What Minister Jones said
This is an edited version of what Minister of Education Ronald Jones had to say this morning following the start of the ministerial meeting at the Ministry of Education with all parties involved in the dispute to solve the Alexandra School dispute:
“Officials of the Ministry and the members of the special ministerial delegation encountered the situation where Mr Phil Perry came into the meeting and said that he came to represent the BSTU. He was not accompanied by any correspondence, any letter, anything to say that they so authorised him.
To the best of our knowledge Mr Perry is a retired teacher. We can’t tell BSTU who should form part of their delegation whatsoever. But it just can’t be done that way in a situation where you sent correspondence the latest up til yesterday evening indicating that you will not attend.
Now I see this as a gross insult to this special ministerial delegation in which I’m a member… Any person can then walk off the street and say they are a representative and claim to be a representative of somebody.
This is not how it is done in industrial relations in Barbados.
And this has demonstrated really how low this matter has gone; how low this matter has come and we really can’t tolerate that level of behaviour. The BSTU had a right to be here this morning. The invitation was issued to the BSTU as well. They were not isolated, they were not kept out of the process. It makes no sense to be just constantly talking to the individuals separately when you can bring the individuals together to see how best we can get past the difficulty and we can deal with the students at Alexandra School.
I can only tell you what we did. We established a meeting. One just cannot go chopping and cutting in this kind of process. You either want resolution or you don’t want resolution. In this ministry we need resolution so that we can teach the children at Alexandra School and by extension all the children of Barbados. They deserve that. They don’t deserve a process where adults are fighting in this matter without recognizing true process and a natural justice should be part and parcel of what we do within the Trade Union movement of Barbados.
I can only comment on what we did up to yesterday evening in relation to and the support of the Prime Minister of Barbados that this special ministerial (team) should meet that is made up of the Minister of Labour, Attorney General of Barbados, Senator Husbands who reports directly to the Prime Minister and myself as Minister of Education, along with the Chief Labour Officer.
This is golden opportunity for the BSTU to have sat and further put their case why they want a total and absolute separation rather than go through a process of meeting individually again unless individuals come together as adults in a reasonable and rational manner then this matter is not going to be resolved. And this is a demonstration of that.
I cannot tell you how the road would twist and turn because there were so many twists and turns in this particular activity that it befuddles the mind.
Part of this problem is that rather than people come together and work co-operatively, one party wants to constantly lay down conditions. This is not done in the Trade Union movement where one party strictly lays down conditions – if you don’t do A, B would happen if you don’t B, C would happen.
The invitation went out, they put as theircondition that they cannot meet. They did not even ask if the NUPW were coming this morning. They did not even turn up.
It is only after I believe communication was sent that somebody walked off, as far as I am concerned, the street and said they come to represent the BSTU to record our deliberations, not even to participate. That is the height of offensiveness.
We will have further communication later.” (END)