There is a concerning number of pupils, be they primary or secondary, who live in the reality of having to lug around a heavy book bag. In most cases, the cumulative weight of these items overburdens these children who are barely able to carry them around.

This reality poses severe health risks to pupils, as their bodies ­undergo rapid bone growth during the pubertal growth spurt period of their life cycle.

Factors such as the weight of school bags, the length of time spent lugging around overweight school bags and body posture can lead to the development of kyphosis and scoliosis in pupils (irregular bending of the spine).

Therefore, it is essential that this burden be lifted off the shoulders of the youth so as to allow for their uninhibited growth.

Concerns have also been raised over the safety of their belongings during the hours of school. To mitigate this, some pupils have turned to carrying around their bags during their breaks. This further adds to the above-stated health risks by adding further strain to the growing musculoskeletal systems of these children.

These risks can easily be averted through the utilisation and implementation of lockers within the school premises.

These lockers can house these heavy books the children are tasked with lugging back and forth between school and their houses.

Essential items the pupils require to be taken home with them would be the only items to be transported, concomitantly reducing the cumulative weight being carried and, also, reducing irreversible damage to their bodies.

Furthermore, these lockers play an essential role in ­guaranteeing privacy by creating a place in schools that can house their personal belongings, rather than having them out in the open. Pupils will have a sense of comfort, knowing their possessions are safe and secured throughout the day.

It is essential that we act now to preserve the health of our children!

Dr Rai Ragbir

Member of Parliament

for Cumuto/Manzanilla


For a country where one in every three women experience violence at the hands of their intimate partner, shelters and safe houses for battered women should be recognised as a critical element of any strategy to combat the problem.

Recently the newspapers reported the passing of a disability rights activist as a result of breast cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Trinidad and Tobago.

While there are treatment options including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, these approaches often have adverse side effects and high cost.

Every single year I have to watch the Caroni River cause heartache and despair to citizens who live within reach of its banks.

The Caroni River is on State lands so it really belongs to all citizens, whether you live within reach of the flood waters or not. So, how do I envisage fixing the problem?

Reading reports from the Emancipation celebrations gives us all a timely reminder of the outright horror involved in the 400-year history of the Atlantic Slave trade and the overall institution of slavery.

Rightly so, the reparations movement has begun their campaign of atonement with a strong push for the removal of all historical names associated with the worst atrocities of this barbarous system which existed for far too long.

The topic of my column is like a doubles vendor situation. The actual writing is best done in the early morning or at night. I have to mull and prepare the ingredients from before. There is a line of prepared impassioned topics that I intend to explore in upcoming weeks but every so often, a topic butts in and jumps the line and gets first priority since it is eating the doubles on site and not take away.

I dream a JEREEM of days today

When 1.4 million people were ecstatic

I dream a JEREEM of days today

When this small island shone and we must never forget it,

What a run ran by our hero and son JEREEM in the Commonwealth Games 200m,