Simmons: No conflict of interest

“I do not agree with you.”

That was the repeated response of Keith Simmons, QC, chairman of board of management of the Alexandra School to suggestions his holding that position simultaneously with being a member of the Public Service Commission was a conflict of interest.

That position was put to him persistently today by Principal Jeff Broomes’ senior counsel, Vernon Smith, QC, when the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra resumed at the Wildey Gymnasium. Each time it was not agreed to by the chairman.

Smith told Simmons it was a “very serious matter” that he could be holding both posts at the same time.

But the witness said he saw no conflict of interest in the fact that he was a representative of the Minister of Education, a political figure, and also a member of the Public Service Commission, which dealt without the appointment and discipline of civil servants.

“If the operative comes under my jurisdiction as a board member and something comes I would just not sit on that,” he said.

But he told Simmons to simply move to recuse himself from an appointed position would be wrong.

“No. I think something is very right on the contrary,” he said.

“I do not agree with you. If a specific case comes up I understand that, but it cannot be general.

“I do not agree with you. If a specific job comes to the Public Service Commission, Alexandra School, I would just say I cannot even look at that. Does that mean if three hundred other things come to the commission I cannot deal with them? I am not following you,” he told Smith. (SC)

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