Thanks Ronnie! Students praise former education minister for assistance
Former Minister of Education and Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites was visibly moved last Thursday at Central High School.
Lured there under the pretence that he was being invited to a function organised by James and Friend Education Programme (JFEP), it wasn't until he got there he discovered the function was all about him.
More than 40 students from high schools, and the University of the West Indies (UWI) gathered at the institution's auditorium to say thanks to the man who, without his intervention they would not have got a chance to sit their Caribbean Secondary Education Certification (CSEC) examinations, two students were also saved from being de-registered at UWI.
Invited guests who shared in the ceremony hailed Thwaites as a man with a heart.
Perhaps the most poignant came from Custos of Clarendon William 'Billy' Shagoury, who said he knew the guest of honour from 1992.
"If we had more politicians like Ronald Thwaites, the country would be a better place. He is not one who takes, but instead give and give. God forbid when he dies, if he doesn't go to heaven none of us can go!"
In his speech, Thwaites pledged his continued support to the programme with the promise he would be doing all he can to ensure its success as he saw first-hand the lives that are being touched.
"The new minister (of education) is a man with a good heart. I want him to succeed your lives are much bigger than any party consideration. I am happy to 'follow backa' him now," said Thwaites, referring to Ruel Reid.
Thwaites reminded the students that education is the biggest opportunity they will ever receive and urged them to make good use of the opportunity.
Thwaites also used the occasion to take a dig at the just concluded carnival celebrations, noting that the country needs to get its priorities straight.
"Programmes like these are struggling for sponsorships and look how easily this country spends money for people to whine up in the street, we need to get out priorities right. Education comes first in this country," he said.
Otis James of JFEP, in thanking Thwaites, said had it not been for him, a lot of the students many of whom are facing great challenges would have dropped out of school.
Thwaites received thank you cards from students as well as a specially engraved plaque with a group photo of the students he assisted.