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EVERYTHING BUT: Child’s play?

Ridley Greene

EVERYTHING BUT: Child’s play?

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The soul is healed by being with children. – An English proverb.
For those of you who aren’t already devotees, shame on you!
I am devoted to imparting knowledge – what little I have.
I am profoundly committed to the cause of the educating of children – fully, faithfully and fearlessly. I am also dedicated to the dissemination of thoughts and ideas worthy of propagandizing.
Repetition of gobbledegook and sterile rhetoric is not in my book. Repetition is a technique, at best, for remembering; at worst, for brainwashing.
And somewhere in the middle it could be a veritable source of frustration.
I am smack in the middle of irritation over the Alexandra School feud. It really is time it ended; but we could be in for another week – or two – of the nonsense.
I thought Minister of Education Ronald Jones had thrown his arms up in the air in frustration himself and had handed over this most delicate matter to the Prime Minister, who promised swift action – and without “fear or favour”.
Now, Mr Jones is taking another shot at an Alexandra resolution today – with all sides at the table hopefully.
I do not know what else Mr Jones expects from the red-hot, defiant Mary Redman.
Ms R had pledged to fight to the death – which she subsequently euphemized to accepting nothing less than “separation” of Alexandra principal Jeff Broomes.
Ms Redman is expecting nothing less than a “higher level” meeting – beyond Mr Jones’ chairmanship, if I recall correctly. And what else does the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) head expect? A meeting “to get this thing resolved in a way that it needs to be resolved, the only way that it can be resolved”.
It would appear Ms Redman’s imagined outcome is the only one she will accept. Not a trace of compromise, reconciliation, rebuilding, mutual conditionality. Then we wonder why our youth resort to extremes for conflict resolution.
And we wonder why there is such demarcation among our young people when it comes to difference of opinion and outlook, that they take up guns and shoot each other out. We wonder why hearts become so hardened that we should have gangs.
And this intransigence of Ms Redman and the BSTU Sir Roy Trotman throws his weight and that of his Barbados Workers’ Union behind – while we strut about pontificating on temperance in the society and social justice, and boasting abroad of wise and harmonious industrial relations at home.
How does the “most powerful” union contribute to a wise and harmonious settlement in the Redman/BSTU-Broomes impasse by publicly announcing partisanship.
Would Sir Roy and Ms Redman consider that maybe the striking Alexandra teachers – just maybe – acted unwisely?
Is it possible Sir Roy acted hastily too, his vision blurred by the flapping wings of the albatross of the unresolved Sandy Lane and Royal Shop cases around his neck? Just maybe?
And all the while egos seek out satiation, and would-be battle victors preen on television, Alexandra School students’ learning faces rigor mortis – on account of teachers who swear they love and care for these now disadvantaged children, but aren’t there.
Mary Reds is on record as saying she wants to see the Alexandra School again as one big, happy family. Ironically, we have been told, it is “family” at the core of the impasse.
All the reason why it should never have got this far – if blood be thicker than water.
In a court of law, any child of thinking ability is heard from by the judge in family squabbles, at the centre of which that child might be. Where children are involved, their welfare is paramountcy. Where have been the voices of the Alexandra children in all this brouhaha?
We know by deduction that these students have been hurting; but have we truly listened to them?
There has been talk of make-up classes at Alexandra, made the more impractical as the feud rages. Time waits for no man, woman or child.
So Ms Redman, what do you plan to do with yours now, and that of the children of Alexandra?
I am seeing red other than in Ms R’s dresses. I am angered by the injustice against the Alexandra students and their hopes of a better world, which we may be shattering in this chess game of kings . . . and obvious pawns.