Education Minister promises end to impasse ‘in shortest possible time’


EDUCATION Minister Ronald Jones has given the assurance that the impasse between the Barbados Union of Teachers and his Ministry will be brought to a close within the shortest possible time.
His comments came in the Lower Chamber on Thursday night during his response to the no-confidence motion laid against the government. Jones, a former President of the BUT, stressed that he believes in industrial relations. “I believe in the Trade Union movement of Barbados. I sat as a drafting member for the constitution of CTUSAB. I worked with that body all during the 1990s to 1995 before I went off to further studies.”
He however encouraged those in the Union to “create an arena of reasonableness”. “Don’t let your personal issues taint the environment.”
“I promise this House to do everything decent that I have to do to ensure that this current disturbance finds rest in the graveyard of industrial relations. That is my promise. We have mobilised internally of the Ministry to ensure that this comes to an end it makes no sense as a former leader in the Trade Union Movement to have myself ridiculed, unfortunately and unwarranted, very unwarranted, to have this continue,” he told the House.
Minister Jones recalled that a number of schools over the years have had environmental issues including St. Leonard’s, Springer Memorial and Louis Lynch.
“What we have had in the last three or four years is a coalescing of several things, some very simple, some caused by man’s errors, and some which we had to do deep searching to find.”
However he noted that the issues are 90 per cent rectified. These include Grazette’s Primary as it related to mosquitoes, Ellerton with pigeons and rats and Springer Memorial which was affected by dust.
He noted that the situation at Combermere was different because the source of the problem could not be found. The Minister noted that in one instance during Edutech, a hole was drilled though a vent pipe,the walls were sealed but not the pipe, sending fumes into the building. He noted that an oversight committee was created with all the stakeholders during this period and the committee still meets to ensure the well-being of those at the school is protected.“You cant predict that these things will happen. 90 percent have been addressed. Because once children or teachers are in our care we work in their better interest.”
The Minister of Education told Honourable Members in the House that attention must be paid to septic tanks in schools, noting that after some time the gases can build up and affect the entire school environment. (JH)

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