YaYa Marin Coleman raised concerns about St. Martin Primary 2

Originally Posted By Rifqa on Jun 20, 2013 in Belize Unboxed

From: YaYa Marin Coleman     Wed, Sep 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM
To: Office of the Ombudsman, Belize
The Letter from the Ombudsman


On August 15, 2012 I received a letter from the Office of the Ombudsman regarding a complaint that I lodged about the Education Board’s failure to act. Enclosed in the envelope was a letter from Sister Barbara Flores, General Manager of Catholic Public Schools, in which she responded to a meeting that the President of St Martins De Porres PTA, Andrea O’Connor and I had with her in February, 2012.

It took me the stretch of appealing to the Office of the Ombudsman office seeking assistance to direct Sr. Barbara Flores to respond. She responded almost 6 months after the initial meeting!

As I read the letter, I thought it was sent because a response was required, not because any meaningful investigation was conducted. Words cannot express my disappointment born out of the fact that the letter is/ was vague! The letter did not address the concerns we shared. Once again,  I am seeking your assistance to request definitive answers for each of the concerns we listed.

A new academic year started this past Monday, September 3, 2012. Hopefully the relationship between the administration and faculty of St. Martins De Porres school, parents, guardians, students and community members would develop into a more healthy and meaningful one.


“To speak it is to enter into an alliance with the vibrations of the universe” David Peat

From: YaYa Marin Coleman      Tue, Jun 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM
To: Jahmor Lopez, Belize District Education Council Manager
‘St Martins Deporres Primary School Concerns’


The Parent Teachers Association President Andrea Oconner delivered a hard copy of the concerns that members of the PTA had at St. Martins DePorres Primary School, in Belize City to the District Education Center. I spoke with you and you confirmed receipt of the copy. You suggested that I speak with the Management of Catholic Schools and if we were not satisfied with the response, to contact you.

On Tuesday February 7, 2012 Andrea and I met with Sista Barbara Flores, the General Manager of Catholic Schools. She listened to us, after which we gave her a hard copy of the concerns and she said she would follow up with us. On Tuesday Feb. 14th, a concerned parent called the W.U.B. Morning Vibez talk show on Krem TV and Krem Radio, expressing her concerns at St. Martins DePoress Primary School. I called you and Sista Flores to share that information with the both of you.

On February 16th I visited the principal of St. Martins DePorres Primary School, Ms. Roselda Sinclaire to follow up with her about the educator Diane Smith not being in her Infant 1 classroom on a regular basis. My niece Destiny Marin is a student in that class. Ms. Sinclaire accused me of harassing her! I was very concerned with her comment/ accusation and choose not to have any further conversation with her to date. I called Sister Flores immediately and shared my concern. To this, Sister Flores said that Ms Sinclaire is under a lot of pressure, that the documentation forwarded to her- Ms Sinclaire- does not show that Ms. Smith has been absent as often as we are complaining she has been. Sister Flores then gave the assurance that she would follow up with me. I rescheduled another meeting with her on Wed. April 17, 2012. I had to cancel because of a scheduled patrol of the Columbia Forest Reserve with the Belize Territorial Patrol., of which I am a member. I stopped by her office later on in the month and left a message for her that I would follow up with the Ministry of Education since she had not followed up with me.

Andrea Oconner visits St. Martins DePoress Primary School most days as an active parent in her daughters life. She has consistently shared with me that educators are perpetually late to their classes.  Educators are late to their classrooms by nearly 60 mins. Ms Oconner as well, revealed that educators are absent on a weekly basis. Consequently, students are crammed into classrooms with other students whose educators are present.

Ms. Oconner also shared that in the last PTA meeting, Priest Matthew Ruhl said that he would see what could be done to reopen the  main gate to the school.  To date there has been no follow up.

At the recent field day, I believe on May 18th, 2012, there was a stabbing incident, which prompted an abrupt end of the field day.

Many parents are no longer supporting the school financially, they are only paying school feels because they feel that their voices and concerns are not being heard or validated.

Also, some school wardens have valid concerns about they way they are treated. Since they need their jobs they are afraid to identify themselves.

On Monday, May 14, the Ministry of Education launched the National Quality Child-Friendly Schools Program at the House of Culture in Belize City. St. Martins DePoress Primary School was a sample school for this pilot program. One of the key factors in a Quality Child-Friendly School is active participation of parents and families.  In addition Belize is a signatory to the Conventions of the Rights of Child.

Thurs., June 14, 2012  at 5:00 p.m.there will be a PTA meeting at the St. Martins De Poress Church. I am kindly asking for a representative from the ministry to attend this meeting. The presence of a representative is critical and urgent. Krem Radio Community Reporter will also be present at that PTA meeting.

A copy of this email is also being sent to Ian Gray at the Ombudsman office.

I have been very patient in not taking these concerns to the media in order to avoid negative publicity. However I feel that my back is against the wall with the school year ending this month, yet we have not resolved these concerns.

We are appealing for these concerns to be addressed and resolved before the academic school year ends for 2011 – 2012

Please respond to this email in writing.  Looking forward to a speedy and effective resolution.

