The Chairperson of the United Progressive Party (UPP) is condemning what she sees as an inappropriate move by Education Minister Daryll Matthew, whom she accuses of manipulating primary-school children.
D.Gisele Isaac’s criticism is echoed by other residents, who are concerned that Matthew’s name appears on the uniforms of a sports team – presumably as its sponsor.
In addition to bearing Matthew’s name, the uniform shirts carry a lighted torch, the school’s logo, which strongly resembles that of the Antigua Labour Party. The shirts are also red, which is the party’s colour.
Isaac sees Matthew’s self-promotional move as taking advantage of students who are believed to be as young as nine and 10 years old. When children are exposed to certain images, she explains, they are conditioned, subconsciously, to gravitate to these things.
Isaac says she is further offended by the shirts because of the poor quality of food being served to students via the School Meals Programme, over which Matthew, as Education Minister, presides.
The UPP Chairperson says that parents should stand up for their children and not allow these types of abuses by the authorities.
While some persons see nothing wrong with Matthew’s name and what resembles the Labour Party’s symbol on the uniforms, several parents tell REAL News they believe he is using the children to push his political agenda.
Others say the principal of the school dropped the ball and should be fired. However, one man believes the principal was not in the position to raise any objection since Matthew is her boss.
The school is also located in his constituency, St. John’s Rural South.