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Don't blame me

Principal Jeff Broomes.

The Barbados Secondary Teachers Union’ is “out to destroy me”. Principal of the Alexandra School, Jeff Broomes, said contrary to statements that his mission was the destruction of this union which represents the majority of his teaching staff, the opposite was actually true.

He was testifying for fourth straight day at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra, where he was examined by BSTU counsel Hal Gollop.

Gollop told the principal there was a perception that he as principal had declared war on the union.

Gollop: “The point I am making to you (is) the perception is that you have sworn to destroy the BSTU.” Broomes: “That is an untrue statement.”

Gollop: “I am telling you that is the perception Mr. Broomes and you in your conduct of the business of Alexandra have not done anything to disabuse the minds of the persons who have that perception.”

Broomes: “I think the BSTU has been out to destroy me and I said that openly.” The witness said he did not see “a war” at Alexandra, and that the school, not himself, was not the central focus of the enquiry.

“…I think this commission is trying to make sure that the school and the country are the winners, … and Jeff Broomes is minor in this thing, you know,” he said. When questioned by Gollop about his making

a statement that he intended to destroy the BSTU, Broomes said he made no such assertion and as a result could not be blamed for starting a war.

Gollop: “Mr. Broomes I have been trying to get you to understand that from the day you made that statement you had turned the Alexandra School into a war zone.” Broomes: “No, from the day I went to school and saw people calling me all of

those dirty things in front of the children. I was devastated, … 2006 … I was the one attacked.

“I have done so much, as far as I am aware, and I honestly believe I have done so much to reach out.

“I don’t stress about those things, you know, I just do not and if you will see in the inspection report the chairman is complaining that I said I don’t stress because I don’t. I know my health and … it is not going to stress me out. I deal with an issue and then that’s it for me,” he added.

The principal said he was also disappointed that after taking some individuals into his confidence, that confidence had subsequently been betrayed, including in evidence at the enquiry.

“You sit in an office with a colleague and you have open frank conversations, talk all kinds of things, and then you come to a point where you see it … is misrepresented,” he stated.

“Private conversations between myself and one other person have been spouted out here in a completely different way and sometimes in any untruthful way. “When I saw what was happening, I said ‘to this point?’. My wife can tell you that I went home and I said to her ‘to this point?’.” (SC)

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