had no choice but to stay at home with her child after the earthquake damaged Forest Reserve Anglican Primary School was closed has lost her job.
Yesterday, mother of four Joseann Huggins, 37, who was among the parents who staged a placard protest at Fyzabad Junction, pleaded with Education Minister Anthony Garcia to find alternative accommodations for the children.
Huggins said she was fired two weeks ago and now has to hustle night jobs and “small jobs” to make ends meet.
“I was employed before and I called my employer and told him the situation because I am a single parent and I have no one to watch my kids. The baby is presently in daycare, but to put the both of them in daycare with the salary I making it will come like I getting nothing,” Huggins said.
She said her boss sympathised with her, but she was taking too much time off and she was fired.
Her six-year-old daughter attends the Anglican School. Huggins also has an 18-months-old who is in daycare and two daughters ages 16 and 15, who attend secondary school.
Huggins said sometimes she would leave her smaller children with the older ones in order for her to work.
“This not affecting the children alone or the parents alone, it affecting the family because…without an income coming home, what is my outcome,” Huggins said.
The school’s Parent Teacher Association president Shernel Andrews said while Standard Five pupils have been relocated to the Siparia Old Road Presbyterian School the other students are home.
Aware of the the constraints of the economy, she said they had put forward four options to the ministry and the Anglican Board.
She said the options included demolishing the old building and putting up a pre-fabricated structure, relocate to the South Oropouche Community Centre, use the abandoned Hi Lo building or the unused Petrotrin bungalow.
Andrews said they were told that the school would have been relocated to the community centre by the end of this week, but no other information has been forthcoming.
“We are pleading,. We are asking for some answers to the situation,” said Andrews who said the school has a student population of 128 and 14 teaching staff members.
In response, an official from the Education Ministry said the South Oropouche Community Centre has been identified and the Education Facilities Company Limited has already done an assessment. The official said the ministry has since sent a letter to the Community Development Ministry seeking permission to use the centre and is awaiting a response.