Wayne Willock – Time to Speak Out

Ronald Jones, Minister of Education

Ronald Jones, Minister of Education

I believe that it is time to speak out on certain matters. It may take me more than one column to say these things but I am not committing to having a page or a slot. Just for background information for those who may not know, I recently retired from the teaching service at the level of Deputy Principal, after serving as Acting Principal for 18 months, a post which I really could never achieve, being labelled a ‘troublemaker” and more recently a “devil” by the powers that be. Why? The status quo, as corrupt as it may be, must be maintained! But more on that later.

Years ago when I was P.R.O. and then President of the B.S.T.U. this issue of violence against teachers raised its head and from then till now, some 18 years later. Successive Ministries of Education under various Ministers, the worst being the present, have failed to grapple with the issue, and like most other things in this country, it has remained under the carpet. This is a country where if you don’t toe the line you are out in the cold. Are we going to wait until a teacher is killed to deal with it? I accept that due process and investigation must take place, however, that having been done the next steps need to be taken:

  • The Board of Management needs to decide if the child is to be further suspended, expelled or sent back to school.
  • The Ministry then takes the Board’s recommendation and either accepts or rejects it and rightly so, then make their own determination.
  • The child has to be expelled from that school and not from the educational system as some people would want to determine. This is because the teacher involved and the student cannot exist in the same environment simultaneously. It would leave the student as a hero, something which I have seen done on several occasions.
  • The Ministry needs to seriously put in place that special institution which has been spoken about for many years. It should be run by the Defence Force personnel and have strict guidelines in relation to an alternative syllabus for such students who offer this category of violence to a teacher or even their parents.

Let it be clear that I am not suggesting that teachers are always right and children always wrong because that would be far from the truth. There have been instances where teachers have caused things upon themselves due to the inability to cope with certain personalities in the classroom. Some teachers were not born to be teachers but end up doing it out of necessity. On the other hand, when we analyse why certain children display very unsociable behaviours, as is being suggested as a remedy, what happens afterwards? One guidance counsellor per secondary school of 1000 children is adequate? One psychologist at the Ministry is enough? Abolishing corporal punishment is the answer? The countries which have taken that approach are in more trouble than we are now, and may be looking to reinstate it. But look! There is a teacher who flogged children illegally for years, was warned on several occasions, but was just given a Deputy post at a hot school. Wow!

What about the new rantings and ravings of the Minister? Can you imagine a Minister taking up a portfolio which contains important mandates as written in the Education Act and only after 8 years, comes out to say that he never liked Corporal Punishment. What is even worse is that he has insulted all Principals, Deputies and Senior Teachers by implying that they should all be locked up for assault. I wonder what BAPPSS’s response will be, being the soft organisation that it is, one which, in keeping with the requirements of being attached to any government agency, must “toe the line” and play down many of the issues which plague our system. Things that happen at the so-called low schools happen at the high schools too but “no press allowed”. Maybe one should wonder why the rules which govern secondary schools are not standardized, (I don’t mean on paper.) Each school almost does as it likes. What do I mean? In some schools, teachers must write a letter whenever absent, others not. In some schools Principals are not even informed about decisions made by the Board, even though he is supposed to be the CEO on the compound. They don’t even get to browse the Smart Stream system to know how much money was allocated, where and how it is being spent. In others, that is the norm. Talking about Boards, would you believe that at a school, corporate governance has allowed a Deputy Chairman of the Board to be on that same entity along with his wife who is the Secretary Treasurer? Of course one is not to even ask about things like those and that is why both the writer and the current Principal were recently labelled ‘Devils” for asking about it. Not only that! The previous principal, (notice the small letter) complained to the Ministry for me because I asked too many questions about the Status Quo like: Why are teachers from this parish getting to school late so often? Do you send monthly reports to the Ministry? Why do certain teachers have 18 & 19 non-teaching lessons? How is it that certain people come and go on the compound with much frequency but with your permission? Why are certain teachers in your office for long periods during the day and you are never available for matters on the compound which the Deputy must make decisions on? I would never forget the day there was a fire above the school and children were having asthmatic attacks and the writer was chastised for being asked by teachers what to do. He didn’t even have a clue what was going on. He asked if the teachers think I am “our saviour” because lives had to be saved without his initiative.

