No room for Broomes
Principal Jeff Broomes can be lawfully “separated” from the Alexandra School and the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union will settle for nothing less than that.
The union’s President Mary Redman did not budge from that position today, and said as far as her union was concerned the method did not matter so long as Broomes was gone.
She called Broomes a dictator, and that some of his staff at the St. Peter school considered him “a despot”.
“The Government of Barbados has a responsibility to the teachers at the Alexandra School to provide a safe and comfortable work environment for them, that cannot exist with Mr. Broomes as principal of that school.
“Mr. Broomes is a dictator. There are some persons who would tell you who work with him … that he is a despot… To many of those people who work there on a daily basses there is nothing at all remotely fun about their experience in that work environment,” she said.
Redman told the Alexandra Commission of Enquiry the BSTU tried last December to achieve the separation but had failed to do so via the chief personnel officer, who Redman said was “the conduit” to the Public Service Commission and could have made “the recommendation to get Mr. Broomes separated”.
“The fact is that he (Broomes) can be separated and there are avenues that can be pursued to effect this separation and the union is adamant that he should be separated,” she insisted.
“People cannot continue to work in that environment, in an environment of abuse… It (separation) could be effected through a recommendation from the Public Service Commission to the Governor General.” Redman said the BSTU never asked, nor was asking now, for Broomes to be “removed from the public service”, and believed it would be “poetic justice” if he was shifted to a position at the Ministry of Education.
“We just did not want his presence at the Alexandra School and we gave a number of options, including promotion. They could have taken him within the walls of the Ministry of Education and given him a position there that would have been poetic justice, and whatever they chose to do with him that was between them and him. The separation we wanted was his non presence, his absence from the Alexandra School,” she told the commission.
The witness also said that despite the principal’s August 2002 letter of appointment specifying he was “principal, Alexandra School”, he was not unremovable. “When all teachers became public officers letters like that could no longer apply because the rules that govern the public service must now apply to all persons who call themselves public officers; they are now appointed to the public service and assigned to a school,” she said.
“We are saying that given what has happened with the making of persons, who would have been before employed under governing bodies, with the change in the Education Act in 1982/83 that made all of those persons public servants, … all of those people now became public officers and therefore they have to be governed by the rules that govern all public officers in the country.
“I think that that is something that may have to be tried in the law courts, but certainly I do not understand that a group of people would consider themselves part and parcel of a group of persons when it suits them.
“The point I am making is that you cannot apply an act when it suits you to some aspects of what the act provides and then ignore other aspects of the act. (SC)