Alexandra Solution or Confusion?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me – Pastor Martin Niemoeller

They have come for Jeff Broomes, and as a trade unionist, I must speak out before they come for me. From the outset, let me state that I am not defending Broomes because I think that he is guiltless. In Barbados, everyone, even Jeff Broomes, is innocent until he pleads guilty or guilt is established after a duly constituted body makes that determination after hearing the evidence, and giving the accused the right to be heard. I am therefore concerned that the Public Service Commission (PSC) has taken steps against him, under the guise of a transfer, before it follows the rules in order to establish his guilt or innocence.

The Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) has achieved its goal of separating the Principal from Alexandra School; but they have nothing to rejoice about when you consider the way it was done. I hope that the membership of the union is sensible enough to condemn the method that was adopted by the PSC. BSTU should vociferously disassociate itself from the denial of due process to Mr. Broomes. Even murderers who kill in front of witnesses are given the right to be heard before sentence is pronounced. In essence, he has fewer rights than a murderer.

The PSC is supposed to be an independent body charged with the responsibility of making appointments and exercising disciplinary control over members of the Public Service. Its power and procedures are set out in the Constitution, the Public Service Act and regulations. It does not have the right to act on the recommendations of any body that is not authorized by those pieces of legislation. It certainly cannot hold a straight face and expect to convince the country that it acted independently of the recommendations of the Waterman Commission into the affairs of the Alexandra School. Mr. Waterman clearly stated that these matters should be investigated by the PSC. I do not pretend to be all knowing, but I am not aware of any investigation by the PSC that would have authorized it to act against Broomes and inflict collateral damage on other innocent public officers.

The PSC could not be so naïve as to believe that by transferring Broomes and a number of others that it has resolved anything. Its actions have only served to give the Government the opportunity to call the elections in a period of industrial peace because the teachers would not be on strike. However, if the BSTU is worth its salt, it would move with all deliberate speed to be seen to protect the rights of its shop steward, Mrs. Gail Streat-Jules. She was acting on behalf of the union and has been adversely affected in her employment as a consequence. At the very least, BSTU should report the PSC to the Police for breaching section 40A of the Trade Union Act. If the Police fails to act, the union should institute a private prosecution against the PSC. The immunities granted to service commissions by section 106 of the Constitution does not appear to extend to conduct that might appear to be criminal. And section 40A makes it an offence, punishable by a fine or imprisonment or both, for an employer to dismiss or adversely affect an employee for taking part in trade union activity.

That might only be the beginning of the legal troubles for the PSC. Remember it has acted against Jeff Broomes without giving him an opportunity to be heard. It would be completely out of character for him to meekly accept punishment by whatever name called for peace sake. He is now the victim, but this matter is bigger than him. Every right thinking person in this country should find the behaviour of the PSC to be offensive: it should not be seen to be trying to circumvent the rules. Luckily, Broomes has options, and he finds himself uniquely placed not only to defend his rights, but to establish standards and procedures which will serve as precedence to guide future service commissions.

I now find myself in the uncomfortable position of advising Jeff Broomes: I consider him to be the villain in the Alexandra matter, but even villains have rights that must be protected. My advice to him would be to institute proceedings in the High Court for a judicial review of the actions of the PSC. He has more than enough grounds for seeking relief, but I will only quote a few from the Administrative Justice Act, namely: breach of the principles of natural justice; acting on instructions from an unauthorized person; and failure to satisfy or observe conditions or procedures required by law.

The BSTU should not be happy to have achieved its goal of separating the Principal from the school at this cost. I cannot be so shortsighted to believe that removing Jeff Broomes by any means necessary is okay. What will be their position when something similar happens to one of their members that they consider to be innocent?

Finally, my advice to the Public Service Commission is simple, resign before you do further damage to the institution called the Public Service.

0 thoughts on “Alexandra Solution or Confusion?

