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Broomes wants to destroy BSTU, says senior teacher

Principal of the Alexandra School Jeff Broomes is on a mission to destroy the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union. And if ever he achieved that feat he would “retire happily”.

That’s what Leslie Lett, Head of the English Department at the institution related Broomes told him in a conversation, during which he urged the teacher to withdraw from the BSTU and to disassociate himself from the “blasted women”, senior female staff at the school, who could not stomach the son of a fisherman becoming principal of Alexandra.

The senior teacher was the latest member of the institution’s teaching staff to give evidence at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra today.

He said Broomes “virulent anti union sentiment” was such that Broomes wanted to see the end of the BSTU.

“He has told me his mission is to destroy BSTU, that is Jeff Broomes’ mission and he warned me a long time ago, get off the BSTU,” Lett testified.

He has told me that his mission is to destroy the BSTU and he can retire happily, but we know this already because of his refusing to attend a meeting that he was called to.” The teacher said the meeting in question was convened in November 2009 by then Chief Education Officer Wendy Griffith-Watson and the principal, as were representatives of the BSTU, invited.

“My understanding was that the then Chief Education Officer Mrs Wendy Griffith-Watson had called a meeting for the union and Mr Broomes and before I left I said ‘Sir I will see you at the meeting’. He said to me he is not going to any … meeting, that Wendy Griffith-Watson was his friend but he was not going to any meeting.”

Lett alleged Broomes said the then Chief Education Officer was “scared of the union”, but he was not. “He did not appear. Mrs Griffith-Watson then said words to the effect that ‘Miss Redman I have done all I could, do you do what you could do.”

The witness also said the principal, with whom he got along well, appeared to be upset that he did not distance himself from long-standing female staff at Alexandra. “He said that he concluded that I seemed to be jumping on the bandwagon of these blasted women who could not accept that the son of the fisherman was a principal and that I should keep away from these middle class bourgeoisie women who could not accept that the son of a fisherman was a principal.”

Lett also told the commission Broomes told him he, unlike the principal, had been “brought up soft” and therefore was unaware of certain things. (SC)

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