A truly disturning trend

It must be worthy of remark that the media has chosen to characterise the Tuesday, June 11 speech in our House of Assembly of the member for Christ Church East Central, and, ironically, the Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones as “emotional” and “impassioned”, and, my personal favourite, “studded with hints…”!!! Interesting euphemisms, all.

I consider his speech to be menacingly intemperate.

However, this now widely-publicised speech merely continues a truly disturbing trend that defines many of this gentleman’s public utterances. It began immediately after he was given the education portfolio in 2008 when he spoke of “kicking down doors”.

It continued with him telling principals that they were not the owners of schools and to put that information “in their pipes and smoke it”. It went further with his attributing misbehaviour in our school-children, not to any social, health, economic factors, but to their “possession by demons”.

These are but a few examples. This latest remark, raising the spectre of “crack[ing] some heads” and “shoot[ing] some people” to “restore order” in Barbados, is yet another reckless outburst from this gentleman. His allusion to 1937 Uprising is as ironic as one can get. Or is it, really? It eludes me why this gentleman remains a member of Cabinet and more incredibly as the minister in charge of education, of all things!

Is this really good enough for Barbados? Should we Barbadians not expect and demand a higher standard than this from those characters who court our votes and claim they wish to serve us?

It is tempting to dismiss these comments as just habitual bluster. However, it has always proven to be extremely dangerous to ignore as insignificant the words (intemperate, foolish, or otherwise) of any one who holds a position of power and authority simply because we may have serious personal misgivings regarding the quality of that person’s intellect. There are some things which we must not allow to go unchecked or unchallenged; for what we allow is what will continue.

As citizens, we ignore not only the actions but the use of language, the precise words of those who are in charge, at our peril.

— Lionel James

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