  1. (BAPPS), principals of secondary schools where are you all? you all are very quiet. It is nice to see BUT teachers being drawn into the whole saga. Karn Best did not support Mary Redman in her fight with Broomes because she was working her way into the MOE. Hoping Owen will promote her to Graeme Hall OR to the Archives as was done to Ralph Boyce.

  2. @ Can’t wait
    You couldn’t have said it better.

    Watch and see the newly appointed BUT president – Herbert Gittens will stay silent and then be given the post of a Principal. It is all of this collusion that has finally melted down to this sordid mess.

  3. Has anyone realised that the time period to announce and have an election is 21 days? This is January 1, Add 21 days, we go to January 22. Last election was held on January 15, 2008 First sitting of parliament was February 12, 2008. With this Alexandra matter (heating up yet again), PM may be forced to invoke Special Circumstances for War and call election in May. LOL

  4. Can’t wait
    Are you for real.
    There are no political winners in this sordid mess perpetuated by Owen Arthur. The issue of the of Broomes being complained for started under your great magician.

    You can’t wait to revisit this vindictive man on the people of Barbados. You see how you bragging about how Owen treated Boyce. We are not going back there.

    Barbadians must be horrified by the silly blunders that are being made by the DLP but terrified to go back to the most spiteful Prime Minister there ever was in Barbados.

    The government tried to handle a difficult situation as pointed out by Broomes lawyer in having a commission to let the public hear both sides of the story.

    Now that actions have been taken you are upset.

    Freundel seems not to be into this victimization thing as persons from across all political divide has been honoured in the last four years.

    Why would you want back a victimizing fraud as PM?

  5. My sources say that the BSTU is calling all its troops to a meeting tomorrow. They are not happy troopers, they feel betrayed by the PM. They say that this was not the recommendation coming out of the COI. They have instructed all the teachers not to sign for the transfers which they had to do by Monday.
    Good for them, they wanted one man out and now 22 are out. So look for strike action come January 8th.
    The BSTU seems to think that Karen Best’s hands are all over this and they are MAD as hell!

  6. Clone,
    It is not good to carry such hatred in your heart. Let it go, the hatred you have for OSA will kill you. It seems to me that OSA has crossed your path and you have a vendetta against him. You can hate him all you want but if the people of Barbados feel that he is the better man to get this country out of the hell hole it is in, you cannot do one darn thing but stay on this blog and spew your vitriol.

    It is 2013, let it go, you have ONE vote, it is not for you to tell us where to place our X. Tell the fumbling bungling sorry PM by accident to call the damn election. I challenged you to name one BLP person whom these sorry asses have rewarded.

  7. The most vindictive PMs were Adams and Barrow.
    I want Owen transfer Karen Best to CEO of Sewage Treatment. People paying money to unions for their bosses to get fat and then f*ck them over and that is what she did.

    NUPW doing the same also. Alot of teefing and friend-sing while we give them our money. It got to stop and I willing to get the Port Authority involved if they want support and let we create change in this chummy chummy Barbados.

  8. @To the Point 3.31am
    My approach to rectifying a blatant disregard for rules and custom has no place for soft words like ‘request’.My style becomes combative when you challenge my authority and fail to carry out my lawful instruction.Politicians and unionists cause untold harm in societies such as Barbados and accept and write rules that give renegade employees an escape route out of a serious situation,with the myopic view that ‘it would hardly happen here’.I admire the ladies but they are the more manipulative of the species.One has to be very tough with them or they will suffocate men’s opinions and decisions which affect them in the work place.Rules are subjective and subject to interpretation.
    @Another Retired Teacher 8.49am
    If such a letter is sent appointing one Principal of AX school,there is no other way to interpret that other than what is written.On the other hand should the letter state inter alia”…is pleased to appoint you on promotion to the post of Principal.Then go on to state,”You will be assigned to AX school until further notice……then there is no doubt in anyone’s mind of the import or intent of the appointment.

