Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, has lashed out at Barbadians he says have Facebook and other social media “plastered with death and mayhem”.
And while he acknowledged “students have always fought in this country”, the Christ Church East Central MP told Parliament today that the instantaneous broadcast of these violent disagreements via phones and other technology sources concerned him.
Jones said such behaviour was symptomatic of an increasingly intolerant and angry society, something he said could not be blamed solely on the current harsh economic times.
The official was speaking in the House of Assembly this morning during debate Police Complaints Authority (Validation) Bill, legislation which once approved would “provide for the validation of the membership, acts done, and decisions made by the Police Complaints Authority from October 6, 2011” until now.
Jones said technology was a valuable tool, but that unless it was used ethically it could a destructive force.
He was speaking partly in the context of 40 year old Kirk Brenan Edwards, who fell to his death last week from City Centre Mall’s multi-storey car park.
“There is a dangerous trend where places like Facebook … are plastered with death and mayhem because the technology today is so instantaneous,” the minister said.
“At one time you had to find a pay phone to call your family from St. Lucy to Christ Church and tell them ‘there is a death down here’. Today you don’t have to do that, even the simplest of mobile phones can be used to take a picture, but that is saying something to me when the persons posts it on Facebook; broken bodies, persons decapitated, the faces of persons who have suffered in very harsh ways.
“Is it because we have become so insensitive to human existence? Is it because … we are hearing maybe mixed messages coming from leaders in our country that they resort to these things? Every life is precious … under God and must be precious under man, and I am using that in a generic way. And therefore the life lost is a life that not only belongs to God but belongs to a family,” he added.
Jones, who is Government’s lead spokesman on education, equally abhorred the recording and broadcasting of fights involving school children.
“I am seeing pictures of students on our streets sometimes fighting and I had to say to a group I was addressing recently I went to school in Barbados too. Students have always fought in this country but they didn’t have the technology to expose what took place into the wider world, and persons recoiling in horror as though fights never use to take place,” he said.
“In the 50s and 60s and 70s in this country there were some horrendous fights amongst children, village on village. We had a lessening off of that but we are seeing now some intolerance again raising its ugly head and we have to call on the Royal Barbados Police Force from time to time to visit our schools, not only as personnel who come as part of the community outreach, … but because there is a level of intolerance and a level of anger that is present in our country.
“How do we bring a voice of calm to that feeling of anger that is in our country,” Jones asked? (SC)