Mon | Jan 27, 2020

No time for ‘Jamaica time’ - Thwaites calls for culture of punctuality

Published:Friday | November 29, 2019 | 12:28 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer
Honoured teachers of Holland High School, (from left) Yvonne Allen, Theresa Williams, Joseph Hylton, Pauleen Reid, Mary Gonzales, Shirley Williams, and Errol Jones.
Honoured teachers of Holland High School, (from left) Yvonne Allen, Theresa Williams, Joseph Hylton, Pauleen Reid, Mary Gonzales, Shirley Williams, and Errol Jones.


Parliamentarian Ronald Thwaites has urged residents to promote respect for punctuality among both children and adults and to reject flippant acceptance of ‘Jamaica time’ – a humorous allusion to tardiness which, he said, negatively impacted the nation’s legislature.

The Central Kingston member of parliament and Roman Catholic deacon said the country should cultivate a new culture.

“We must put away this Jamaica time mentality. Last Tuesday, students were invited to Parliament for a 2 p.m. start, but the sitting did not start until 2:45 p.m. This contempt is a mirror of our society, where leaders behave like arrogant poppycocks, forgetting the needs of others,” said Thwaites of a groundbreaking sitting of Gordon House where children addressed lawmakers.

Referring to the role schools should play in national development, the former education minister said that places of learning should benefit both parents and children.

“The school must be the intersection with the home, where not only the children are educated, but also the parents,” said Thwaites.

“This is not made easy when a catastrophic statistic says 47 per cent of our children do not know their fathers nor have any interaction with them. Children come to school without basic manners. They do not know how to form a line unless it is before the betting shop.”

Thwaites also waded into the recent controversy at Pembroke Hall High School, where a teacher threatened to murder a student with whom she had a dispute. Thwaites said that the nearly 40-year-old Code of Regulations, which governs the operations of schools, needed to be revamped.

“The Education Code of 1980 needs to be revamped. It is inadequate and does not now enable teachers to deal with rampant social dislocation in schools. The situation at Pembroke Hall, where the teacher went into a tirade, is a symptom of deeper distress in schools,” said Thwaites.

The outgoing MP was addressing a banquet honouring seven retirees who collectively gave 63 years of service to the 15-year-old Holland High School in Trelawny. The event was held at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Montego Bay on Wednesday.

It was the consensus of the school family that the retirees, who served for a high of 15 years to a low of two, have contributed significantly to the building of what they dub ‘brand Holland’.

Thwaites, who was the guest speaker, praised the teachers for their effort in putting Holland on par with older high schools.

“It is a wonderful example to Jamaica that a banquet like this can include members of the ancillary staff, who have played a role in making Holland the school it is today,” said Thwaites. “You started from scratch and have moved to a parallel of some other schools which are not 15 years old but over 100 years old.”

Pauline Reid, who served as Holland’s High first principal, expressed fond memories of her time at the school as she spoke on behalf of the retirees.

“Our togetherness made Holland a brand, which moved us into ‘Ivy League’ status. Thanks for showing us how you appreciate our contribution in the form of this banquet,” said Reid.