Opposition Member of Parliament for St James North Edmund Hinkson has supported a call by the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) for Minister of Education Ronald Jones to resign.
Addressing the Lower House yesterday, Hinkson, who is the Shadow Minister of Education, charged that Jones had failed to deliver on promises made on the floor of Parliament to supply the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) with policy documents, statements, strategies and programmes relating to education development.
“For the last 14 months an honourable member, a member of Cabinet, a person mandated to lead the educational development of Barbadian young people makes these pledges to this honourable Parliament and by extension to all Barbadians both at home and aboard and in fact the whole world and fails to do so even after I have written him,” Hinkson claimed.
In his contribution to the debate on the Caribbean Accreditation Authority Education n Medicine and other Health Professions (Incorporation) Bill 2016, Hinkson accused Jones of disrespect and contempt.
“If that honourable member feels that he can treat the trade union movement with disdain and other members on that side who support him feel so, you cannot come in here, we will not allow you on this side to treat this Parliament of noble and ancient vintage with disdain and I would hope that the Right Honourable Prime Minister would condemn the Minister for that.
“If as the trade union movement has said that the honourable member is tired let him shift, let him write a letter to the Right Honourable Prime Minister to say, ‘Mister Prime Minister, I have had this post for eight and a half years, I am the longest serving Minister of Education in this country . . . I give up, I tender my resignation from the position of Minister of Education’. And in fact if he doesn’t do that Sir, the Right Honourable Prime Minister should see it fit to remove him for the sake of the people of Barbados and to save the people of Barbados from this kind of behaviour” Hinkson said.
At the height of its current impasse with the Ministry of Education, the BUT President Pedro Shepherd last week suggested that if Jones is tired, he should resign. The teachers have been seeking an urgent meeting with the minister to discuss pressing issues affecting teachers, such as violence in schools. However, so far, Jones has not acceded to their request for a hearing. (FW)