On June 11, 2013, in the Barbados House of Assembly, Ronald Jones made a truly chilling speech which must engage the concern of every citizen of this island.
In response to what he considered the “creation of a groundswell” of discontent among the populace with his Government, which he claimed could lead to “insurrection”, via very thinly veiled assertions, he gave notice that the military forces would be called on “by necessity” to “crack some heads” and “shoot some people” in order “to restore order”!!
Some I have spoken to have shrugged off Jones’ comment as “typical Jones’ rhetoric”, they have laughed it off as Jones’ penchant for being “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”!
Such a response is dangerous.
We fail to truly appreciate that language reveals the mindset of the speaker. And the mindset betrayed by the
words spoken by Jones is one which is radically inimical to the development of true democracy in this island. This minister has in the past called for “peace” from certain professionals but all he really wanted was their obeisance, obsequiousness and silence.
These are the traits Jones demands, and the context in which he prefers to function. Thus, this speech should not surprise any Barbadian (certainly no teacher) who has been
listening attentively to this, ironically enough, Minister of Education. In truth, he is the antithesis of what education should be all about!
It was a dangerous speech spawned by a dangerous mindset.
But will we have the courage to denounce both the speech itself and the mindset from which it exploded like a “dirty bomb”, contaminating our House, our history, our struggle?
I can just imagine Jones laughing knowingly at the next Cabinet meeting and declaring
with characteristic pomposity, like his counterpart: “This is going to be a battle with me and others, but all that will happen, they will cuss me … but I ain’t gine change”! It is the profound arrogance of power!
Will we allow it to continue unchallenged and unchecked?
— Stephen Nicholls