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Nothing against chairman



Milton Pierce and Keith Simmons.

Principal of the Alexandra School Jeff Broomes is not accepting blame for the fractured relationship he has with chairman of the school’s board of management, Keith Simmons.

And the principal said things had worsened since Simmons’ testimony at the Commission of Enquiry into the school, claiming the chairman “went after” him in his evidence.

Broomes added, however, that he was not suggesting that he wanted Simmons to be sacked, or that he would not return to Alexandra with that official still in office. He was giving evidence at the tribunal when hearings continued today at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, where he also hoped that professionalism would determine the future relationship between himself and teachers at the school.

The witness reiterated he had decided not to attend board meetings because of a letter Simmons wrote to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

“Mr. Simmons has gone and written an adverse letter to the Prime Minister about me and I took the decision that I would not go until these things were resolved,” he testified. “If you have written something, you have taken a biased position, I am going to wait until it is resolved, I am not going to go and comprised myself, and I said it openly.”

Broomes also said he had nothing against Simmons personally, but was unhappy with aspects of his evidence.

“I got the impression that when Mr. Simmons gave evidence in here he mentioned at least eight or nine times that he is my friend … in October of 2011 the Combermere School honored Mr. Keith Simmons… I am the one that wrote that glowing citation for him,” he told the commission.

“I am not attacking the chairman… Far from attacking the chairman I am saying that the chairman really went after me in … here when he gave evidence.” The principal also denied that he had vowed not to ever again speak to some teachers at the school and that he had not lost hope of having necessary professional relations.

“If you are supporting a cause you are very strong about a cause. I respect anybody’s right to support a union in that situation. When that cause has been dealt with and the issue has been rectified a true professional gets on with the business of teaching the people’s children,” he said. (SC)

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