Vendors at Annandale Secondary still selling in unsanitary conditions
Stabroek News
January 11, 2007

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Almost two months after students at the Annandale Secondary School were rushed to the Georgetown hospital after consuming items purchased at the school's canteen the school's vendors continue to ply their trade in unsanitary conditions.

Life for students at the Annandale Secondary School has returned to normal and when Stabroek News visited the school on Tuesday classes were in session.

Last year, the East Coast Demerara community was plunged into disquiet when 24 students fell sick. Several of the students were on November 22 taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital after they vomited and complained of dizziness and other symptoms. Eight were eventually admitted that night. The students had told relatives that that they had consumed sodas and other items bought from the recently opened canteen. Eleven more were rushed to the hospital one and a half hours after school started the next day after they too complained of feeling unwell.

When the first batch arrived at the hospital the doctors had treated them as food poisoning cases as all of the students had reportedly consumed items purchased from the school's vendors. Samples of blood were taken for testing. However, when the second set of students arrived at the hospital, and blood samples taken did not indicate any illness the doctors were baffled.

Things took a turn for the worse the next day when several students began exhibiting strange behaviours. Parents blamed the mysterious illness on a recently built canteen that supplies the school. They also said that the vendors operate in unsanitary conditions. One parent had told Stabroek News that the area where the vendors operate presents a health hazard. He said if the canteen, which is a decent building, was to be demolished then so should the shed. On Tuesday this newspaper observed brush and tree branches rotting on the roof of the shed, which was covered with rotten zinc sheets, under which several vendors plied their trade. Efforts to get a comment from Regional Education Officer Doodmattie Singh about the shed were unsuccessful. The canteen was dismantled following protest action by some parents.