  9. Along with the teachers there should also be some transfers within the Ministry of Education,as its appears some underhand dealings went on there , in relation to correspondence from Mr Brooms.
    How come that Karen Best took over a position within the Ministry, that a lady was acting in for a long time?

  10. @Colonel Buggy
    The woman was only interested in herself while she took their money and got fat, flying around the place going to conferences and family and friends and shopping. Them is the type of things that makes me shudder.

  11. I now get here after ringing in the new year with an 18 year old (don’t get excited BAFBFP) bottle of single malt Scotch.

    It was my intent to wish you all a happy new year but it is an election year so too many of you will have an unhappy year. I would therefore be wasting my “karma”

    Anyway, the BU family is special so I will wish you all peace,prosperity and success.

    Sadly I am seeing the usual Bajan igrunt selfish attitudes with this AX mess.

    Why do most Bajans become competent as soon as they land their first job in North America and continue self improvement through hard work and continuing education?

    Why are there so many successful Black Bajans in North America and the UK?

    Mussey de white man dat does friten dem an mek dem perform.

    I remain a loyal DLP supporter and BU supporter.

  12. Boo.! BOO! crying not going to change nutting.1hT happen to children interest the “cry” once trumpted by the BLP when the teachers were on strike.all of a sudden they have changed the mantra in favour of Broomes all but going on strike because as they say he was demonted. maybe he should have been fired and go the distant in trying to fight just as his detractors say he should do now in the courts.

  13. Clone: Owen Arthur in your opinion is a spiteful PM, but you cant get it any worse under this administration starting with David Thompson, but the Lord took care of him. The DLP appointees to the various school boards are running like wild animals victimizing teachers. Teachers can’t get their oppointment because they are in collusion with persons on the same PSC. Glad that Mr. Watts from the DPP send a shock wave in them backside.

  14. Pleading: I start to shiver if BSTU is calling out its members tomorrow. Could there be industrial action come next week? The unfortunate thing is that the BSTU teachers are in the older grammar schools which tend to get the better CXC results. This is frightening. SBA are due on April 15 when children will be on holidays.oh…………………………..Somebody help us

    • @Can’t wait

      Please stick to one username/moniker, it makes for better flow in the conversation.

      On 1 January 2013 20:18, Barbados Underground

    • Pleading

      Please get it through your head; the Public Service Commission is not interested in the welfare of the students who are doing CXC. They are concerned that the upcoming general elections are held in an atmosphere of industrial peace. I think that they miscalculated. Unfortunately, their shortsighted actions tend to betray the Alexandra teachers and would have created a great deal of mistrust for the administration of justice in this country.

      Sent from my iPad

    • What is/has been the role of Hal Gollop in this imbroglio?

      On 1 January 2013 20:38, Barbados Underground

  15. So it appears as as though the Alexandra matter is not settled.

    It appears as though these ham-handed transfers are likely to backfire on this government’s chances of wining the election which it must call sooner rather than later.

    My old man used to say that if you start wrong, you HAVE TO end wrong.

    Jeff Broomes should never have been appointed principal of the Alexandra the first place.

    That’s where we went wrong, and now we will have to drink cat piss and pepper and still may not get the wrong corrected.

    It will be poetic justice if this thing shortly blows up in the face of the new BLP if they win the election as it appears very likely that they will.

    The DLP seems not to understand that leaders must lead, and sometimes that have to drag their people kicking and screaming along with them in the right direction

    The DLP seems interested only in winning the election, and seems interested only in giving the ignorant majority of Bajans what they want.

    Maybe just maybe we will mature to the stage when appointments are made STRICTLY on MERIT.

    And by the way nobody cares a fcuk about the children. The children have no vote and some of the parties to this dispute haven’t even looked after their own flesh and blood children.

    Don’t let anybody fool you that any of the parties to this dispute have the the best interest of the children as the first item on their agenda.

    What??? You really think that any politician in Barbados would put anybody’s children, including his own, before his ego?

