Alexandra School Impasse: A Massive Failure Of Public Service Administration

By Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

The impasse featuring the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) and the Principal of Alexandra School, Mr. Jeff Broomes can only be characterized as a comedy of errors or rather a tragedy of incompetence on the part of the Ministry of Education and the Personnel Administration Division. Before I proceed, let me state that I am firmly behind the BSTU. Nonetheless, I will endeavour to be fair to all sides.

The BSTU is one of the oldest trade unions in Barbados, with a proud history of achievements on behalf of its members. In the recent past, it has been overshadowed by the younger and more partisan political Barbados Union of Teachers whose main achievements, in its relatively short history, seems to be positioning its executive officers for higher office in the Ministry of Education and now in Government. But for its constant wrangling with Jeff Broomes, the BSTU goes about its business, almost unnoticed by the public, in a calm and dignified manner.

On the other hand, Mr. Broomes, who has been able to mount a façade of caring for the children in his charge, continues to provoke controversy whenever he is out of the limelight for any extended period. He usually catapults himself to national notice by making statements that are calculated to be controversial, and then he invites reaction by saying things like, “Bring it on!” Rather than keep quiet in order to avoid an escalation of the current episode, he allowed himself to be quoted in the Nation saying that he would do it again. He is aware of what transpired when he made the offending statement the first time. Why would he do it again if not to enflame passions and call attention to himself? However, while he is basking in all the attention that he is receiving, the children that he loves and cares so much about that should be his focus are going without instruction at this crucial juncture.

Despite my criticism of Jeff Broomes, he is not totally at fault. The saga starring Uncle Jeff has been allowed to fester for far too long while the agencies of Government that are responsible discipline sat on their hands to the detriment of the students, and also to the detriment of the teachers’ health. If the Ministry of Education and the Personnel Administration had administered a little medicine in the early stages of this problem, there would be no reason to require radical surgery to remove this gangrenous limb of the education system.

Now that the long suffering teachers have declared that they are no longer prepared to endure Broomes’ brand of management and the ministry’s lethargy, they are being abused due in part to the fact that the media refuse to fairly put their side. Teachers at Alexandra have every right to protect themselves since no one else seems to be doing it. Even the police appeared to side with Broomes and prevented the union from marching by exercising power that they do not have. Union marches, funerals and marches by the Barbados Regiment are exempted from the provisions of the Public Order Act. Put simply, the Police have no authority to prevent a union march. Teachers have opted to withdraw their labour as is their right under the provisions of the Trade Union Act. Some overzealous commentators have even called for the dismissal of the striking teachers. Would they like it if they were dismissed for standing up for their rights? They should be aware that they are calling on the authorities to commit a criminal act. Section 40A of the Trade Union Act states:

40A. An employer who –

(a)     dismisses a workman or adversely affects the employment or alters the position of a workman to his prejudice because that workman –

(i)     is or proposes to become an officer, delegate or member of a trade union,
(ii)     being a member of a trade union which is seeking better labour conditions, is dissatisfied with his conditions.
(iii)     has absented himself from work without leave after he has made an application for leave for the purpose of carrying out his duties or exercising his rights as an officer or delegate of a trade union and such leave has unreasonably been refused or withheld, or
(iv)     takes part in trade union activities outside or, with the consent of the employer, within working hours: or

(b)     threatens to dismiss a workman or to adversely affect the employment or alter the position of a workman to his prejudice –

(i)     because that workman is or proposes to become an officer, delegate or member of a trade union or other combination which has applied to be registered as a trade union, or
(ii)     with intent to dissuade or prevent that workman from becoming an officer, delegate or member of a trade union.
is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

The normally docile teachers at Alexandra School have been extremely slow to anger but having reached that point. They are resolute in their stance and have determined, come what may, they are no longer working with Jeff Broomes. The lambs have roared.

The ball is now in the court of the Ministry of Education and the Personnel Administration Division. They have several options to bring closure to this mess, namely:

  1. They can transfer all the teachers involved and send a new set to Alexandra to be demoralized;
  2. They can transfer Broomes but since he is appointed as Principal of Alexandra, he would have to consent to any such transfer; or
  3. Broomes could be retired from the Teaching Service in accordance with the provisions of section 8(1) of the Pensions Act where an officer can be retired, “on becoming unfit in the opinion of the Governor-General, for the discharge of the duties of his office, though not suffering from any particular illness or infirmity likely to be permanent…”

No more excuses, no more political interference in the Teaching Service. The children at Alexandra School deserve much better, and the teachers need some much deserved relief so that they can once again concentrate on teaching.

