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Another tirade

In your Friday, June 28, 2013 edition, Barbados Today reported Ronald Jones’ address to those teachers entering the Teachers’ Introductory Course, Associate Degree in Education at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, in an article headed Education minister warns teachers.

This is an interesting headline, to be sure, made even more significant when juxtaposed with your headline, Be warned!, used to caption your report of the same Ronald Jones’ now infamous “cracking of heads; shooting of people!” outburst in Parliament on Tuesday, June 11, 2013! [Barbados Today; 11/06/13; p. 3]

In truth, the words of the Minister of Education at Erdiston College last Friday offer yet another revelation of the relentlessly combative orientation of this particular minister.

This minister continues to tilt and tirade in a rut of adversarial rhetoric. This week he is “warning” appointed teachers that there are laws that they — teachers appointed to the Public Service — apparently “don’t know are there” that can, he warns, lead to their “disappointment”. “Ha!” Jones is reported to have exclaimed. “You can be touched, it is how you are touched.”

Did the minister stick out his tongue as he uttered these words?

Even though the precise vocabulary of “cracking heads” and “shooting people” was not employed this time around at Erdiston as it was in Parliament, is not a close similarity in sabre-rattling language and tone clearly identifiable?

The pouty truculence that is always thickly smeared over Jones’ verbiage has assailed the public quite often, more so in the month of June (2013) — obviously none “Too soon” for all the irascible sound and fury packed by Jones!

Unfortunately, the bellicose battle/war paradigm in which this minister perpetually jousts and revels, is the metaphor of leadership that is stubbornly clung to by far too many in positions of power and authority in this country.

Could it possibly be that, because the Government of Barbados has accepted the mantle of the “model employer”, its persistence with this permanently petulant minister has been interpreted as a sanction and, indeed, a recommendation of this type of scrappy, confrontational posture and manoeuvring for leaders? Especially those swept into leadership in the educational sphere?

Barbadians are encouraged (by employers/management) to attribute all labour unrest to “irresponsible”/”unreasonable” trade unionism but, truth be told, I am inclined to believe that the fault lies more in the counter-productive examples of these antagonistic models displayed ever so graphically by Ronald Jones.

One wonders if the Minister of Education honestly believes in his heart of hearts that this gladiatorial aura he so carefully and lovingly weaves for himself is really the best way to motivate, inspire, gain the confidence, trust and cooperation of those whom he is supposed to lead?

The incredible irony of it all is that this particular minister, who has dropped the ball on so many occasions to the detriment of taxpayers (once, to the tune of $600,000!), is actually telling someone else to “pull their weight or else”!

I only wish the Prime Minister would have told Ronald Jones the same thing years ago — and meant it!

— Lionel James

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