“There is of course an obvious political element attached to the AX matter. But what of the other elements? Maybe the erroneous view was held that PHASE 2 would be the removal of Broomes by whatever means . Did you ever consider that the next phase was to get the PSC [Public Service Commission] activated to perform its constitutional function? There is now a new PSC in place. You however keep referring to the political element involved in these matters; let me suggest to you that there is ALSO A MORAL ELEMENT involved. Any good leader must see to it that, among other things, every effort is made to pass on VALUES to the society. Good leadership must not only be concerned with doing what at the time is EXPEDIENT; it must also be concerned with doing WHAT IS JUST. This would necessarily take me into a discussion on JUSTICE to which i shall return at some future convenient time …”
Rising concern about Alexandra comes against the background that Principal Jeff Broomes has excluded the 30 striking teachers from a “eight-day Easter Academy”, presumably to bring children affected by the strike up to speed. By his [Broomes] action he has buffed the teachers proposed plan to organize Easter classes. Clearly Principal Broomes by his actions is going against the spirit of compromise.
Of interest is the report that teachers selected by Broomes to participate in the ‘eight-day Academy’ are to be paid $30.00. Who will pay the teachers? It is no secret teachers are compensated for several weeks for vacation by virtue of being teachers. Why aren’t those teachers who participated in strike action at the beginning of Term II not part of the Academy? Didn’t they promise to make back up the teaching time which was lost when they were striking? Wouldn’t the Easter break provide an opportunity to make back up this time?
Given that it was reported that the striking teachers were still paid for the period of time they were on strike – is it asking too much that they put back in that time now over the Easter break WITHOUT ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION? Can the Board of management of the Alexandra School and by extension the taxpayers of Barbados afford to be paying “extra compensation” for teachers who will still receive their normal salary covering that period anyway? Both the taxpayers of Barbados and the affected students at Alexandra School are the weaker as a result of this sorry state of affairs. Who is at fault and to blame for this mess – the Minister of Education? the Alexandra Board of Management? the Prime Minister who gave his word that a phased resolution for the unrest at Alexandra was on the way in a phased approach?
Its quite clear that there is still some element of dissatisfaction and uneasiness as it relates to the solution to industrial unrest by the teachers at Alexandra School. Its also obvious that the Phase II factor has not taken root as yet. It is also interesting to note that Chief Education Officer Laurie King in response to the media recently when asked about the Phase II factor mentioned by Prime Minister Stuart, suggested that his ministry is working diligently to ensure the proper atmosphere is achieved at the school and further that his department was not aware of any Phase II approach.
Clearly the solution to the current Alexandra imbroglio was never about a slam dunk solution as many Barbadians have been conditioned to believe. Is this another case of the Prime Minister working quietly behind the scenes to deal with the matter? If we take the intervention of the blogger quoted above then the sensitivity of the matter would pre-empt public discourse at this time. The Prime Minister finds himself in another unenviable position where he may not be able to comment on a matter which has political import with a general election on the horizon.