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Jones: Govt watching Jamaica


Jones: Govt  watching Jamaica

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Government is keeping a close watch on the Jamaica crisis, with  a view to ensuring  the safety of its students at the Mona Campus  of the University of the West Indies (UWI).Word of this came yesterday from Minister  of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones.“The  Ministry  of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are having contact through our honorary consul even as I speak,  to ensure that those Barbadians who have not yet returned home are safe within the environment,” he said in the House  of Assembly.“We know the exams  of many have in fact finished. They usually come home in the summer and many have returned. But we are keeping an eye on the situation to ensure that Barbadian students are not affected or that they are not in the area  of harm.”Jones’ comments followed two straight days of clashes between Jamaica’s security forces and masked gunmen allied with alleged drug kingpin Christopher “Dudus” Coke.Coke’s supporters have been trying to prevent his extradition to the United States to face drug and arms trafficking charges.According to Press reports, at least 26 civilians and four members of the security forces have died  in the fighting.“We know that the Jamaican constabulary and the Jamaican Defence Force will protect all innocent civilians – not only Barbadians but all persons who are studying at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies,” Jones said.He urged the warring parties to “cease and desist” and allow innocent civilians to get on with their lives.Jones was contributing to debate on a resolution to approve  Government’s guarantee of US$2.7 million, part of a loan  of US$8.2 million  from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), to the University of the West Indies (UWI).He stated Government’s commitment to funding the UWI, saying it would continue the tradition  of heavy Barbadian  state financing. But he said there  was a need to get Barbadians to be more serious about education.“We have to encourage our young people not  to take the provision  of publicly-funded education for granted,”  he told parliamentarians.“ . . . That they need  to be more focused when they go and they have their education at the expense of their parents and other citizens  in the society.”  (TY)