Anyhow, more to be said! You see this country, it is a mess and getting worse daily. I could write a book highlighting the 23 interviews I had before fluking a Deputy Post; Or the three panels that were changed just to ensure that a troublemaker like me does not get an administrative position. Yes! Remember it was first the Governing Bodies that did the interviews. Then when Parkinson was up for grabs, between the first and second interviews it changed to a Special Panel made up of big boys from Ministry, Erdiston, UWI, two Board members and such. Then when Princess Margaret was up, again between the first and second interviews the panel then changed to the Commissioners without a single Board member being even informed. (Not that that made any difference to the song and dance that went on when I retired). Foundation, Ellerslie twice, St. George, Combermere and the list goes on.

Unfortunately, I was never a yes man, something which is required in many situations. I find it impossible to be present in the midst of nonsense going on called a “Status Quo” and the amount of people who don’t have the guts to come out and say anything. Well I always had guts. It’s going down now since I lost some weight. By the way, this is not political either since as you would have noticed, my demise was shared between both parties. So it would have to be me! I remember when a Deputy Chief education Officer called me in to her office to tell me that while I am tutoring at Erdiston College in Strategic Planning to Principals by the way, I must not say anything against the Ministry even if it is true. And you believe they have that in the Public Service Act too?

I have a lot more to say but I will pause and come again. I will not close however without challenging any member who sat on a panel to interview me over the last 10 years to really come out and expose the foolishness that goes on in this country, damaging and destroying the lives and psyches of many seriously-minded and hard-working individuals in this country. Using the word “Recommendation” to imply that it can be accepted or refused. All set up for ulterior motives to satisfy friends and cohorts like those now at the Ministry, names best left unsaid. I can’t forget the campaign manager of a minister that got a school one week before elections were called. Yeah. That was one that lick me up too!

My friend Mrs. Thompson, may she rest in peace, former Chairman of a Governing Body, was able to tell me something before her passing. Who else has the guts, the fortitude or the resolve? The seven years of secrecy have passed. Or do we remain a country of carpets and brooms, sweeping away the truths. By the way, more on the Minister to come! Yes sir, I am Mr. Ting as said to me at several meetings. This “devil” says: Please learn to pronounce your “th” as though it were not a “d”. Stop making up words on the people’s T.V. Were you a teacher or not? Which subject, I cannot imagine. A Union leader? Really!

Gone, but not for long!

Ministry of Education Moves to Deal with Bullying (NOT)

Submitted by Bush Tea
"...latest fad that has been pissing the bushman off is the lotta talk about bullying in schools..."

“…latest fad that has been pissing the bushman off is the lotta talk about bullying in schools…”

One thing about our approach to our various challenges is our consistency. Teenage sex has been an open secret in ALL our schools now for years, but a newspaper decides to publish living proof and all hell breaks out..resulting in big shots at the newspaper being charged for speaking and publishing the ACTUAL TRUTH.

Drivers have been openly driving through red light, speeding, parking ‘where-ever’ and when ever they please ….all with gay abandon….and completely ignored by the police (Ok if Bushie was a policeman and had the experience of seeing how our shiite courts handle these matters, Bushie would ignore them too….but that is another matter). The inevitable happens, a number of serious accidents, and suddenly big shots are running around talking about what they are planning to do….

It must be some shiite in our food or water…

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Barbados Community College Principal Divides to Conquer

Submitted by Neil Watchman
Minister of Education Ronald Jones (l) Dr. Gladstone Best, Principal of the BCC

Minister of Education Ronald Jones (l) Dr. Gladstone Best, Principal of the BCC

In December last year, it was rumoured that the Principal of the BCC, Dr. Gladstone (Gallstone) Best had decided to abolish the general staff meeting held on the first day of semester and instead, hold individual meetings with the various Divisions.  That was no rumour; to date the  Principal has held surreptitious meetings with two such Divisions: the Division of Commerce and the Division of General Education.  On both occasions outspoken tutors in either Division grilled him on this move and other matters. The lame duck CPAC (so-called College Planning and Advisory Committee) has requested (N.B. not “demanded”) that the meetings be restored.

By this act of ‘division’ the principal has effectively fractured an institution already alienated both in nomenclature and in spirit in order to maintain his tenuous position.  It is now recognized that his action was taken to preempt a planned motion of no confidence against him, a move advocated by some of the more militant members of staff.

The once-a-semester meeting allowed current members to meet new staff, hear about retirements, academic achievements etc. explanations for any contentious issues and keep staff up to date on pending actions.  Of course, staff members have used this occasion to vent their frustration with the administration (aka the Principal) which has come under increasing fire for a string of malfeasances ranging from late payments to staff (the Principal is chief Finance Officer according to the BCC Act)  to the dire state of the physical plant to deteriorating security.

