EDITORIAL: How do we see ourselves in the mirror?
Senator?Jepter?Ince has said that no Government can survive “these difficult times” without the “support of the labour union movement”.
It is vital, says the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, that knowledge between the union and Government is pooled “to chart the way forward”.
And, Senator Ince on Saturday informed his audience at the Errol Barrow Day Family Fun Day &?Fair at the Labour College at?Mangrove that his Government was depending on the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) to help it.
When we consider that the Prime Minister is ever mindful that the Government cannot do it all and that “there are no miracles to be worked anywhere”, Senator Ince’s pronouncements seem in place with Mr Freundel Stuart’s sentiments to picnickers on the Ermy Bourne Highway on Saturday as well.
But are the utterances any more than rhetoric?
Let it be said, we do need the special cooperation of all Social Partners in this country, in the current economic circumstances, if indeed we shall ride out the storm. But cooperation comes with sacrifice, and sacrifice sometimes means stepping back; forgoing some demands.
The ongoing union movement impasse and consequent teachers’ strike action that has left one school’s senior students severely disadvantaged and their parents enraged – which action is supported by the knowledegable BWU – appear in contradistinction of Senator Ince’s words.
We expect nothing less than that Senator Ince should show his hosts the BWU courtesy; not flattery. We thought, that given the senator believes the Government could do with some BWU guidance on the challenges it faces, he might have invoked the knowledgeable union’s solution to the nigh three-week Alexandra imbroglio.
Or he could have used the opportunity to ask the BWU to interface with the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union and use its experience to put at peace the minds of Alexandra principal Jeff Broomes, BSTU president Mary Redman and Minister of Education Ronald Jones.
Regrettably, we are becoming a nation subsumed by rhetoric.
At the same Mangrove, St Philip function on Errol Barrow Day, BWU president general Linda Brooks advised the union’s youth arm that they must think of how their negative actions reflect on the achievements of the National Heroes of Barbados.
“Each time you pull a gun,” she warned them, “. . . each time you smoke a spliff, each time you sniff crack, you are doing nothing more than squandering what these [heroes] achieved, and ruining your life in the process.”
Ms Brooks might have added to the negative list “each time you fail to negotiate, each time you resolve problems by might . . .”.
As Mr Barrow would have asked: What mirror image do we indeed have of ourselves?