Orealla-Siparuta residents call for secondary school, road to Corriverton

Residents of Orealla and its sister village – Siparuta – have called for a secondary school to be constructed in the community.

Residents at the meeting with Ministers Vikram Bharrat
and Zulfikar Mustapha

The Amerindian village of Orealla, situated 50 miles up the Corentyne River, is home to some 1500 persons and its sister village – Siparuta – which is six miles further, is home to some 500 persons.
Both Siparuta and Orealla have primary schools. However, the Orealla Primary is equipped with a “Primary Top”, meaning it caters for students from Grades Seven to 10.
During a recent visit to the community by Natural Resources Minister Vikram Bharrat and Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, residents asked them to make representation at the Government level for a secondary school to be established at Orealla.

Siparuta Primary School

One resident of Siparuta, Yonette Stass, told the Ministers that many children are denied the opportunity of a secondary education because their parents cannot afford to have them attend secondary schools on the Corentyne Coast.
This, she explained, is as a result of high maintenance/support cost.
“We need to have this school going in Orealla so that we can have our children who finish school get jobs and students here who learn better at home can benefit from that,” Stass said.
Meanwhile, Gladis Felix, a pineapple farmer, expressed disappointment at the way students who utilise the facilities at the Amerindian Hostel in Corriverton are being treated.
One of her main concerns is the quality of meals being offered to the children who reside there. The hostel is under the control of the Region Six administration.
“As parents, we communicate and hear each other’s stories. Some children say they get raw bakes to eat, no good food…If it is that they just put somebody there because they tried to put them into a job, but we need people who can treat these children well; especially with their meals,” Felix said.
Residents also complained that the children who stay at the dorm would sometimes pool their transportation allowance to purchase dinner.
“…the children say they are seeing stuff going there but they are not benefiting from it,” the parent complained.
Regional Executive Officer (REO) Navindra Persaud, who was also a part of the visiting team, has since been asked to address the issues at the hostel.
According to Minister Mustapha, the Government has been paying much emphasis on the dietary supplies for the hostel and called on the REO to launch an investigation.
Meanwhile, Toshao Carl Peneux, while addressing the two Government Ministers, said that a petition has been signed by residents of both communities for a secondary school at Orealla.
“Our students have been suffering tremendously because you do not have a secondary school and now with COVID-19, they cannot go out there. We only have a secondary department, so, our children are not receiving a secondary education. The few who are going to secondary schools and the Corentyne Coast are also suffering because their parents find it very hard to support them,” Toshao Peneux said.
He said they are also petitioning for the Government to give consideration for the road from Orealla to Moleson Creek.
“We are being intimidated on the river by the Surinamese military. This is the system that we have now, the Toshao, which is me, I have to make a request to the CDC [Civil Defence Commission] for any boat to travel. The CDC will send a request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they will send that request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Suriname who would eventually give the final answer to the request. This takes about three days. If we have an emergency here what happens? It is not easy for us to move,” he stated.
The Corentyne River is the only access for residents of both Siparuta and Orealla to get to Corriverton where they conduct their business. (G4)