Ronald Jones??

Statement From The Minister Of Education And Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, Re: The Industrial Dispute At The Alexandra School

As Minister of Education and Human Resource Development I have been paying keen interest in the unfolding issues as they relate to the Alexandra School and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union. Having been kept abreast by the officials of the Ministry??and the appropriate responses from time to time, I deem it necessary to seek to broker some understanding, some agreement relative to the industrial action undertaken by the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union.

Therefore, I have asked the BSTU in a letter delivered today by our Deputy Chief Education Officer (Schools) to the President of the BSTU, Mary Redman, to meet with me and other officials of the Ministry of Education, the line ministry responsible for teachers, principals and education as a whole, on Saturday, January 14, at the Ministry of Education.

I am hoping that the Union would accept that humble request for a meeting, so that we can seek to work our way through some of the very convoluted issues, which have arisen over the last two weeks or so.

As Minister of Education, I recognise that students must be taught academically and to do that we must have teachers delivering that education to them in schools; the escalation of the industrial action is obviously thwarting the best delivery of education.

The students at Alexandra for the last eight days have been suffering. I wish to extend my sincerest thanks to them for their discipline and their decorum over these past several days and their interest in maintaining some semblance of order at that school.

But, we know teachers are there to teach children and as quickly as we can get teachers back into the classrooms of Barbados would be in the best interest of all concerned, but more particularly the students.

The parents too, I want to congratulate and thank them as well for their keen interest in this matter.

As Minister, I didn’t seek to insert myself in the process because the industrial relations process follows a particular path, and by law there is no specific path that one can follow in this. But, I am seeking simply to use the good office of the Ministry of Education to see how we can step back from the brink of disaster in this matter and seek to return to at least a semblance of order in education and in industrial relations matters across the education sector.

Once we are able to have that meeting with the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, then I would look to have a meeting with BAPSS (Barbados Association of Public Secondary Schools) the National Union of Public Workers and Mr. Broomes [the Principal of Alexandra School].?? There are some suggestions which I would want to put on the table for all to consider, and then I remain available for any other meetings which would bring this matter hopefully to a successful conclusion.

I have sought to sequence meetings from tomorrow Saturday to be followed by Monday and possibly Wednesday, if needs be and any other day which is necessary to stop this troubling situation in the education sector of Barbados. And, I am just simply appealing to all persons to just step back from their very entrenched positions, because I believe together we can find a solution to these difficulties. Just remember that it is the students of our nation who are being harmed, while we seek to rectify the situation. In the mean time, persons should desist from inflaming the industrial relations process, but should let us really meet and work through the various issues concerned.????????

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