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Destabilization of the Barbados Community College (BCC)

Submitted Neil Watchman
Stephen Broome, Chairman of BCC

Stephen Broome, Chairman of BCC

There is growing concern among staff at the Barbados Community College where the Board or more accurately, the Chairman, seems to have developed a tight stranglehold on the institution. Staff cannot recall there ever being such a high level of politicization at the institution until the advent of Mr. Stephen Broome who served first as Deputy Chairman and is now in his second term as Chairman.

Some, perhaps out of fear, believe that the Chairman’s mission is to destabilize the institution as a precursor to the Government’s phasing it out. They point to the recent spate of sixth forms set up by the MOE headed by Ronald Jones in support of this supposition. This, coupled with the imposition of higher fees on UWI students from 2014 makes for a very confusing educational policy. One could be excused for thinking that the Government would have put more resources into the BCC but then again, if it didn’t do that when things were well, one cannot expect them to do it in these dire times. So what? Such confusion and contradictions seem symptomatic of the Freundel Stuart administration, anyhow.

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Ministry of Education Must be Professional Executing Role as Final Arbiter

Submitted by The Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Laurie King, Chief Education Officer

Laurie King, Chief Education Officer

The Mahogany Coconut Group (MCG) is concerned that Barbadian school children, can go to the Ministry of Education and have a legitimate punishment enforced by their school’s principal, overturned by a civil servant! Such a travesty occurred recently, when a group of school children turned up at the Ministry of Education, and succeeded in getting a senior ministry official, to overrule the punishment imposed on them, by their principal, for frequently being late in arriving at school.

What transpired sets a very ugly and dangerous precedent that will most certainly, result in far reaching negative effects on the dispensation, of discipline in our schools. The unbelievable actions of the civil servant, dealt a very low blow, to the principal. We know for a fact that many principals are now contemplating if it is worth their while to discipline students.

This brazen assault on our educators is a trademark of both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party. It is now very clear to all concerned that when party supporters from either side are placed in powerful positions, their inability to understand their job description becomes a major problem.

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Donville Inniss Says UWI Tuition Fees Must Stay

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Donville Inniss - Minister of Commerce, and International Business

Donville Inniss – Minister of Commerce, and International Business

“The Freundel Stuart administration says it is sticking to its guns to make Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies start pulling their pockets for tuition fees from next year even though welcoming a new private sector fund to bail out those who cannot afford to pay…The firm position was taken today by Minister of Commerce, and International Business, Donville Inniss, while launching a new charity known as Global Education Scholastic Trust…Inniss said the Government had done the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate, and would carry through with it…It is not easy for me as a politician that would have taken in recent debates to reduce fees at UWI with effect from 2014, but it is one of those things we felt we had to do, and we stand by that decision.”

What else can one expect from an uncaring Government, whose scions – and probably their scions’ scions – have had a free education at the UWI Cave Hill Campus? The motto of this Government is now “after me the deluge”! Is this the same Government that Minister Blackett called people-centred? I guess he means centred around the 16 DLP Government MPs, but night runs till day catches it!

Minister Inniss can spare us his crocodile tears!

You do not have money for our students at UWI Cave Hill, nor for the QEH, but you have millions of dollars in waivers – including one for food and beverage which no hotel has had before – to throw at a multi-millionaire named “Butch” Stewart, although he took over a hotel here and promised to develop and refurbish it so that Barbadians could get work, but absconded leaving it to moulder and the iron in it to rust! This left those who had hopes of getting a job there up the creek without a paddle! “Is that “the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate”, Minister Inniss?

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Barbados is Not an Independent Country

Submitted by Pachamama
"No recognition of the thief, genocide and character assassination of the Tianos, the Kalinagos and other indigenous peoples"

“No recognition of the thief, genocide and character assassination of the Tianos, the Kalinagos and other indigenous peoples” – Photo Credit: Wikipedia

As we approach the season before the silly season we can expect the regular public diatribes from officialdom as they seek to immortalize a constructed past and present an unmeasured guidance for their fairy tale visions of the future. The hard truth has been, is and will be that Barbados since 1627 has never been an independent country and may, never will be. We now know that the most influential factor in Barbados’ independence was the CIA pressure on Britain to relinquish its colonies worldwide, as evidenced by recent Freedom of Information Act disclosures. Right away we have to reassess claims about the ‘fathership’ of this so-called independence project. We also have to ask ourselves some other searching questions.

What kind of an independent country can be properly built on the bones of the indigenous peoples of this region in circumstances where, within the body politic, there is no recognition of the thief, genocide and character assassination of the Tianos, the Kalinagos and other indigenous peoples who lived on this here land for millennium before White people even knew the world was not flat. They descendant are still amongst us.

