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‘Save us from Jones’

This is an urgent SOS to my Prime Minister.

Prime Minister, I beg of you that while you deliberate and consider the most effective deployment of the skills and talents at your disposal for your Cabinet, you Save Our Schools — nursery to tertiary, academic, technical/vocational and special needs, public and private, co-educational and single-sex — from Ronald Jones as any Minister of Education!

You will be hard-put to deny that Jones’ 2008-2013 tenure of this office was nothing short of an absolute perversion of that grand title and spectacularly betrayed his singular unfitness for the job.

He was, in short, a dismal failure!

Jones’ stewardship, his miserable sojourn in that ministry, has distinguished him as the poorest minister of education inflicted upon post-Independence Barbados, and that took some doing, given some of his competition on both sides of the fence!

His tainted tenure was kick-started with threats of his intention to “kick down doors”, punctuated with directions for principals to put his words in their “pipes and smoke it (sic)” and scarred by his claims of demons possessing school children.

And who can forget Jones’ coup de grâce — his claim to shame, his catastrophic bungling of the Alexandra Affair.

He so terribly mismanaged this burning parochial issue that he single-handledly transformed it into a national debacle.

That was his contribution to a most sensitive matter which he, in all truthfulness, did inherit. But inheritance of the case does in no way absolve him from the utter mess he made of the whole saga. From his reprehensible ignoring of the 2010 Institutional Appraisal Report of Professor Winston King to his disregard of the 2012 Report of the Waterman Commission of Inquiry, Jones’ stint at the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development has been nothing short of a national disgrace and he and the ministry, under his rulership, have had a deleterious effect on the entire school system.

Prime Minister, I beseech you not to afflict our education system, its teachers, parents, students and other stakeholders, with Ronald Jones ever again. Keep Jones far from the Elsie Payne Complex.

Our “massive investment” in education deserves no less! — Stephen Nicholls

Editor’s note: This letter was received prior to the announcement last night of the Cabinet.

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