Send Jeff packing

by Roy R. Morris and Donna Sealy

The sole commissioner who investigated disquiet at the Alexandra School has recommended to Government that Principal Jeff Broomes be sent packing.

A very reliable source who read the report of retired High Court judge, Frederick Waterman told Barbados TODAY the commissioner suggested that under Section 5.5 of the General Orders that the principal should be sent on special leave immediately and that some other place be found for him in the civil service; or that he should be compulsorily retired.

News of the commissioner’s recommendations was obtained by Barbados TODAY this afternoon after it was learnt that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had planned a press conference for tomorrow afternoon after his weekly Cabinet meeting to deal specifically with the Alexandra affair.

However, the legal source said that while he did not expect the Prime Minister to do anything rash, since neither he nor the commissioner had any power to remove the veteran educator from his post at the Alexandra School, Broomes’ team of attorneys remained prepared to act swiftly through the law courts to ensure he is not disadvantaged.

The source said too that some persons who read the report, which it is believed is already in the hands of Broomes’ union, the National Union of Public Workers, which has fully backed him throughout the crisis, expressed shock that while the commissioner concluded that teacher Amaida Greaves had failed to follow a lawful instruction from the principal, she should only suffer an written reprimand, while authorities further investigate the matter.

According to the source, there was major concern about the report’s recommendation that a number of teachers who testified before the commission be reassigned to other schools, given that the recommendation apparently applied only to those who appeared to support the principal.

“The way how I read it, it seems that the commissioner concluded that the principal was responsible for younger teachers having differences with the more experienced teachers at Alexandra,” the source added.

Barbados TODAY has also learnt that the commissioner has recommended that Deputy Principal Beverley Neblett-Lashley, who also spoke of major differences she had with the principal, be reassigned to some other school at the level of deputy head, at some future date.

Meanwhile, the source explained that it was already clearly established that if authorities want to move Broomes from his post, the Public Service Commission must first charge him, serve him with the charges, set up a tribunal to hear the charges and gather its own evidence from the process.

He stressed that no evidence given before the Waterman commission could be used for any subsequent hearings, and since this is known to Government they did not expect anyone would attempt to move the principal in the interim.

Barbados TODAY has also learnt that the commission has recommended to Government that the law be changed so that a principal can never again publicly criticise a teacher.; donnasealy

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