This week thousands of students who sat11-plus exams with high hopes of making it into secondary school went home in tears, their immediate future in jeopardy. Many who passed their exams with flying colors won’t make it to secondary school this year, for although five thousand took the exam, only two thousand places are available. Also this week a ministry of education official confirmed a Castries schoolteacher has been selling contraband to students. It seems our young people simply can’t win. The cards are stacked against them. Even when they have been fortunate enough to land a school place, chances are they’ll be rendered drug addicts by age sixteen.
The STAR contacted the education ministry for confirmation of the incredible drug story. A spokesman told us: “Yes, it’s true. We know about a teacher who has been selling drugs to the students at his school but we can’t tell you more.” “What’s the education department doing about the drug-peddling teacher?” we asked. “Has he or she been sacked?” “We can only assure you the teacher will be disciplined,” said the ministry official. “The police know about the case.”
We sought further information from the police. At first they claimed to know not what we were talking about. Later an officer acknowledged the matter had been before the police commissioner and was being “handled discreetly.” How much worse will the prime minister permit the drug scourge to become before he takes appropriate steps to eradicate it? It is our contention—and the prime has expressed support for our observation—that the future of our country lies in the hands of our young who depend on the rest of us for their survival. The citizenry must demand our government does everything possible, not only to educate our dependent young but also to guarantee their good health, mentally and physically. On the evidence, our government is asleep at the wheel!
Editor’s Note: The preceding by Rick Wayne first appeared in this newspaper on 18 June 1988.