340 thoughts on “Alexandra School Impasse: A Massive Failure Of Public Service Administration

  1. SCOUT- take that you, Broome(Labour Traitors ,Denis Clarke and Walter maloney )

    QUESTION : what is common in the Broome ,Clarke,Maloney situation ? They all like to work late at nights -ask the Watchmen ,drunkers ,tell more lies and breach all RULES , Denis/ Walter tell us about the CPO , who walkes with who , who friend she is and who relates all union decisions to her –may be we will get more information about the supercession with the Health Inspectors or should we wait on the out come of the court case which you Denis and walter were trying to prevent —by the way which empoyee of the government Information Service has an Office/Studio at the NUPW pays no rent to nupw but does his private work there –ask IAN inniss -ALL traitors to the labour movement .

  2. @A teacher AND AX parent who knows

    You just executed a hachet job on Jeff Broomes. A blog is a great vehicle for character assassination and you have used it while hiding behind a wall of anonymity.

    BU bloggers are waiting for evidence which we hope will made public by the PM or MOE.

  3. AXTeacher @ scout

    Girl you ent ez fa trute…..that one ya fire (above) @ Scout ..REAL LONG and got meat

    Finally the mosquito >>>>>get dissect

    Scout we waiting to hear from you dawg…

  4. observing your comment suggests that you are not even aware of your history. at least those charged with certain responsibilities seem to understand the gravity of the situation for all concerned and the merit in my earlier comment that it should now be settled at prime ministerial level because the horse has long gotten out of the stable. on another note, i read in barbados today that the nupw has been invited to a meeting at the ministry. according to mr franklyn mr carke and mr maloney seem tobe representing mr broomes in a personal capacity without the knowledge of council. which faction of the nupw would be attending the meeting with the ministry and who would be representing whom? seem we are injecting another comedy of errors into an already volatile situation.

  5. IF I did Broomzie….I wud be asking the tellers at the Banks for nuff plastic money bags..cuz I know……SOON.


  6. @Keith

    Now yuh understand why i made SCOUT D BLINDMAN

    Minister Jones has FAILED to reach an agreement with the BSTU and now it looks like this problem might end at at the doorstep of The PM. judging from the PM response to voiltile issues of such a nature one can only hope with baited breath that the PM would take a stand and as he has done on previous occasion not openly protect his friends against the RIGHTS of The People. This issue indeed is going to be hard for those in high places to reolved as this is apparently clear that the fusion of goodfriendship and the Rights of ordinary citizens have collided. Now the job for the BSTU is to remain ever so strident as this may be the only way out for the MOE to get out of the debacle it finds itself in with a sense of decency and a way forward.

  7. @ac

    We dun kno how Scout ….PUT in hay to ROLL….is just the newcomers

    and they also could SEE…..

    Scout one money bag or two ?

  8. On another Note some what relevant to vagina’s. If the question poised to David by BAF in reference to Bonny is True. I cannot help but reflect and LOL on the many BU men who could wait to wait to get a piece of the action. Wuhloss Truth is stranger than fiction. At this POINT i will paused for a moment of silence

  9. The facts have been laid out in hundreds (I actually mean hundreds) of letters of complaint to the MOE and Civil Service re Broomes’ behaviour over the years. Some were sent by lawyers, ALL unions, including the NUPW and even members of the clergy asking for Broomes to stop harassing teachers, parents, pupils, other staff, people that live near to the school. Not only are the teachers runnning away from him, or the dog, but the monkeys that used to lime on the paling above the school’s car park have disappeared too. The man is toxic.

    By the way, I hope Dennis Clarke and Mamoney can list how many persons have left the NUPW from AX and other schools since these sick leave men came out to bat for a fellow rummy (16 and counting).

  10. Barbados society is made up of incestuous relationships. From time to time there will be family feuds. This time it has enveloped the whole country and will have a serious backlash on the youth, the economy, the political parties and the image this sends to the rest of the world.

    We have become an undisciplined nation where anything and everything goes. Simple regulations are ignored daily, look around us and see the telling examples of a society that is slowly imploding. Our lack of will to solve pressing issues because of those incestuous relationships is very evident.

    The momentum on the slide downward has increased. The leaders have thrown their hand in the air while the citizens verbally fight each other.

  11. Most what AX said if true could not have occurred if MR> Broomes didn’t have his tentacles wrapped around the people WE VOTED for past and present administration knowing that any complaints lodged against HIM would fall on deaf ears. This quadmire which the country finds itself in should be an eyeopener and also and opening for the citizens to finally break the BONDS of Friendship and government which lives within the belly of the BEAST. BSTU is on the right track and must not be derailed by the politics of insensitivity and continous corruption. The TIME is now.

  12. @Bromsey

    D public opinion in hay this morning SWINGING…. against you FAST

    Go and wake up Scoutie and Random quik!

  13. Keith Howard | January 14, 2012 at 10:34 PM |

    What is all dis WATLESS NASTY talk Isld gal and Random

    bringiing in hay doa…..

    Keith you are funny yuh mekking muh laff BUT what is so NASTY bout tough vaginas? Eff yuh din come tru one yuh musee come tru de back door?

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