  16. Hal Gollop seems to be uncharacteristically silent, not even calling the Radio Stations on the matter. Could there be an element of conflict of interest in the mix here that he and BSTU fully recognizes?

  17. Checkit-out what you have is Well said. Hal Gollop has been Fruendel’s friend and law partner for many………………………………… years. The BSTU, I think, has now come to the recognition that Hal Gollop took them for a ride.

  18. Everybody got popcorn yet??

    I done talk for a while, just watching and listening til the real show starts 🙂

    Just Obserivng

  19. @David
    “I am satisfied that he [Broomes] has a fool-proof constitutional action against the Government…,” Smith said. “At the same time, I am also satisfied that what has now taken place goes to the root of his contract of service … and as such also constitutes a major trade union dispute.”
    The legal mouth piece speaks, does the Constitution guarantee that a public employee has the right to a particular position ad infinitum? Are all the School principals at the same grade level? If he is being transferred to a position commensurate to his ability and experience with no decrease in salary or benefits what is the issue?

    The Gov’t/MOE could have used a deft touch in handling this matter, they should have called the “ Pope of Queen Street” in for a meeting and handed him the letter, if he refused to come to the meeting then they could send him on leave, let him drown his sorrows with his watering hole buddies It is better to make one person unhappy than to frustrate 22.

  20. General Elections in Barbados will be held on Thursday January 24, 2013

    Information for all who wants to know.
    Little known facts
    The Prime Minister does not have to call elections if he dont want to

    Even if elections are called now,
    This DLP Government would have held power for longer than any other Government in the history of Barbados

  21. what you said Caswell makes good sense. But, is it that the idiots at the MOE and PSC really thought that Mary and the BSTU were going to take those transfers as Christmas gifts? What a bad miscalculation!!!!!!!!! LOL. The BSTU teachers will such an action as threat to them as well and may come out in full to support their colleagues. Checking out Barbados Today to see if there is anymore updates. Checking out now.

  22. Just asking It would be nice if elections are going to be held this month. However, I doubt that because there quite a few more schools are to be renamed, for example, The Ronald Jones Secondary School of Excellence, The Karen Best (with special emphasis on hair-styling and dressing) Community College, The Sir Marston Gibson Faculty of Law UWI Cave Hill.

  23. @Gabriel

    As I said before due process mu prevail. I can be very combative when I Have to, but this would not help if u dont ensure that there is due process, else u wont have a leg to stand on. Thats logic 101.

    Even though I would have also liked for Ms. Redman to be transferred , I was told that her appointment is under the old order and hence she cant be moved . Do u get my drift. Thats why we have laws else there would be chaos in society. So cool down and deal with the matter objectively.

    If u go back to anything I have said on this matter last year, u would realized that I was one of the few conistent ones. My views have not changed for expediency.

  24. @Sargent

    I think u should stick to what u said u know, how to gmble on the stock exchange. The issues here are too complex for u to understnad, hence ur tivialization of the,

  25. I would not say that hal is missing, he never understood the issues. There are very few lawyers who undertans administrative law, why u think they pay caswell to advise them when have to go to court with such a matter. Caswell i Lie?

  26. @fed up
    Get your facts correct. Gittens is not the President.

    @can’t wait and apollo
    Bstu has no rational, reasonable, legal, procedural or collegial leg to stand on. Also, no signature is necessary to invoke a transfer

    @all re. Hal Gollop.
    I vaguely remember commenting on this role of this character in the plot of the whole saga back in January. Being right doesn’t always bring joy

    You are slicing and dicing on this one. Lol.

    @all who are making this purely political
    The politics of this saga are no longer be national. The DLP will not get any further fallout based on the action taken and the BLP can only be blamed so much. We’re wasting our breath there. The true political impact is “parochial and local.” Let’s see if the non-politicians can make use of politics and crisis management 101 to theirs and everyone’s benefit.

    I’ll reserve comment on the specifics (Jordan, Hal, Redman, Best, King etc.) til the first curtain has been drawn, but, I can safely and conclusively say that the biggest overall losers are the BSTU, Redman and co.

