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Bad treatment to deputy principal

Principal Broomes makes a point to his attorney Vernon Smith QC.

A “vindictive effort” to belittle her role and contribution. That’s how Chairman of the board of management at the Alexandra School, Keith Simmons, QC, considered Principal Jeff Broomes’ treatment of the school’s Deputy Principal Beverley Lashley.

Responding to questions from Barbados Secondary Teachers Union lead counsel Hal Gollop, Simmons, who gave evidence for a third straight day at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra, said the way the principal had virtually banished Lashley to a small room, and the fact they hardly said a word to each other was cause for concern. So much so that he had raised the matter with “the Minister of Education”.

Noting that Broomes “talks to me”, and that the two were “still good friends outside the board”, the chairman said he could not condone any bad treatment of the deputy principal. He was speaking in the context of the various functions Lashley was entitled to perform under the Education Regulations, which accompany the Education Act. This included her acting as principal when Broomes was absent, and assisting in the overall management of the education institution.

He said “not at all” could these functions be performed if the first and second in command were not speaking.

“I think in that type of atmosphere frank discussion would not be possible,” he said. “It is just not good. The place where the deputy principal is located is far from anything that should be given to anybody.”

Asked by Gollop if any effort had been made to deal with the issue at level of the Ministry of Education, he responded: “Nothing whatsoever… I also drew it to the attention of the minster as well, nothing has happened.”

Gollop traced the suggested broken relations between Broomes and Lashley to 2002 when Broomes fill the post of principal, after his deputy, a long-standing member of staff there had applied for the job, and was considered a shoo in by many. In his witness statement to the commission, Broomes spoke of resentment he met when he took up the job at the St. Peter school, and pointed to the fact that Lashley took a terms leave the same time he started. (SC)

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