A few months ago, someone living in the United States confided to a friend that he tried to keep abreast of developments at home by listening to our local radio stations on the internet.
The individual said he welcomed the news coming out of Grenada until one day he listened to a conversation with a talk show host and a person who called in to voice his opinion on a particular subject matter.
However, what stunned him was the open admittance on air by the talk show host that he did not know Sir Reginald Palmer was a former Governor-General of Grenada.
The local who was living in the United States decided from that day he would not listen to that particular announcer on the FM radio station since he concluded that this so-called major radio personality was not a fit and perfect person to be on air because of his basic lack of knowledge.
THE NEW TODAY has brought this to the fore in light of a similar occurrence within the Ministry of Education and some of the employees there who have to help impart knowledge to our thousands of school-children.
October is a very historic month on the Grenada calendar. It is the month in which two major events of huge proportions took place in 1983 that shaped the future of the Tri-island State of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
Two historic firsts took place in the English-speaking Caribbean – the murder of a Prime Minister in office and the sending of U.S troops into the Eastern Caribbean to topple a bloody military leadership and to help restore constitutional rule of law.
This newspaper was called in by a leading school principal to take a close look at a National quiz that was set by the Ministry of Education for school children on events surrounding the events of the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution and its subsequent demise.
It was quite appalling to see some of the questions that were set and the multiple choices given by those who co-coordinated the quiz from within the Ministry of Education.
Those who wrote out the questions were totally ignorant of some of the happenings that took place in Grenada in the revolutionary period.
Take for instance the question that was posed: On October 19, 1983 only members of …… were executed. The children were asked to select from among four choices on the paper – (a) Military (b) Parliament (c) PRG and (d) Cabinet.
None of the choices put before the nation’s students are correct. The Prime Minister and three Cabinet colleagues were executed on the fort along with three persons who were employed in the private sector.
There was another nonsensical question posed by the Ministry of Education to the school children.
It reads as follow: During the period following the elections, an …… was formed to govern the country.
The person or persons who wrote the question probably intended to ask what was put in place by Governor-General Sir Paul Scoon to run the island in the immediate aftermath of the October 25, 1983 military action?
Absolutely none of the choices given to the children by the Ministry of Education were relevant to the question that was asked of them to solicit answers since the choices were (a) Administrative Council, (b) Military Council, (c) Advisory Council and (d) People’s Council.
The questionnaire also sought to rewrite history by making the bold assertion that when the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) took office after the March 13, 1979 overthrow of Eric Gairy that it withdrew the island from the OECS court system.
This is totally false. It was the other way around because the OECS leaders were the ones who took the decision to withdraw the court from Grenada which left the new revolutionary leaders with little or no choice but to set up their own court system.
The biggest error on the part of the Ministry of Education was saved for last by the NEW TODAY.
The following was asked of the students: The crown witness for the trial (Maurice Bishop murder trial was: (a) Leon Cornwall (b) Chalky Ventou (c) Ewart Layne (d) Rayburn Nelson).
Clearly, the person or persons who wrote this particular question do not know the simple meaning of a Crown Witness in a case since none of the four named person did any such thing.
In addition, the names of at least two of the four were incorrectly spelt on the questionnaire as can be seen in reference to Ventour and Raeburn Nelson.
There were other glaring mistakes in this so-called national quiz that was set by the Ministry of Education – the people in charge of educating the next generation of leaders for the country.
It begs the question – who set the exam and who vetted it within the Ministry of Education. The Minister of Education, Anthony Boatswain who was a senior civil servant in the 1979-83 era would not have had any knowledge of the questions in the quiz since he knew much better.
The above speaks for itself and should inform the Minister that he has his work cut out for him in really fixing the problems that are known to exist within the Ministry of Education.