    Hands down.

    Just Observing

    • Observing

      The BSTU would be the biggest losers if they allow themselves to be treated in this manner. What has happened is a puerile attempt at union-busting on the part of the Public Service Commission. It scattered the members of BSTU at Alexandra to the wind in the hope that they would be unable to garner enough support from their wider membership to sustain any industrial action.

      I have no proof but I feel that it is a sinister attempt to destroy BSTU. After the industrial action at Alexandra, many members defected from BUT and this is payback. You should note that some of the faceless people in this transfer conundrum would be Karen Best, Deputy Chief Education Officer and former President of BUT, and David Bowen, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, former Deputy General Secretary of NUPW. You should realise that it is in the interest of the present Government to ensure the survival of this DLP union.

      To my mind, they are ensuring that BUT survives because judging from its performance in representing the workers’ cause; they should be out of business. It would be interesting to see how many BUT executive members become principals in this current round of interviews.
      Sent from my iPad

  27. Observing(…) wrote “but, I can safely and conclusively say that the biggest overall losers are the BSTU, Redman and co.

    Lose what? All these middle class persons will lose is pride if they have any.

    There are no “penalties” for foolish actions and mismanagement in Barbados.

    Not one of them will be looking for a job anytime soon.

  28. @hants
    “All those middle class persons will lose is their pride, if they have any”

    Isn’t that a loss? Lol
    . And for the record, some losses are neither tangible nor visible…but can be internally catastrophic!

    For transparency I should have also mentioned Justice Frederick Waterman as a close 2nd place in “the biggest loser” category.

    Errors lead to learning. Acceptance leads to growth! Blog on! 🙂


  29. Well said Caswell in your article posted at 9:15 pm. Call out the troops BSTU. We need another 1937 riots bout’ here.

  30. @caswell
    You’re really hoping and wishing. The BSTU has been checked and are slowly moving towards check-mate. Irony is that they started the game and now their own strategy has been clinically applied on them.

    “I have no proof”
    Hmmmmm, where have I heard this from you before? Lol!!!

    Just Observing

  31. David

    To add to the confusion, I am told that a French teacher was transferred from Alexandra to Deighton Griffith School where French is not taught. If this is really so, it would support my assertion that the Public Service Commission would have acted for reasons other than the best interests of the students at Alexandra School. They should do the decent thing and resign post haste.

    • @Caswell

      Maybe French is to be added to the Curriculum?

      What it shows, if true, is that the decision to select the transferees leaves room for improvement.

    • David

      If they are starting French at Deighton Griffith School, the PSC would be the last to find out. They don’t make curriculum changes. It is not their responsibility.

      Alexandra is now BUT school. Even the PSC seems part of the conspiracy to destroy BSTU. You should realise that the former BUT President is now the Deputy Chief Education Officer with responsibility for schools and is ideally placed to assist in the destruction of BSTU.

      BSTU does not appear to be politically aligned so they must be destroyed. If the DLP does not control it then it has to go.

      Sent from my iPad

  32. @Caswell

    stop the talk about Union busting. Thats foolishness. Mary Redman got a dose of her own medicine. Let them use the law courts. If they resort to stike as a result of the transfers, they should be disciplined. Use the avenue for grievance handling, but they ccannot hold the country to ransom, as they would not get sympathy from the public.

  33. Caswell don’t come with the Union busting b e.

    This is a case of power going to the heads of incompetents.

    The only people who should have been moved from Alexandra are Broomes (transfered),Greaves (transfered) and Broomes cousin(fired).

    The only winners in this fiasco are the Lawyers.

  34. Lime has just laid off 97 Barbadians. My understanding is that Cave Shepherd and Courts are next. What the hell is happening in this country so early in the new year.

  35. Get out the popcorn, Oh Henry and Soda. The real movie starts next week with Mary Redman and the MOE and by extension the Government of Barbados.

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