Minister of Education Ronald Jones, himself a former trade union leader, yesterday took a swipe at the new generation of leadership in the local labour movement.
In his contribution to a resolution congratulating Barbados on its 50th anniversary of Independence, Jones spoke in the House of Assembly about a “new generation of leadership who initiates action before sitting at the table of consultation . . . coming after and saying, ‘well, we have put the action into place, we will now meet after.’”
Although contending that his comments were not meant to be a criticism but “a reflection”, Jones said he did not understand that approach.
“What is persuading people to move in that direction?” he asked.
Although Jones made no reference to the latest industrial unrest, his comments came amid an ongoing row between the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and the Freundel Stuart administration over the reversion of the union’s president Akanni McDowall from a senior to a junior post in the public service.
“When we seek to destroy this country, maybe the walls will already be up – not only on the southern border of the United States, but maybe the United States will completely be encircled with the wall . . . and the disadvantaged and those who have been led astray and those who have to run might not be able to get over the wall,” added Jones in reference to US President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall on the US-Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants.
The minister appealed to Barbadians not to discredit the country in their quest for material, emotional and social
During his contribution, Jones again defended the country’s educational achievements in the face of criticisms which he claimed were based on a misinterpretation of statistics.