The principal of R.M. Bailey High School in Nassau recently sent home some young women for violating the school’s uniform policy. ZNS TV13 was at the school to allow these students to voice their opinions on the matter.
Listening to these female students, one may have gotten the impression that they were victims of a vile offence. But rather than being victims, they were the perpetrators of a crime that is rampant throughout this land, the crime of disobedience.
It is not difficult to understand why this high school principal elected to reprimand these students by sending them home. Every society needs rules and for that school, wearing the uniform skirt at a certain length is what is required. And if students do not adhere to the rules they must be willing to accept the consequences.
This is the point that the Prime Minister was trying to get across to the residents of Bimini last Wednesday. After the police officer shot and killed a local resident, some Biminites took it upon themselves to retaliate by burning and destroying government property.
Like any good principal, the Prime Minister is trying to find out which residents were responsible for vandalizing thousands of dollars of government property. But as is the case with most students, no one wants to be the one to “pimp off” fellow classmates.
The local gossip is suggesting that the police officers stationed on the island of Bimini have not been treating the residents with any respect. It is being said that the officers are young and arrogant and this seems to anger members of this small community.
In most schools, the culture is often defined by the principal’s relationship with the students, parents and teachers. The principal sets the tone and stakeholders would usually follow his/her lead.
So the question that needs to be asked is what culture have the leaders from the two major political parties created by their actions over the past few years? What kind of relationships do they have with the members of the wider society? What kind of relationships do they have with the members of their cabinet and inner sanctum? And, do their relationships foster obedience and order?
Last week the former prime minister was verbally assaulted in the media by one of his own followers. The accusations have since been hurled from both of them and were fodder for much gossip at the office lunch tables. The real story behind all of this uproar has not been fully told, but I am sure disobedience is at the helm.
After meeting with the residents of Bimini, Prime Minister Ingraham was once again accused of being arrogant and insensitive to the needs of his people. His tone was interpreted as being defensive and almost hostile which did not sit well with the Biminites. Because he was perceived to be insensitive and uncaring, his point, that members of society must obey the laws of the land, seems to have been overlooked or ignored.
While the prime minister may want to show that he is a principal who takes action, he needs to make sure everyone on his team buys into his vision and are willing to execute it with the same passion. Then on the other side, the former prime minister thought he was doing a good job by listening to everyone, when what he really needed to do was trust in his own judgement.
Being a leader is not easy, but don’t do make the job more difficult by disconnecting yourself from the body, that is, the people. If we truly want to regain some order in this tiny nation of ours, our leaders must step up and take action that will repair and change the behaviour.
Talking around the issues and lashing out in anger may cast a shadow of fear, but it will not change the behaviour to achieve the desired result. With such a vile and contemptible culture that is adverse to civil obedience, one must question whether or not it is being cultivated by the political leaders of this country. While we may not agree with all the rules, order can only exist when we are obedient.
So I applaud all those school principals who stand up for order and obedience. There may be some lips lapping about the place spewing off words of contempt and condemnation, but do not be wavered by such anger induced ignorance.
The bottom line is that in order for a household to run smoothly, there must be obedience. In order for schools to run effectively, there must be obedience. In order for any business to run efficiently, there must be order. And, in order for a country to run successfully on all levels, the citizenry must be obedient.
About the author: Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at