Greaves not the one at fault

All smiles during break today.

Principal Jeff Broomes and the Ministry of Education should bear the majority of the blame for not resolving the issue of alleged non instruction by a teacher at the Alexandra School.

That’s the view of Barbados Secondary Teachers Union President Mary Redman, who said this was notwithstanding the information available to her, which showed the teacher in question, head of the school’s Science Department Amaida Greaves taught.

The union leader was speaking at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra today at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex. She was responding to the examination of the principal’s counsel Cecil McCarthy, QC.

“What you should be asking is why the Ministry (of Education) officials did not deal with such a serious report. Why did nobody at the ministry see it fit to call in the principal and have this matter addressed at that level because it is a serious indictment against him as principal and his management practices,” the witness said.

She added “if it were in fact true then he is at fault, he would have allowed a class to remain untaught as the instructional leader of the school for a whole term”.

Redman said Greaves discussed the matter with her “and said that she had been trying to discuss the matter with the principal and get him to understand the difficulties she had been having, the fact that what he was doing was disadvantaging the children, and that she had in fact spoken to the chairman about the matter”.

“She also indicated to me that she visited the chairman’s office and she had spoken to him there at the office, he had picked up the phone in her presence and called the chief education officer. It was reported to her that through the chairman that the chief education officer said that he would get in contact with her,” the BSTU official told the commission.

“She told me all of that and I said ‘Well fine, the chief is handling it’. When she got the letter she had already spoken to the chairman and the chairman had already called the chief so she expected that the matter was being handled at that level.

“She got the letter six days before examinations started at the school and in her capacity as head of the department she was busy dealing with examination papers, preparations and so on and with the understanding that the chief was handling the matter she did not respond to the letter,” she added.

“What I want to find out from you is when did Mrs. Greaves first told you that she taught,” McCarthy asked?

Redman: “I cannot tell you a date, definitely not, but it was during the term when she was in fact teaching because she … said, if I can remember her words correctly, the madness … that was going on in the department in terms of piecing together, the pulling together, the chopping and changing, the convolution of the time table to bring on persons and to retain persons who were not properly qualified to teach the programme in the department, persons who could not fulfill the needs at that point in time in the department.”

She said when Broomes spoke publicly on the issue last December 2 “the union’s first response to the principal’s public statements would have been that the statements were inaccurate and he did not have the right to make inaccurate statements like that in the sight and hearing of students of the school and of the wider public in the presence of the media”. (SC)

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