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    December 17

  • 10:37 PM

Where are we going?

WAYNE “POONKA” WILLOCK,

Added 27 November 2017

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As the current administration continues to ignore the advice of anyone who is perceived to be “not on their team”, experts and jokers alike (like me), I will now draw attention to a matter that I have spoken about continually for the past five years – the indiscriminate burning of stuff and garbage, much to the detriment of the people nearby and the environment as a whole.

We in Citizens Against Burning Stuff (CABS) have clamoured for years on this issue, only to be told each time I happen to see the Minister of Health, that “we are getting to that soon. We can’t do everything at one time”. So what exactly is he doing?

I said happen to see because he is supposed to be representing me in my constituency . . . .

So what will it take to deal with this matter? Twenty-eight more children and adults to be taken to a hospital? You could imagine that none of the reports has focused on the perpetrator(s) who would have almost caused the deaths of asthmatics who may have been affected? What is going on in this country?

The worse I have ever seen when it comes to prioritisation by Government officials. Too much of self and self-preservation at the expense of the public, already suffering from a host of taxes, unforseen in past times.

Let’s go to Ellerslie’s events. This is neither an attack on that school nor its administration. It is again an attack on the associated Minister of Education. For a long time I, as a ‘‘trouble maker”, given that nomenclature in certain of his circles, have spoken to the need for more spot checks and searches at schools, the installation of cameras, the use of metal detectors, the need for punishment for these kinds of actions to be meted out in its appropriate form, instead of giving students a pat on the hand or two weeks home to go to the beach and lime.

Parents have been encouraged to run to the ministry and beg for their charges, who have serious charges. Principals are then forced to follow “instructions” under the guise of not wanting to “criminalise” young people. We are making a lot of sport in this country about serious matters. What will it take?

Sometimes students reach court and are sent back to school after two or three weeks to bask in the glory of being a bad boy because of their age. The society has changed in such a way that the adults, far from setting examples, encourage and expect this kind of behaviour. Now we hear that corporal punishment is to go. Hello! I already feel for those administrators who will have to contend with students who already defy them in the face of such punishment.

Where are we going? Too many square pegs in round political holes. The ball has been dropped and it has rolled into the gutter with all the moss, rats and other aspects of garbage which escaped being burnt in the open air.

In other countries there is a hefty fine for those who break the laws governing the burning of materials in neighbourhoods, far more next to a school. I remember an issue like this when I was acting principal at Princess Margaret Secondary where [I was] chastised both in front of teachers and at the ministry for dealing with those kinds of matters in a professional and caring manner.

– WAYNE “POONKA” WILLOCK

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