Minister of Education Ronald Jones has accused the Opposition Barbados Labour Party of inciting its supporters to “disrespect” Prime Minister Freundel Stuart by booing him as he entered Parliament here on Wednesday.
A large animated crowd, comprising mostly red t-shirt clad BLP supporters, gathered at the gates of the House of Assembly and was quite vocal in expressing its disgust with Stuart’s ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Arguably, the loudest of these expressions of contempt were reserved for the Prime Minister himself, who was seemingly unfazed amid the negative shouts as he exited his vehicle and made his way into the Lower House.
When questioned about their reasons for booing the Government leader, members of the crowd said it had little to do with their support for the Opposition and more to do with the hardship that was inflicted by the ruling DLP in Tuesday’s Budget.
However, in his contribution to the Budget debate on Thursday, Jones took issue with the behaviour of the Opposition crowd, saying Barbadians had always maintained respect for the dignity of elected leaders regardless of which party they supported.
“I know Barbadians become very puffed up when the smell of the theatre politics is in the air, and over the last two days I witnessed much of that theatre. On the outside I saw all kinds of orchestrations were delivered and I thought what I saw was a sad day in the political history of Barbados. We had always been a mature people with probably one of the best democracies in the world,” Jones said.
“However we are moving the goal post more and more very dangerously to what could be described as conflict. Yesterday I heard loud booing; I don’t know who started the booing, but, looking outside, I realized that it was several persons dressed in red and I realized that the Prime Minister was being driven in.
“You don’t have to demonstrate disrespect to our leaders. You don’t have to like them, not everybody likes us, but we must always practice a certain level of respect in our political dealings,” he counselled.
The Minister of Education also cautioned the Opposition that it could sow the negative seeds it reaps.
“I hope that when they reap the repercussions of those seeds that they do not say, ‘I did not plant those seeds’. The harvest might be the most dangerous to those who planted the seed,” he warned.