Education Minister refuses to talk with Bajan Reporter: Ronald Jones can’t understand why youth of Barbados fail to use Conflict Resolution…
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” – George Orwell
I had no idea I was an acolyte of Orwell? So many press conferences I ask a Minister or an Opposition MP the question(s) they’d rather die than hear, when my colleagues from competing houses witness the exchange, they gather their invective and indignation… for me?
Correct, not the parliamentarian, instead they wonder; “Why you choose to upset (Fill Name In Here) and now s/he won’t speak with any reporter,” so I look at them and say why don’t we collectively ban all politicians?
Some are honest enough to tell me, “You can afford to do that Ian, but we work for another, we’re not our own boss…” But usually, I get a blank stare like a young bovine about to meet the business end of a sledge hammer, as in? They want to answer, maybe even know how they SHOULD answer, but rather be struck by Michael’s flaming sword rather than say the truth.
Luckily, I know such censorship is not everywhere, when I was in Guyana 2 years ago, my counterparts there took up my banner without even knowing who I was and they too had questions for Senator Maxine McClean per the decision of the CCJ for Shanique Myrie.
Yet right now in Barbados, the media versus MP situation again rises like a Hydra but I have no Iolaus nor any heated lantern to stop other heads from emerging… Except for where you are reading right now? I guess this very website is my metaphorical lantern/Iolaus…
Not so long ago, Ronald Jones was at the launch of a Mentorship programme, I wanted to do a separate interview on the progress of the UWI bursaries – he called it “Burst Arteries,” and refused to hold a sidebar.
The cabinet minister said he appears at a ceremony to give a speech and that’s it… Life’s much simpler, he remarked… Since my recorder was not running, I was reluctant to do a story on it; yet the circumstances are now different and I can keep quiet no longer!
As Minister of Education, he is in charge of Conflict Resolution and he urges pupils to stop being “fractious” using his vernacular when he was at the Hilton recently. While at Solidarity House, the same Jones wondered why there are so many angry Barbadians and if we have developed, then why is violence not one of the first things to disappear…
This is a man, who in the House Of Assembly no less, when confronted with the idea of an electorate which may – and indeed, should – think for itself, his remedy is to “CRACK HEADS AND SHOOT SOME PEOPLE” in a true Pre-Independence and 1937-esque concept of quelling any form of seeking self-redress. This response was never challenged by local media, and only attacked as a satirical music video on Social Media which we carried here as well, in case it was ordered off of Facebook.
This time when Jones was at the Hilton for the Teacher Effectiveness component of CDB’s ESEP II, I had left my recorder running in case he had a change of heart and maybe grant a quick chat, here is the encounter for all to hear (CLICK ON FOLLOWING ICON FOR FULL AUDIO; SMARTPHONE AND TABLET USERS PLEASE CLICK ON Ronald Jones‘ NAME FOR THE THE LINK)
The Opposition is equally culpable in not having developed an action plan to combat this dread lapse of leadership. In October, there were calls for Jones to step down, yet no mention of a solid plan to redress if ignored on such a plea by the Opposition’s shadow team for Education.
Let’s remember it all now? Jones failed to resolve the Alexandra impasse which resulted in Jeff Broomes heading for Parkinson Memorial with no solution for weeks, even prompting Senator Esther Byer to comment, eventually the Prime Minister intervened with the beginning of a so-called five-pronged solution which never got beyond the first prong?
The only unspoken response by Freundel Stuart was to never let Jones perform as Acting Prime Minister ever again, it was relegated to Richard Sealy from then on…
It seems the Media, Opposition and Government of Barbados all need a good flogging!