MONTEGO BAY, St James — Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has taken issue with deejay Gully Bop for his recent comment on a television show in which he bragged of side-stepping his responsibility as a father.
Thwaites was speaking at Montego Bay High School for Girls on Wednesday at the Kiwanis International 100th anniversary celebration during which 100 youths were recognised for their exemplary services as volunteers.
“I don’t want to criticise him too much, because I only heard it second hand. But I gather that recently there was an interview, it must have been on some video or television, of a man called Gully Flop… have I got that right? And when this person, whoever he is, was asked about his children, he said yea, he has plenty children but he only looks after three or so because he makes it a pattern that he only deals with a woman who is working or a woman who has a man who is working,” said Thwaites.
“I want to tell you, that’s what’s keeping Jamaica back, and what’s cranking us in education, is the weakness of the family structure in this country. And you (students) are old enough for me to say to you this evening that the greatest shackle of the slavery that we all went through in different roles, was the destruction of the African family form,” he continued.
The education minister, who is a father of seven children, said that a good parent is of extreme significance.
“The most important thing that we can ever be in life is not to be prime minister or Usain Bolt or Shelly Ann (Fraser) or anybody else, but it is to be a good parent. And you are preparing for that right now by your very involvement in the Kiwanis movement and in the service that you give,” the education minister said.
He lamented that a recent survey on living conditions in Jamaica revealed that 38 per cent of the nation’s youths “either don’t know who their father is or have no effective relationship with him”.
“What we know, what science and observation tell us is that those young people who have a stable relationship, and a helpful relationship with at least one adult person, and preferably the two, whose activity brought them into this world, are going to do better,” said Thwaites.