Major cover-up


President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd has issued a damning indictment of the authorities over what he saw as glaring discrepancies in the handling of recent incidents of alleged criminal behaviour by students at two secondary schools, suggesting it was the epitome of “two Barbadoses” with the so-called elite schools still receiving preferential treatment.

In one incident last week, a 15-year-old Parkinson Memorial School student smashed the window of a teacher’s car with a rock, and was subsequently remanded to the Government Industrial School.

Earlier this week police were also called in at Combermere School after a 14-year-old boy was found with a gun magazine – the part of the gun which stores the bullets.

The student had first claimed he had found the item while he was on his way to school before later changing his story, Principal Vere Parris was quoted as saying.

However, no charges have yet been laid and Parris has come out publicly in defence of the young man.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Shepherd said the disparity in terms of the treatment by the authorities of the two worrying incidents sent a clear message that while all schools may be created equal, some were still more equal than others.

Vere Parris & Pedro Shepherd

However, he acknowledged that “the difference between the two is that there was damage to a teacher’s vehicle at Parkinson while at Combermere, it is something that was found on the person.

“So it would really be up to the police then to make the charges in relation to whether or not the findings would amount to a criminal act,” he pointed out, adding that “we know in Barbados that if you are found with a bullet you are charged; if you are found selling flour on the beach as if it is cocaine, you are charged. So, it is going to be really interesting to see what happens in this particular case”.

The BUT president also questioned the attempt to initially conceal the identity of the school attended by the boy with the magazine.

The police statement on the issue did not name the Waterford, St Michael institution, stating only that the incident had occurred at “an urban school”.

“I realize that when the news first broke there was some reluctance to name the school, but finally we would have heard that it was at Combermere. The principal would have later made a statement regarding the incident. Now, if I liken that to the situation at most of our newer secondary schools where we had Parkinson last week and everyone involved was clearly identified, one may conclude that there is still this elitist situation in our schools in Barbados,” Shepherd contended.

The trade unionist also made reference to longstanding environmental issues at Combermere, which have been linked to recurring illness in staff and students but largely downplayed by the school’s administration, as evidence of a possible culture of cover-up.

“We would also note the comments that were consistent coming from that institution [Combermere School], in terms of not wanting to give any indication that anything is happening at that particular institution. I can’t say what the reason is. I know that the school is classified as one of the top schools, so that may be the reason they are reluctant to release that type of information, being the ‘University of Waterford’ and all,” the educator said

13 Responses to Major cover-up

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall May 13, 2017 at 2:10 am

    Too many Barbadoess. If a person was found with a bullet shell a charge. That child need help . The principal a let down.

  2. carl May 13, 2017 at 6:23 am

    On the ball Mr. Shepherd.

  3. ch May 13, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Mr. Shepherd, you have spoken the TRUTH. And nothing but the TRUTH.
    People in Barbados are fooled by outdated notions of ” top schools”.
    Because we are a culture of liars to ourselves and we don’t demand accountability and excellence.
    A school is only as good as its principal and there must be objective, quantifiable and transparent criteria for appointing principals and reviewing their performance.

  4. hcalndre May 13, 2017 at 9:37 am

    The only changes are the actors, the plays remain the same and as long as there is a Barbados the actors will be a carbon copy of their predecessors.

  5. Sue Donym May 13, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Should we be making up charges to satisfy those who want to see the older schools dragged? Statements attributed to the police suggest that there is no charge that would fit the facts – possession of an empty magazine. Is it really better to assume ulterior motives and to seek to criminalise every action to ‘prove’ that no school is better than another? What’s so sinister about accepting that a case could have an acceptable outcome without a prolonged ride on the merry-go-round that is our court system?
    Not juicy enough?

  6. The Negrocrat May 13, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Is the possession of the magazine a crime?
    From what I understood from the act, no crime was committed.

  7. Milli Watt May 13, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    he want locking up……..i goin wait and see how this pan out but I agree with the trade union boss….stupse

  8. Sea shells May 13, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Vere and he university going down hill

  9. Kevin May 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Two totally different cases. Gun shell vs taking a rock and damaging a teachers car. Teenagers can be very adventurous and do silly stuff. I’m sure both of them are getting the help they require. Please dont just put the guy locked up in GIS and think that is the ‘help’. I hope he gets counselling.

  10. fedup May 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Cawmere is now a failure. A total let down. Parris’ Pissz Poor Principalship

  11. Ernesta Catlyn May 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Even if the rolls were reversed, the student from Combermere, depending on who his parents are, would not go to GIS. Not two Barbados – I count three

  12. Sherlock Holmes. May 13, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    well well.

  13. Omar May 14, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Dont know y everyone wants to see this schoolboy charged so badly charge his damn parents for not securing the magazine properly and get him conselling the boy the distroyed the taechers car also make him get conselling and also get him work to pay of for the vehicle damages gis not the answer and saying this school or that school aint either


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