Special mediator needed to fix problems

The Alexandra School needs a special mediator empowered by Parliament to fix its problems.

Even as he testified at the Commission of Enquiry into the administration and management of the St. Peter School, where sole Commissioner Frederick Waterman was mandated to recommend solutions to a long running industrial dispute there, teacher Roger Broomes said he favoured action via special act emanating from the House of Assembly.

He favoured neither a separation from the school of his cousin Principal Jeff Broomes, nor the teaching staff, including those represented by the Barbados Secondary Teachers who have been calling for the principal to be “separated”.

“Like I had said earlier, there are wonderful teachers at the Alexandra School and I would very much love to see a situation occurring that all of the teachers at the Alexandra School, from the junior teachers to the most senior teachers, can co-exist in a very meaningful and productive environment. I don’t think that any of the teachers should be separated,” he told the commission during its hearing today at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

“I think that if the party or the mediator who is coming from outside if there is some special act of Parliament to ensure that that person … can carry out the duties which that special act would have given them responsibility to do … I think that that would help.”

He saw a situation where “each person from the most junior person to the most senior person is answerable to that person”. “…And not a person coming Monday and then Wednesday, but a person who is stationed on the plant throughout the day to ensure that all parties conform and do what they are suppose to do and be allowed to carry out their roles,” he recommended.

The witness, who began his tenure at Alexandra as a voluntary hockey coach in 2003 and became a temporary teacher in the Physical Education Department the following year, also said he was prepared to answer all allegations of impropriety against him at the level of the board, but that he preferred an independent arbiter. “If the board wanted to investigate any matter I had no (problem) with meeting with the board, I was never invited to a meeting with the board, I was never asked to attend a meeting of the board, I had no problem with it,” he answered in response to a question from Barbados Secondary Teachers Union counsel Hal Gollop.

“If the board believed that the information which they received, and if the board wanted to hear my side in relation to a report which they received, then I think that they were entitled to ask me to attend a meeting.” (SC)

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