Canteen allegedly built over ‘Dutch tomb' demolished
Kaieteur News
November 29, 2006

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Residents of Annandale gathered yesterday to witness the demolition of a newly-erected canteen which some are blaming for the mystery illness that struck students at the Annandale Secondary School .

The decision to demolish the structure came after a meeting yesterday between the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), the Regional Education Officer (REDO), and school board officials.

The mother of the student who is said to be affected the most by the ‘Dutch spirit' which supposedly caused the children to fall ill, was present as the canteen was being demolished.

She expressed relief that the structure is coming down.

The woman had with her a letter that was supposedly written by child under the influence of the ‘supernatural being'.

In the letter the ‘spirit' proclaims “If they don't remove every piece of block from that canteen lately built, the owner will suffer at my hands, plus half of the students will.”

Earlier in the day, three more students collapsed from the mystery illness that has been affecting the students since last Tuesday.

Tarmattie Singh, a student who was hospitalised last week, had a relapse yesterday while classes were in session.

This stirred up some panic, and the teachers took the decision to discontinue classes; two other students collapsed shortly after they left the school compound.

Many parents strongly believe that supernatural elements caused 19 students to fall ill last week.

Some believe that carpenters disturbed an ancient Dutch grave when they constructed the canteen.

However, it was also suggested that the entire school needed to be cleansed and fumigated.

An environmentalist said that the water that the students use is contaminated and that sewage would overflow when the rain falls and settle under the school.

This newspaper understands that the RDC said that the canteen is an illegal structure as no one authorised its construction.

According to a source at the school, classes are scheduled to resume tomorrow.

The source also said parents and members of the board are scheduled to meet today to discuss matters that are bothering the parents and preventing them from sending their children back to school.

Some parents, who had sent their children to school on Monday, subsequently turned up and collected them about mid-morning.

This led to some of the remaining students opting to leave also.

Teachers subsequently discontinued classes, and the remaining students were sent home.

The students were in the middle of the end-of-term exams.

Teachers are worried that this break could adversely affect the students who are scheduled to write exams next year.

A senior teacher of the school said that on Friday, former Education Minister Dale Bisnauth, teachers and a pandit held prayer sessions in the school.

Over the weekend, other prayer sessions were held, and the school building was fumigated to kill any airborne disease.