What kind of an independent country will allow 180 years to past after the most egregious crimes to be committed against African peoples, and indeed all of humanity, and for those crimes to be taken as a normal way of doing business, as though they never occurred. A business which initially ‘globalized’ the functions of corporations.

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Please Teacher Darling

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Barbadians have proven once again that we live in a society where the vast majority of us prefer to bury our heads in the sand. The furore, created by the publication of a story about two school children having sex at school, has given me the impression that too many people preferred not to find out about this in a public forum. That would have allowed them to continue to delude themselves that all is well in our schools.

I must admit that the Nation could have been a bit more restrained in its delivery of the story. But I believe that it is high time that the decadence that is being nurtured, in our schools, is exposed. When children go to school, they ought not to be exposed to illicit sexual behaviour, either as a participant or spectator. Unfortunately, when instances of serious bad behaviour are discovered, the authorities go into cover up mode ostensibly to protect the good name of the school. It would appear that little thought is given to the welfare of the affected children or the law when they investigate and deal with school-based child sexual abuse and other crimes.

Over the years, there have been many reports of little school girls being introduced to sex far too early by their teachers. The method of dealing with these matters vary, but in most cases, the perpetrators get away with a slap on the wrist, and are allowed to continue their activity until they are caught again or retired.

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More Action at a Secondary School

Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education

Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education

Coming in the wake of the classroom sex video BU is looking into another matter at Princess Margaret School. It appears a teacher was beaten by a school boy and fainted from the experience. What is alarming is that other teachers who were present were scared shitless to offer assistance to a fallen comrade.

It is not surprising we are told that the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) has been slow to take action and the BSTU as is the norm is being ignored. Can we expect the Ministry of Education to take action? What about the embattled Minister of Education?

Notes From a Native Son: A Nation with a Hollow Where Public Morality Ought to be

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The political and economic failure of Barbados is like a slow motion car crash which onlookers are powerless to do anything about. As we look on, we can see the economy heading for a reinforced wall like a speeding, driverless car; we observe our leading institutions collapsing like a pack of over-used cards, while the high priests and priestesses of society preach about the solidity of these very flawed institutions. It is like Armageddon, we run screaming to the captains of industry, but there is nothing they can do; we plead with our politicians, but they are not listening; we ask our professionals for help, but they are pre-occupied with feathering their own nests. Repeating the growing lists of failings may hurt, but that is not like the pain felt by the marginalised, the disadvantaged, the outcasts. Like the man left on the floor of the hospital for four hours without any attention, then only to have a kind soul throw a sheet over him; like the man who collapsed at the wheel of his vehicle, only to find that calls for an ambulance could not be met – while the so-called Defence Force has an abundance of ambulances. Like a government refusing to pay Mr Barrack, while still pretending that it can engage in big capital projects.

Death of a Dream:
I seem to pinpoint the historical juncture when this rot set in when we started Barbadianising all our top management and public sector positions, regardless of the quality of the talent to fill those positions. This runs from the quality of programming at CBC, the leadership of our secondary schools and the nature of decision-making in the public sector. The only explanation is the rise of a petit-bourgeois nationalism in the years since constitutional independence which, in many ways, is driving the nation back in to the dark days of neo-colonial rule. The dominant belief now is that, no matter which political party one belongs to or support, this Barbadianisation of public sector jobs is a social priority over and above the quality of the service we deliver to the long-suffering public. In many ways, the irony is that this retreat in to a self-protective nationalism is taking place while the island itself is giving way to new forms of Barbadian-ness. This weakness is in most part an outcome of a weak public intellectual movement, as a reflection of the wider ruling elite. It is a small elite which has found it intellectually and politically cosy not challenging each other and accepting a consensus which is not ideologically tested in any way.

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Submitted by Guild Watchdog
(L-R) Guild President; Damani Parris, Law Rep; Daniel Davies, Guild Treasurer; Ital Spencer reviewing a student petition against paying tuition fees

(L-R) Guild President; Damani Parris, Law Rep; Daniel Davies, Guild Treasurer; Ital Spencer reviewing a student petition against paying tuition fees

While some University Students are worrying about the Governments new policy forcing them to pay tuition fees at The University of the West Indies. It was chaos and turmoil at The Roy Marshall Teaching Complex at The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus on Thursday night; for the convening of a Guild Council Meeting when once-removed Treasurer of the Guild, Ital Spencer was the centre of contention and disruptive behaviour forcing University Security to end the meeting prematurely.

