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Failing grade for education minister

Minister of Education Ronald Jones has received an “F” for the prescription he gave to fix the Alexandra School problem and Barbados’ education sector.

Former Minister of Health Dr. Jerome Walcott, speaking at a meeting in Gall Hill, Christ Church on Tuesday night, sharply criticised him and the “government of … gross incompetence led by an accidental prime minister whose one … feature was his inability to make a decision”.

“In 2013 our nation is hobbling along,” Walcott told the crowd.

The BLP candidate for Christ Church South said there were problems in the education sector and dismissed Jones’ pronouncements that the situation at the embattled Alexandra School had “settled down”.

“What nonsense! Can you imagine a minister of education who claimed to be a teacher, who in the middle of a school year could agree to the movement of … teachers from secondary schools and these teachers, for example I’m told that in the case of Alexandra School even this evening, fifth form French students have not had a class as yet because of this nonsense that you replace the French teacher with a Spanish teacher.

“Can you imagine … that someone who is teaching French to the CXC you remove him from the Alexandra School and send a Spanish teacher? Do you understand the incompetence that I’m speaking about in 2013?” Walcott asked.

He also spoke about the situation involving the autotronics teacher who was transferred and could not teach technical drawing, but “you have a Minister Jones parading in his high heeled shoes” who said that everything was fine and had settled… You understand the seriousness of this?” he said.

Walcott said Jones was a “failure” in several areas.

“A failure as a teacher. A failure in the Ministry of Education, a failure as deputy prime minister and even a failure in the Caribbean Federation Football Union, a total failure. So why would the people of Christ Church East Central continue to stand up with a total failure. It is time for them to deal with Ronald Jones, it is certainly time,” he asserted.

He also said there was no certainty if “Barbadian students would be allowed to enter the university in September this year” and he charged there was confusion at the Barbados Community College where the principal, who was the institution for more than 24 years, was working on a month to month contract.

Walcott also listed what he considered the failings of the incumbent for Christ Church West Central and Minister of Culture, Youth, Sports and Family Stephen Lashley mentioning the “problems in culture”, areas that fell under his portfolio, sports, and the fact that he was “parading” around the constituency but had nothing to show.

“For three years, he promised you the track at the stadium would be relaid and every month for the last four months has been telling you that it would finish next month. This is now February and you don’t even know what is going to happen to the inter-school sports. That is the sort of management that is the sort of incompetent leadership which I’m speaking about in terms of this government,” he said. (DS)

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