Nearly two weeks have passed since the BSTU instituted action against the principal of the Alexandra School Jeff Broome. Up to late yesterday [14 Jan 2012] there appeared to be no resolution to the matter. A meeting held under the chairmanship of Minister of Education Ronald Jones only served to proved BU’s position, management systems in Barbados have become seriously compromised as a result of incestuous practices by stakeholders.
It is clear the BSTU Executive believes so strongly in their cause that they are prepared to disrupt the relatively calm industrial relations climate in Barbados even if the children have to be made to suffer in the process. Their position is further demonstrated by a deliberate move away from following ‘normal’ grievance procedure. Regrettably the matter is deliberately being waged in the court of public opinion. While there are advantages to enticing public support sometimes, it should be done based on the full facts of the matter being revealed. It is evident that the cause of the industrial action by the BSTU is as a result of grievances which have been poorly managed over the years and left to fester. The speech day incident appears to be the straw which broke the camel’s back.
If we are to believe the underground chatter there is more to the mortar than the pestle. If local media intends to give honest coverage to this matter the public deserves to be seized of relevant information. If this is not possible because of legal considerations then the honourable thing is to avoid inflammatory reports like those we have been reading in the NATION for the past week.
Two peripheral issues created by the Alexandra matter, the roles of the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) and the ailing General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) need to be given more public scrutiny.
The role of the CPO has not been given a lot of airplay except by Caswell on the blog Alexandra School Impasse: A Massive Failure Of Public Service Administration. Most public opinion has followed a predictable political discourse by calling for the head of the minister of education. We can agree however that the office of MOE should have been used to exert more pressure on the parties to clean up their act. We have already discussed how incestuous relationships affect how we do business as a country and here is a classic case.
The other matter is the role of Dennis Clarke, NUPW’s general secretary reported to be on leave until May because he is recovering from haemorrhagic fever. Although not unprecedented it is unusual the NUPW would seek to represent management [Broomes] in a matter against labour [teachers]. It is even more unusual that a senior principal in the union [Clarke] currently on sick leave would seek to undermine the person [Smith] appointed to act in the position. Again if BU chatter is correct the council of the NUPW has not met to approve the decision taken by Clarke. What is going on at the NUPW anyway? Is the membership not aware of how union business is being managed?
On the sidelines looking in what is a public ignorant and starved of the facts suppose to think or say? The time has come for Barbadians to wake up and fully appreciate how they are being ‘played’ by the many interest groups which run things in Barbados.