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Silence deafening

Where is the urgency?

We feel compelled to ask that question as the country awaits word on the findings and recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry into the Alexandra School.

More than a month has passed since the tribunal ended its public hearings and heard final submissions from the lawyers representing the various interested parties, including embattled Principal Jeff Broomes, teachers, the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union and the school’s board of management.

More importantly, it has now been two weeks since sole Commissioner Frederick Waterman officially presented the highly anticipated commission report to Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave. This was after the head of state allowed an extension from the original August 31 deadline.

It was understood that a second “official” copy of the report would have been submitted to the office of the Prime Minister, so again we ask: where is the urgency?

Least we be accused of asking Prime Minister Freundel Stuart or Government in general to give us a “running commentary” on the various “phases” the Alexandra enquiry report has to navigate before it reaches the public domain, it is best that we use the Barbadian leader’s own words.

On April 19 when he announced the establishment of the commission to investigate Alexandra’s administration and management, this is what he said when asked about the speed with which he wanted the enquiry convened and completed: “This is the third term and then a very long summer holiday succeeds. I would want to be assured, and that’s the point which will be made, that the commission starts its work and finishes its work short and sharp, intense, in such a way that when the new school year resumes there are on a different trajectory altogether and that people can get on with their lives unmolested by any of these irritants that are occurring at this time.”

We humbly submit that based on some of what has been taking place at, and in relation to, Alexandra since the start of the 2012/2013 school year last month, it is highly questionable whether this “different trajectory” has been achieved.

At least two members of staff have publicly threatened legal action after being both sent on leave in separate matters.

And then even before school started there was the controversial letter the BSTU sent to Chief Education Officer in which it called for Broomes to be sent on leave, and requested a series of answers on a special committee the CEO had said would oversee Alexandra’s management.

With the Michaelmas term set to enter its fifth week on Monday the principal, teachers and other staff, unions, parents, old scholars, but especially students, all deserve to hear what, if any, changes will be coming to high regarded school in the north.

Right now Government’s silence on the matter is deafening.

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