YaYa Marin Coleman
“To speak it is to enter into an alliance with the vibrations of the universe” David Peat

From: Jahmor Lopez, Belize District Education Council Manager     Tue, Jun 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM
To: YaYa Marin Coleman

Duly noted, Sistren.  Someone from my office will be at the meeting.

[Quoted text hidden]

E. Jahmor Lopez
Education Centre Manager
Belize District
Phone: 203-5862 / 636-4039
Fax:   223-5849

From: YaYa Marin Coleman Andrewin     Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM
To: St. Martin DePorres Primary School Unofficial Executive PTA


As we agreed upon yesterday at our unofficial Executive PTA meeting of the St. Martins DePorres Primary School, the following are the concerns we shared.

  1. The Principal Ms. St Claire had agreed to meet with the members of the executive of the PTA on Mon. Jan. 23, 2012. When the members arrived Ms. St. Claire stated that the meeting would have to be rescheduled.
  2. The members of the executive independently, and collectively decided to resign from their posts. The consistent lack of respect shown to the members of the executive and the frustration they have experienced with the process of being an effective body are the primary reasons for their resignation.
  3. The lock down of the school compound on Mon. Jan., 16, 2012, without any consultation or input from the PTA was not an act of partnership. Parents, guardians, and family members of students of St. Martins DePorres Primary School are active stakeholders in the holistic development of our Belizean children.
  4. The unprofessional and disrespectful manner that the Local Manager Matthew Ruhl, the Asst. Manager, Margaret Williams, Infant 1 educator Diane Smith has communicated with YaYa Marin Coleman was unacceptable.
  5. The manner in which some educators communicate and treat some of the children is verbally and physically abusive.
  6. Classrooms consistently not being opened and educators consistently not being on the compound when the bell rings at 8:30 is also unacceptable.
  7. The decision to relocate our children to play in the back of the school yard as oppose to in the front where landscaping was improved without parents consultation was another act of not respecting the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the PTA.
  8. Policy and procedures documentation was never given to the executive of the PTA for accountability and transparency purposes.
  9. Since the new local manager became of the St. Martin’s DePorres team he has not been officially introduced to the PTA.
  10. How many school wardens, and maintenance employees are needed for a school with the student population of St. Martins?
  11. What is the responsibility of the administrators to ensure that trained substitute educators are consistently in the classrooms when an educator is absent?
  12. Why is it that when there are PTA meetings that many parents do not feel that their thoughts, feelings, and opinions are heard? The perception is that the Asst. Local Manager speaks in a disrespectfully to the parents, and the PTA meetings are generally to beg for money.
  13. The PTA feels strongly that they should have a financial account at a commercial banking institution for accountability of the monies they raise.
  14. Information is needed concerning the School Committee, so that the PTA may have representation on that committee.
  15. Out of frustration some parents are considering transferring their students.
  16. There are concerns about the strength of the educators at the infant division.
  17. Educators have been in discussion about parents, students, and students grades within the listening ears of their impressionable students.
  18. With the gates being padlocked, there are fire safety concerns. Why are so many of the gates locked? Last Wed. Jan. 18, 2012 there was a commotion for children to pass through the main gate when classes were held for half day.Policy and procedures of how PTA meetings should be conducted are needed to assist in informing and encouraging parental participation at PTA meetings.

The PTA is proposing that parents, guardians, and family members of our children be allowed to enter the school compound prior to the bell ringing. Some parents stay and supervise their children until the bell rings for the safety of their children. After the bell rings then those who wish to enter the compound must sign in and be escorted to their destination.

As primary caretakers of our children we accept that the school is creating a safe environment of our children. The expectation is that the voices of parents, guardians, and family members of our children be heard and respected. We are stakeholders in our education system.

Well sistas I am awaiting your responses 😉 Feel free to make corrections and suggestions 😉

Nuff Respect
“To speak it is to enter into an alliance with the vibrations of the universe” David Peat

YaYa Marin Coleman explains all the options she exhausted before staging her protest in front of St. Martin De Porres Primary School compound, in Belize City, this week in June, 2013 in an effort to open the lines of communication to allow stakeholders to collaborate to address serious & festering concerns at the school.

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2 thoughts on “YaYa Marin Coleman raised concerns about St. Martin Primary

  • The truth

    yaya you is a stupid girl. Grow up don`t be dumb, because if the ministry don`t care much about education where does that leave you. you ex-convict.

    • FiWeBelize

      Come on mien. Let’s not attack people now. That’s not how we progress. First of all, everyone has a voice and should speak especially when it come to raising awareness on issues affecting our fellow Belizeans. Second, whatever a person did in the past should NOT affect who they are today and what they do as long as it is not criminal in nature.

      YaYa is doing a great good for our children by raising these issues to the attention of the nation and we applaud her for it. Because the Government is inept at dealing with them or refuses to do anything about it has nothing to do with what we are trying to do by bringing these issues to light and fighting to get them fixed.

      If you have suggestions on how to deal with the issues then please voice them so we can discuss them and please refrain from attacking people personally.