In wake of principal's suicide
Private school students in NA locked out by landlord
By Daniel Da Costa
April 2, 2004
As if the shocking death of their principal earlier this week and his alleged misappropriation of their examination fees were not enough agony for students attending the RVC Private Secondary School in New Amsterdam, the landlord yesterday closed the doors to the building on LFS Burnham Street (formerly Coburg Street).
Balram Shadrial, owner of the two-flat building, a stone's throw from the Central Police Station, told Stabroek News yesterday that he had decided to barricade the building because some students had damaged sections of the interior on Monday. The damage he said was done shortly after news broke on Monday afternoon that their principal, Rohan Chandisingh had ingested a poisonous substance and had been hospitalised.
Chandisingh, a well-known and respected educator, died at the New Amsterdam Hospital late on Monday afternoon hours after he had ingested a herbicide at a Municipal dump site at Esplanade on the northern edge of the town. He had left the school minutes before the commencement of a planned meeting with parents to discuss his failure to transmit more than $2 million in CXC fees paid to him by 142 students to the Examinations Division.
However, by Wednesday most of the 142 students had paid their fees for a second time. On this occasion they were assured that the money would reach the Division through a special management committee comprised of parents which was established shortly after news broke of the alleged misappropriation last Monday.
According to the six-member teaching staff, they have not been paid since January. However, those preparing students for this year's CXC examinations have promised to continue working despite the non-payment of their salaries. Yesterday teachers and students were met with closed doors on turning up at the building.
The RVC School
The teachers said they learnt yesterday that Chandisingh's relative had instructed a neighbour to secure the furniture in the building. "At the moment we have no access to the building or the furniture and therefore cannot conduct any classes. This will obviously affect students preparing for upcoming CXC examinations," said one teacher.
This newspaper understands that the Rose Hall Town landlord is owed rental for several months. The building was reportedly being rented at $120,000 per month. Teachers would like the landlord to show some compassion for the CXC students and allow them use of the building until at least mid-June.
"We are not in a position to pay $120,000 per month but we are pleading with the owner to grant us this favour in the interest of the students who have already suffered tremendously over the past few weeks," another teacher said.
Students are also pleading with the landlord, and one of them urged: "Give us a chance. We have suffered a great deal over the past few weeks and months and have made a lot of sacrifices to reach this far. Our parents have also sacrificed their energies, time and money to give us this opportunity. We are therefore begging the landlord to allow us to use the building until we finish writing our exams."
Most of the students who have entered to write the examinations are repeaters who previously attended state-run secondary schools in Regions Five and Six. Shadrial has however suggested that the management committee could meet with his power of attorney to explore possibilities related to use of the building.
The committee has planned a meeting for Monday next to discuss this recent development and the future of the school.
Stabroek News understands that Chandisingh had received several threats from creditors, the most recent being on Monday morning when a man from whom he had borrowed some $600,000 visited the school. It was shortly after this visit that the educator ingested the poison.
The J.C. Chandisingh Secondary School at Port Mourant was named after his father who was also an educator.
The RVC Private School was initially housed in a building at Rose Hall town several years ago when it was established before being relocated in New Amsterdam.