Mr. Spencer, who was also the Guild Treasurer on the previous Guild Council was accused of manipulating his authority to obtain absolute power and threatening other council officers. These accusations, which offend the Constitution of the Guild and the University’s Code of Ethics warranted him a trial of ‘No Confidence for Recall’ at the hands of the student population resulting in his removal last November.

Sources close to the Cave Hill Guild Council have stated Mr. Spencer dod not submit financial reports, has been accused and proven of using the students’ Guild funds for personal benefit, for example, a first class flight to Jamaica last UWI Games among other aggravated offenses. To this end, the President of the Guild, Mr. Damani Parris, has suspended Mr. Spencer pending another Special  Meeting of the Student Body to affect the removal of Mr. Spencer.

On Wednesday, 25th September, 2013 the majority membership of the student executive voted ‘No Confidence’ in Mr. Ital Spencer and have therefore recommended to the student population that he be removed.

UWI Fees Standing On Current Enrolled Barbadians Students

Submitted by Politically Correct (to alert the President of the Guild of this vital information)
President of the Student's Guild, Damani Parris

President of the Student’s Guild, Damani Parris – photo credit:Nation newspaper

This letter is not to slander persons in the Ministry but merely to assist the Guild in fighting the sudden increase in fees for Barbadian students. I will explain how to address this legally below from paragraph 2. The Ministry of Education, Science Technology and Innovation is a puppet Ministry which is suffering at the hands of the International community because of Globalisation. This is a typical encroachment on our sovereignty as a Nation. Changing a name does not mean that you are in alignment with countries that truly have science, technology and innovation based research saving the country money, creating new jobs etc. Minister Ronald Jones is quoted in the advocate as saying “The State does not have money and that citizens must stop being selfish and depending on Government for the State has no money (ADVOCATE 13/9/2013)

Every country listed here in Canada, South Africa, Denmark, Finland and more. I draw to your attention the UWI HANDBOOK and REGULATIONS for each FACULTY, as the first set of evidence and the quality assurance agency in Barbados which promotes quality assurance in higher education for you to use in your arguments. We will now see the power of politics and the role it plays.

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Local Tertiary Education

Submitted by Looking Glass
Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation

Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation

We are about the only country in the world where Tertiary Education is free and the cost to the taxpayer is truly excessive not only in terms of finance but in terms of what is taught and how it is taught. This is especially true of the kind of economics we teach and has implications for successful social and economic development.

Countries are not identical. They differ in terms of size, natural resources, social resources, population etc. China population exceeds one million the USA about 275000. Economics is a social science not a physical science. All we have is land, sea, sun and no natural resources. To be truly effective for Barbados it requires knowledge and understanding of the local economy.

Econ growth and development require technological and other growth to increase productivity. It requires structural factors social, economic and political to increase output and efficiency of available resources and investment. The agricultural sector is vital. Much of economic development in Latin America is tied to the land and growth of products for consumption and export. Much of the population is involved in agriculture. They grow every thing from coffee and cocoa, work on the land and have enacted vigorous development policies. In Barbados we are still inclined to avoid working the land and linking it to Slavery.

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UWI, Tertiary Education Cost and the Budget

Submitted by Fair Play
Sir Frank Alleyne

Sir Frank Alleyne

Sir Frank Alleyne’s interview on the People’s Business last night was spot-on. As usual, he was cogent, rational, reasonable and, of course, very ‘frank’, no pun intended. All the while, trying not to be overly critical of the administration at Cave Hill, but tacitly showing up its unreasonableness and excessive spending, nonetheless. He walked the proverbial tightrope (having taught there for decades, so he was somewhat circumspect), but he did it well.

It was very interesting television! Lots of good points were made; but  a couple salient ones stand out:

  • current physical development at the Cave Hill campus is not sustainable;
  • maintenance and personnel to staff the new structures will be difficult to maintain;
  • salary levels are very high;
  • UWI’s operating cost (to central government) has risen exponentially from about $53 million in 2005 to over $126 million in 2012-2013;

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Financing Tertiary Education in the Caribbean: The Case of the University of the West Indies

Andrew Downes is Professor of Economics and Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. He has degrees in economics from the Universities of the West Indies and Manchester. He is the author of several monographs and articles covering such area as labour economics, macroeconomics, development economics and applied econometrics. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies. He is the author of a report for the UNDP on the Millennium Development Goals in the Caribbean

Andrew Downes is Professor of Economics and Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. He has degrees in economics from the Universities of the West Indies and Manchester. He is the author of several monographs and articles covering such area as labour economics, macroeconomics, development economics and applied econometrics. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies. He is the author of a report for the UNDP on the Millennium Development Goals in the Caribbean.