Final bow

Don’t expect Jeff Broomes to enter politics

Outgoing Principal Jeff Broomes has absolutely no interest in elective politics; not as a candidate and certainly not as a surrogate.

At a farewell function held in his honour at the Parkinson Memorial School today, the educator of 40 years, who was hailed for his significant contribution to the school system, made it clear that he would continue to support the political party and politicians of his choice, but said he had no desire whatsoever to become one of them, even though some were his friends and commanded his respect.

Outgoing Principal Jeff Broomes (centre) greets some of his students as his wife Margaret looks on.
Outgoing Principal Jeff Broomes (centre) greets some of his students as his wife Margaret looks on.

“I have been asked on many occasions about my future plans. I now openly say that I stand excitingly, willing and talentedly able to serve my country in any capacity in which I requested,” he, however, assured.

After four decades in the teaching profession, during which he said “he fought the good fight and was never blotted by any clouding darkness”, Broomes officially retires on May 1, 2016.

Today, he arrived at school in a limousine, accompanied by his wife Margaret and other immediate relatives, and was treated to a fond farewell by students, teachers and other well wishers.

Among the special invitees were Reverend Curtis Goodridge, attorney-at-law Vernon Smith, entertainer Carl “Alf” Padmore, and his “father in education” former principal Daryll Jordan.

Several educators, representing the five secondary schools at which he taught and provided leadership over the years, were also in attendance.

In paying glowing tribute to Broomes, Padmore declared that in June 2016, a formal application would be submitted to the Cabinet of Barbados recommending that the educator, who has built a lasting legacy, be included among the list of Independence honourees to be given a Barbados Service Star.

Captain Naomi Williams, who delivered remarks on behalf of the Alexandra School, spoke of Broomes’ pioneering programmes that allowed students to reach academic and sporting excellence.

“There is no way that any of us in attendance can quantify your magnanimous impact on the Alexandra School. It is one thing to be a stabilizing force when things are going well, but we all know that smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

“You Mr Broomes have certainly proved your skill set within the education waters of the Alexandra School. You will be missed but your legacy will live on in the hearts of many,” Captain Williams said of the educator, whose tenure at the St Peter School was scarred by a bitter impasse with his teachers that led to the ordering of a State-sponsored Commission of Inquiry and his eventual separation from the St Peter school.

Today, Broomes also recalled his Alexandra years among those that “brought the glare of public exposure and differences of professional focus squarely on him.

Outgoing principal Jeff Broomes holding up the  portrait of himself which he presented to Parkinson Memorial.
Outgoing principal Jeff Broomes holding up the portrait of himself which he presented to Parkinson Memorial.

“And boy did it make my eyes blink!” he said, as he reflected on his experiences there.

However, he said: “I am pleased that I kept my integrity intact, my focus un-blinkered and my conscience as clear as the most highly filtered water. I used my intellect, my experience and my sense of decency to fulfill the commitment I made on the first day that I entered the teaching profession,” he said.

The principal thanked his wife Margaret whom he met in the staff room at St Lucy Secondary (now Daryll Jordan Secondary), for walking with him through the entire journey, climbing the mountain in the good times and scraping the bottom of the ocean in the times of challenge, but never flinching or unduly questioning him.

“I remember the commission evenings when you just spoke simple words, saying that you knew the truth and that no matter what truth will win out.

“You asked me to relax and do not be pulled away from my values and principles. You were there every step of the way and I will never forget the strength you gave during those particular days,” he remarked.

The only regret he expressed today was that his deceased mother, who had channelled his interest in joining the profession back in 1975, was not here to share the special moment with him.

However, he said his daughter Lia had assured him that her grandmother would have indeed been proud of his career, which started at St Lucy Secondary, and also took him to St James Secondary and The St Michael School before he ended up at Parkinson three years ago.

But today Broomes was determined to forget the hiccups, as he described the staff at Parkinson as “terrific”, saying  he would always be indebted to them.

“These students have also given me the privilege of laying claim to more children than I thought possible. Rachan, Curtisha, Dadre-Ann, Kida and the many others will stay with me forever,” the outgoing principal said.

As he reflected on his career, Broomes said he has had the distinct honour and pleasure of being fashioned and contextualized by some wonderful people at five different school. He said in each case, his focus was the same – as a teacher he sought answers and improvement through questioning and volunteering in diverse areas.

“We are the ones to assist, we are the ones to guide and we are the ones to develop. Yes I have punished many students, but I never allowed that to describe what discipline was to me.

“It was not my brandishing the big stick or the lashing whip but the establishment of standards, the enthusiastic response to students’ needs and the clear manifestation of love and care. That was my formula, and I am thankful to the thousands that defined the success or failure of my mission and my work,” Broomes said.

His immediate plans are to visit his beloved grand daughter Sufi in the United States.

10 Responses to Final bow

  1. Lawrence Griffith
    Lawrence Griffith April 30, 2016 at 3:12 am

    Yes I have agreed with all here so far and pressed like can’t add much more than a man of my always..

  2. Bab Clarke
    Bab Clarke April 30, 2016 at 4:08 am

    May God continue to Bless and keep you during your retirement. A wonderful Job done. As the song say. ” I did it my way “. You Will be miss by ALL.

  3. Sonia Romain
    Sonia Romain April 30, 2016 at 4:48 am

    May you have a wonderful and enjoyable retirement Mr. Broomes. May God continue to blessed, protect, comfort and guide you and your family…..

  4. Sam Pillie April 30, 2016 at 7:30 am

    A true “TOP-DOG” in education here in Barbados respected by several parents, students, colleagues and the various education ministers over the years. May your retirement years be as enjoyable as your teaching years. May God richly bless you and give you a long life.

  5. PattyCake April 30, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Mr. Broomes thanks for your sterling contribution to education in Barbados. You have touched the lives of many have indeed made your mark ; I am sure that you have done so selflessly. May God continue to bless you so that your retirement would be a healthy and exciting one!

  6. Carson C Cadogan April 30, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Now that Jeff Broomes is gone, who will be Mary Redman and Pedro Shepherd’s new whipping boy?

  7. Tcm April 30, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Job well done to my fromer English Literature Teacher and what a joy to hear of my Former headmaster in attendee,Mr Jordan two great educators in Barbados may God be with you. Forever grateful to you both

  8. janetter reifer April 30, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Mr. Broomes go out with your head erect. You have served this country well. You have given so much of your time to prepared and educated so many of our islands children for the 11 plus examination.
    That ugly women Ms. Redman treated you with scant respect, and tried in every way to dragged you down. Well she would have to find another fish to fry dry, and don’t doubt because she is very evil and likes a lot of drama.
    You are so right not to run as a political candidate. Serve your God and grow gray gracefully. Not gray of stress. Don’t follow multitude to do evil because a lot of politician apart from money want power to make people lives miserable like theirs.

    I pray that you have a healthy retirement.

  9. Loretta Griffith April 30, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    I felt extremely proud to hear Jeff Broomes say through it all his integrity remained in tact.
    As someone whose blood runs through my vein from the dominant Bromes’ clan it was definitely a proud moment for me. He has been thrown up yet landed on his feet.
    I say to persons there are two things I value, my self-worth and my integrity.

  10. Sherlock Holmes. May 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Jeff Broomes can do no wrong for me period,just love him,to me he was what teaching is all about,and his love for his charges was a great example,too bad we don’t seem to have that love for the children at this stage.


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