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Jones should apologise

Minister of Education Ronald Jones ought to perform the honourable act and apologise to the people and Parliament of Barbados.

His contribution during last Tuesday’s debate in the highest forum of the land on a simple validation of the decisions of the Police Complaints Authority echoed the words of those in political authority in colonial Barbados at the worst of times.

We refer to his statements that the police force of necessity would have to “crack some heads” and “shoot some people” so that they could “restore order”, in an environment where citizens in the not too distant future may be forced to legitimately and publicly demonstrate their understandable frustrations with and disappointment over the inept Government.

Like our political leader, Mia Amor Mottley, Bishop Sir Wilfred Wood, David Comissiong and the thousands of others who have spoken in the traditional and social media, we believe Minister Jones’ statement is totally unbecoming of a senior Cabinet minister, who has acted on several occasions as Prime Minister between 2008 and 2011.

Jones must be aware that his statements as minister of education have the potential to influence the minds and actions of our young people. Is this the kind of behaviour which the DLP wishes our young people to emulate as they become adults?

We expected the Attorney-General to use his wrap up speech in the debate to disassociate himself, his party and the Government from Jones’ unfortunate statements rather than seek to excuse them.

The BLP strongly deprecates not only the stance taken by Jones but the fact that the minister has not even found it possible up to four days afterwards to apologise to Barbadians for his statements that many have also viewed as intimidatory.

Sober reflection ought to have led him to realise that his words have no place in a free and democratic post-colonial society after 46 years of Independence.

The BLP therefore formally calls on Minister Jones to apologise to the people and Parliament of Barbados. Should he fail to do so, we call on the Prime Minister to immediately relieve him of his appointment as minister of education.

We believe that the Prime Minister’s silence and inaction in the face of the public outrage that has emerged this week will be seen by many, especially by our young people, as an endorsement of the statements and as a validation of the worst periods of our colonial history to be now applied in a modern independent Barbados.

— Edmund G. Hinkson, M.P.,

Shadow Minister for Education

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