'Yes people' at Alexandra

Alexandra School Principal Jeff Broomes has nurtured a “clique of yes people” around him, including some “vulnerable” members of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union.

That’s what BSTU President Mary Redman told the Commission of Enquiry now investigating the school’s administration and management, saying this was an example of the unsatisfactory status quo characterising the St. Peter institution.

The trade unionist began her testimony when the tribunal continued at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex today, replacing BSTU consultant Patrick Frost in the witness chair.

Speaking as her evidence was led by the commission’s senior counsel Milton Pierce, Redman said the BSTU did not have the full support of its members at Alexandra when about 30 teachers there went on strike in January this year.

She believed these “one or two” teachers, who were temporary members of staff, hesitated because of this status, something which also related to their “yes people” status.

The majority in this category, she told the commission, were people who might have received “special” treatment.

“These are teachers who would have been … recipients of special dispensations, they might have been hired not possessing adequate or appropriate qualifications for the jobs for which they were hired, they might have been hired by the principal not following the correct selection procedures,” the witness asserted.

“Many of them too might be qualified and might have been hired legitimately but they are temporary teachers and so they feel vulnerable, they are not appointed, they are intimidated and so there is a sort of tenuous loyalty that they exhibit to him [Broomes].”

“We do have one or two members, for example, that did not come out when we had our strike action. It [yes people] would include those one or two members … who (didn’t budge) no matter what steps we took towards trying to make them feel secure enough to be more than yes people, to take a stand to identify with the union and let the union fully represent them and work for them.

“The world is made up of all different types of persons and there will always be people who will not be brave enough, who will not be strong enough and we do have one or two who fall into that category of yes people because they feel vulnerable,” she added. (SC)

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