Not political!

BLP candidate seeks to clear the air St Mark’s protest

Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for St Philip North Dr Sonia Browne has poured cold water on claims made by Minister of Education Ronald Jones that last week’s protest march at St Mark’s Primary School was political.

On Friday, a number of frustrated, placard-bearing parents and guardians picketed outside of the compound, complaining of deplorable conditions at the Government-run, St Philip learning institution.

Opposition BLP candidate for St Philip North Sonia Browne said Friday’s march at St Mark’s Primary School was not politically motivated.
One of the frustrated parents who participated in Friday’s march.

Three days later, Jones publicly accused the Opposition BLP of playing politics with the lives of the students, while suggesting there was no real reason for protests at this time.

In fact, while insisting that those involved in last week’s demonstration were agents of the Opposition BLP, he reported that a number of improvements were made to the school in the 2015/2016 academic year, including changing the roof, refurbishing the main building and changes to the toilets.

This section of the fence at the St Mark’s Primary School is currently in need of repair and has been overrun with bush.
Parents have also raised concern about the quality of drinking water coming out of these mossy taps.

“What I’m condemning is the propagandistic approach taken by some to feather their own nest, ignorant of what has gone before. So in the presence of deliberate ignorance, one gets this deliberate propagandistic approach,” Jones told Barbados TODAY on Monday.

However in response, Browne, who has a four year-old daughter enrolled at the school, said Friday’s march was not politically motivated.

“There is a history behind that march. We had our first PTA [Parent-Teachers Association] meeting in either late September or early October, nothing to do with politics at all, and it was noted that several of the parents were disgusted by the state of the school.

“I made sure that I did not open my mouth so no one could say it’s politically motivated. They came up with the idea to step up action to get the school fixed after letters were sent to the ministry and nothing was done,” Browne said, while insisting that the action had “nothing to do with the Barbados Labour Party”.

The BLP hopeful also dismissed Jones’ suggestion that a number of improvements were made to the learning environment.

“The toilets are in a mess, the girls bathroom is not tiled, there was not a single seat on the toilet the week before school began.  I, along with some of the parents, put together some money and I personally went to Carters [general store] and purchased the seats.

“No tiling is on the floor. In the boys’ bathroom, the urinals were spilling over because the water could not be locked off. The doors stayed open, [so] I am a little unclear as to where the work is,” the concerned parent said, adding that “if anything was done, it was a very slight paint job, but putting icing on a disgusting cake does not make it better”.

She also complained that the walkways were “horrible”.

“My child fell at least on three occasions through a fence that isn’t fixed properly, [so] I am yet to see these improvements [and] we also have a lot of loose wires that the boys could eventually fiddle with.”

Browne, who is also a past student of St Mark’s Primary, suggested that a new school should be built posthaste to accommodate the St Philip students, who she said were unable to accommodate a visit by the then Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave last year, owing to the school’s unkempt state.

“I left that school when I was about eight years old and it looks the exact same way [now],” she said, while dismissing the latest promise by Jones that a new school was coming.

“This is election time so I expect to hear things like that,” she said.

While not disclosing the next stage of action, Browne, a member of the school’s PTA, said parents would continue to keep pressure on the authorities to restore the century-old school building.

“We are giving them sometime to see what can happen. It is only fair. The PTA meets again in a couple of weeks and then we will decide where to go from here, but we will not be letting it rest.  St Mark’s pupils deserve the same as any other school on the island in terms of renovations and new play grounds,” Browne insisted.

9 Responses to Not political!

  1. Sharon Taylor
    Sharon Taylor November 1, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Wid elections in d air, anything is possible…. Politricks is a dirty game!

  2. Peter November 2, 2017 at 12:55 am

    Here, when a Minister declares a reasonable protest as “Strictly Political”, generally that means the Minister is declaring his/her incompetence and announcing their lack of ideas…
    But that’s just here, in Canada…

  3. harry turnover November 2, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Again BT…who is ROLAND JONES ?

  4. MARIA Holder November 2, 2017 at 6:48 am

    We keep missing the ball – whether it is political or not, is it true? Well I can attest that the school is in a deplorable state. If my pickney was a student there, it would have been political every since. Those parents, like most Barbadians are very patient.

  5. Darson November 2, 2017 at 7:56 am

    For all it is worth :
    This is more of a poor representation on the Maintenance and Construction workers charged with the upkeep of the schools and other Government buildings : That is just poor workmanship and bad selection of fittings ,Judging from the picture presented ,
    but i do understand part of the problem , put something better and it will be taken or broken in days . Stop blaming Ministers , ask for stainless steel water fountains and see they are installed and maintened properly ,and see the proper water filters are installed as well .

  6. archy perch November 2, 2017 at 7:57 am

    A political figure in the mix of a protest and she says it is not political. Strupse. It’s like adding lime to milk. Michael Lashley gine give she wah she wants next year, you wait.

    • roger headley November 2, 2017 at 8:52 am

      But Archy I am yet to see you make a comment here that cannot be considered politically one-sided

    • roger headley November 2, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Additionally, her child attends that school

  7. archy perch November 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I am not running for office, but I remind critics of the DLP government of the BLP past which was as corrupt as many things they allege about the DLP team. Critics run amok on these sites and (my God) don’t talk about VOB.!
    If I did not know better, I would go thinking the DLP has caused every single thing that is wrong- for the time being- in Barbados, and that is NOT the case. I have heard Mr. BLP himself as he then was,Owen Arthur get up in Parliament and say on two occasions that he accepts responsibility for everything. No good enough. He ows the country an explaination. WE all know of the excessive borrowing and wild spending during the time he held the government. We all know of the Mercedes Benz cars they ALL used to drive even parked in New Burney under that up stairs house. We all know of the teefing dah as Seranader song outlined. Hardwood involving mah ass cold….you remember that or you forget.
    Well if you forgt, I WILL REMIND ALL OF YOU.


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