Minister of Education Ronald Jones has blasted one of this island’s dailies, calling it “wicked”, “spiteful” and divisive, over a recent report that former Members of Parliament (MP) were still being paid, despite the automatic dissolution of the House of Assembly on March 6.
Addressing the launch of the campaign office for the Democratic Labour Party’s St Joseph candidate Dennis Holder in Blackman’s last night, Jones questioned the need for the Nation newspaper to highlight the fact that MPs were still being paid during the 90-day period leading up to elections.
“One of the dailies in Barbados thought it necessary to put a splatter on the front page saying these are the salaries [of former MPs],” he said in reference to a March 21 publication of the Nation newspaper in which it was revealed that Jones, as a Cabinet minister, would continue to receive $16, 683.85, which forms part of a monthly total of $468,448.92 being paid out to the 30 former MPs at various pay levels.
“What is that about? Why are we descending into the bowels of nastiness in this country? For what purpose?” he asked of supporters gathered for the launch.
“But these things are to prove a point. It’s to create in the hearts of the citizenry [that MPs are rich and well off],” he said, adding that the, “aim is to create this anger towards those who are in service of you”.
“It’s a wicked, deliberate, spiteful level of behaviour being perpetuated in this country nearly every day,” he said, while suggesting that he rarely read the island’s daily papers and pointing out that it was not the first time the salaries of elected and appointed members had been published.
However, he said it appeared that “there is this miasmic capture of the mind by writing up the Prime Minister works for this; the Minister of Education works for this”.
So incensed was he with the publication that when a member of the audience mentioned the name of the daily and the fact that it was in the midst of staff layoffs, he blurted out: “They should have had the whole closet cleaned out.
“I’m sorry to say this because there are some excellent journalists in Barbados, all around. But when the head is bad the bowels get worse. Everything scatters all over the place and everything stinks up,” he added. (GA)