Do you remember the last time the Catholics of this country rose up against the government? That was way back in November of 1999! The NDP was in office. Hundreds of Catholics took to the streets of Kingstown to protest against the dire conditions facing Catholic schools and the government’s failure to effectively address them. Less than two years later there was an election and the government came tumbling down. Catholics, it is surmised, went to the polls and voted them out with a vengeance.
The current crisis at the St. Joseph’s Convent School Kingstown (SJCK) presents a stark reminder of what happened in 1999. In the space of a week, teachers walked off the job; students bearing placards staged a vociferous protest. All of of this was against the actions of a newly appointed ULP government senator who filed law suits against the school and its key stake holders on the behalf of an ill-disciplined child and her misguided mother.
In all likelihood, other Catholic schools namely: St. Martin’s Secondary, St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua and St. Mary’s Primary could have taken to the streets in solidarity with SJCK. Indeed, this may still be an option if the goodly senator proceeds with his law suits against the Catholic educational establishment.
Hon Dr Ralph Gonsalves ought to be taking keen interest in these developments. He may recall that as a parent, he too joined the protest march of November 1999. It may be quite ironic if as prime minister the Catholic schools should lead a protest against his government all because of the vanities of one of the Comrade’s newest senator.
Dr Gonsalves can put an end to all this. He must neutralize this wild card senator and re-establish cordial relations with the Catholic Community. History must not be allowed to repeat itself. Remember, November 1999 marked the beginning of the end of the NDP in office. To this day, the party is yet to “catch itself”. Could it now be that the ULP is about to suffer the same fate?