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PEP COLUMN: A national disease of infantilism

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

PEP COLUMN: A national disease of infantilism

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There is a national “disease” in Barbados!
We seem to have created a society in which people who are invested with a little power are consumed with a sense of personal entitlement and self-importance.
This, in turn, leads to attitudes of complacency and lack of accountability, and to the development of a personality type that is characterized by immaturity, emotional fragility and an inability to appreciate that there are wider and deeper national interests that should be placed above self-centred individual pursuits. In short, many of our so-called leaders can only be described as “infantile”.
The ongoing saga of Alexandra School is but one example of this social condition, for all of the persons involved in this saga – with the exception of the school children – are persons who have been vested with “a little power”.
Needless to say, the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) is appalled at the irresponsibility and immaturity that have been displayed by the two contending parties and the Ministry of Education in the ongoing saga of the Alexandra School.
There can be no doubt that the educational prospects of the innocent and blameless students of Alexandra School are being damaged by the ongoing impasse between principal Jeff Broome and the 30-odd Alexandra teachers who are represented by the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU).
The masses of the ordinary citizens of Barbados, in their native wisdom, have discerned that this is the case and have requested that both sides compromise to such an extent that there can at least be some resumption of proper teaching and learning at the Alexandra School.
In spite of these righteous pleas, both sides have hardened their hearts and have maintained intransigent positions that continue to consign hundreds of schoolchildren to a certain diminution of their educational prospects.
The PEP wishes to publicly say to Broome, the 30 Alexandra teachers, the BSTU and the Minister of Education that whatever legitimate grouses and issues they may have with each other, none of them is entitled to engage in actions that injure the children who have been placed in their care.
The students of Alexandra are minors who have been entrusted to the care of the principal, the teachers and the Ministry of Education. These adult parties have therefore been given a responsibility for these children, and are under a sacred moral and legal duty not to harm these them in any way. The PEP therefore says to all of the parties in the Alexandra School saga:
“By all means protest and contend against each other if such is required – but do not do so in such a manner that damage is done to the children.”
It is against this background that the PEP hereby calls upon the relevant Alexandra teachers to immediately resume their teaching duties at the school, even while they continue, in other ways, to exercise their right to agitate to have Broomes separated from Alexandra.
Surely, the Alexandra teachers and other members of the BSTU are creative enough to devise strategies of protest and other forms of industrial action that do not require the students to be deprived of their education.
Let us, as a nation, hold sacrosanct the principle that no harm must be done to innocent children.
Let maturity and a sense of responsibility return.