Submitted by Yardbroom
In arriving at a just determination, when a plethora of evidence must be examined by a properly constituted tribunal, it is often best to decide first on what can be agreed on. In the Alexandra issue it is agreed – or appears – that the problems there started before the term of this DLP Government. However, when elected to government problems should be solved which you inherited, that is the nature of being elected to govern. So the problems despite their history must be solved by this administration.
In the first instance Prime Minister Freundel Stuart stood back and was criticised for so doing. With a cabinet consisting of Ministers with portfolios in charge of respective departments, they are expected to discharge their responsibilities. A Prime Minister should not be seen as a dictator, he must allow his ministers an opportunity to make decisions. When the problem of Alexandra appeared intractable the Prime Minister agreed to meet with BSTU and if the speech made by them after the meeting is to be believed, they were listened to. In politics being cordially welcomed and politely listened to does not always mean an agreement with your stated position.
The Prime Minister decided having listened to the complex issues involved, to go the route of a Commission Of Inquiry. Here (On BU) there was “some” disagreement with this course of action. However, this decision gave the electorate to whom the Government is ultimately responsible an opportunity to learn first hand of the issues involved and form an impression – on the plausibility of evidence – of the major players giving evidence before the Commission.
Why is Alexandra important?
(a) Most of us have children and like the majority of the Barbados population have been to school.
(b) We have at some time therefore interacted with Heads and teachers.
(c) We want our children to have a rounded education, in an environment that is conducive to learning.
We have an issue which is complex but to which the electorate can “relate.” It matters not if you support BSTU or Mr. Broomes, the situation at Alexandra could not continue as it was. It is a teaching establishment, where it is “alleged” the teachers could not co-exist in peace and harmony,when discharging their duties; one has to question what were the core values being taught. It was finally decided that a cancerous root had taken hold and in order to make a fresh start, drastic action was needed.
The transfers were many but so were the problems. Can any “reasonable person ” believe that after a meeting with the Prime Minister of Barbados, the findings of a Commission of Inquiry and an order signed on behalf of the Governor General of Barbados we could go back to the “status quo” as if nothing has happened.
There is talk of the transfers being “punitive”, are we expected to believe that after the evidence at the COI the blame lies only with Mr. Broomes and only he should be separated/transferred from Alexandra, would that be justice? If you accept there is fault on both sides, then both sides should be admonished. Even if “mitigation” is warranted it does not extend to the point where the impression is that one side has escaped unscathed.
The teachers at Alexandra like “most” teachers in Barbados have the interest of their students at heart and in the main are honest decent people and try with due diligence to do what is best for them. How then have we arrived at this impasse? It is because they have become entangled in a situation where like snowflakes, they are snared in a snowball rolling downhill at speed, around which is tightly tied a red scarf flailing frantically in an icy wind.
There is also a feeling they must show solidarity with colleagues, some of whom they have known for many years. If you are not part of an inclusive group; a staff room can be a “lonely place” particularly for those who transgress unwritten rules. Often some staff members only go there to collect mail or read notices and dread passing through the school gates in the morning and that is not because the task of teaching causes fear. That is the human aspect of this situation, to them much sympathy is extended.
Alexandra (Greek) feminine form of Alexander a name sometimes given to the Goddess Hera is usually taken to mean: “One who comes to save warriors”. It would be ironic would it not, if the astute leadership skills demonstrated by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart – you may disagree- has caused she – Alexandra – to come to the aid of a true warrior and so define the outcome of the next Barbados General election.