Retired secondary school principal Matthew Farley, a recipient of a 2015 Independence national honour, says there is a “pervasive spirit of liberalism eating away like a cancer at our social and moral core”. Until it is broken, he says, “hanging up his boots” is out of the question.
The outspoken and controversial former head of the Graydon Sealy Secondary School, who was awarded the Barbados Service Star, gave this commitment today during an interview with Barbados TODAY, in which he expressed gratitude to those responsible for recognizing his contribution to education.
Farley said, however, that he accepted the award with a heavy heart because of the sense of drift that has overtaken the country.
‘In all of the battles I have fought over the years, while I see this award as a vindication in some instances, many of those battles are yet to be won,” he stressed.
He went on: “For the last 40 years, I have been battling with a number of issues. For example, I have been an advocate for strict discipline; I have been an advocate for high standards of behaviour and the pursuit of excellence in our schools.
“I cannot say that those things have been achieved to the extent that I believe they should have been achieved by now.
“Under these circumstances, I cannot, with this award, hang up my gloves and hang up my boots. In fact, I vow to continue to be an advocate for these things.”
Citing the need for “an enhanced sense of order in our schools”, Farley vowed: “I am not going to hang up my boots until our students exhibit a more responsible behaviour on our school buses; I am not going to hang up my gloves until the pervasive spirit of liberalism that is eating away like a cancer at our social and moral core is broken.”
Giving examples of this “pervasive spirit”, he referred to attempts to decriminalize homosexuality and legalize marijuana “even though there is evidence of its devastation on our young people”. He also mentioned “the movement to embrace a policy that will criminalize parents and teachers” with the enactment of the Juvenile Justice Act.
“I feel that if we abolish corporal punishment, we would be setting the cat among the pigeons. We would be left with feathers and blood,” said Farley, a born-again Pentecostal Christian. “We are thinking about dismantling systems that may still help to hold society together.
“There was a time, possibly two to five years ago, when persons on murder charges were not granted bail. I keep asking myself what kind of Barbados would I be leaving for my children and grandchildren.”
Farley expressed concern that every community across the country now has a block with its own television, its own connectivity in terms of cellular phones and a guiding philosophy which says: ‘Get Rich or Die Trying’.
The retired educator lamented that at present no one was talking tough. He pointed out that in an earlier period of the island’s history, members of the Royal Barbados Police Force would have already broken up such “nests of crime”.