The Alexandra Incestuous Factor

Karen Best, former BUT President and current Deputy Chief Education Officer

Karen Best, former BUT President and current Deputy Chief Education Officer

Minister Jones, visibly shaken and angry, termed the no-show a “gross insult” and the low point of industrial relations practice in the trade union history of Barbados. Mrs Karen Best, president of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), reportedly said she had never seen anything like it in industrial relations. Her [Best] comments clearly indicate her union will not support the BSTU. For the first time that I can remember, there is a split among five unions – the BSTU and Barbados Workers Union (BWU) on one side, the BUT, BAPPSS and NUPW on the other

Nation Newspaper

It seems to be finally hitting home to Barbadians – especially the political partisans – that the Alexandra School dispute (AX) is not so easy to resolve after all. The Frederick Waterman headed commission of inquiry was suppose to wash away the problem which all have to admit predates this government coming to office.

One view of the AX matter which BU has not put under full scrutiny is the incestuous nature of the relationships of key decision makers and participants in the AX plot. Barbados we know is a small country  and there is an inevitability about how personal relationships can shape public perception about how decisions are taken.

Key players in the AX Mess are Principal Jeff Broomes, Minister Ronald Jones, and Deputy Chief Education Officer Karen Best who are ALL products of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT). To complete the BUT connection we should declare that current President of the Barbados Union of Teachers is Pedro Shepherd who recently challenged for the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) nomination in St. Michael South East.

Of special interest to BU is the recent appointment of Karen Best who has responsibility for schools.

‘Ingredients’ for a cabal you think? It gets better.

Chairman of the Alexandra School governing body is Keith Simmons who is Deputy Chairman of the Public Service Commission. Keith Simmons admits to being closed friends with Jeff Broomes although – according to his testimony at the COI – the relationship soured during his tenure as Chairman of the AX Board. Keith Simmons is also a former minister in a DLP government.

Jeff Broomes is represented in the current industrial relations impasse by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), one of two unions. The president and general secretary Walter Maloney and Dennis Clarke respectively are known to be ‘liming buddies’ and some say ‘fraternity brothers’ with Minister Jones.

Finally another key player is Hal Gollop the legal counsel for the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU). Interesting because he admits to being a close friend of the Prime Minister. How has Gollop been able to balance his role as BSTU counsel and obvious confidant of Prime Minister Stuart some have begun to question.

It is general knowledge in Barbados that Broomes, Best, Jones, Griffith-Watson et al all exchange visits at a personal level and have eaten from the same pot some may go further to say. A big reason for the current state of play is the inbred relationships which have featured to appoint several players to positions in education which many argue challenge their level of competence.

It is T2 to Monday and the pupils continue to play a minor roles in the AX Saga. What is playing out at Alexandra exposes a crisis of leadership in Barbados. Examples can be seen in the judiciary, parliament, private sector and general society.

  • @ac
    Agreed the process could have been more “professional”. But taking the whole debacle in context (2010-2013) no one who should have displayed professionalism did. Re a court case, the government’s case is legally air tight (maybe with the exception of the three…and those can be rescinded if necessary). All others definitely have to go to work.

    @check it out
    There’s another act in play. How long will Redman hold “meetings”?? This is day two. Unless those teachers call in sick and provide evidence for any further absence, they can be subject to disciplinary action forthwith. Still waiting to see who blinks first. The BSTU is boxed in and they know it. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. Regarding who wins or loses, the BSTU got its wish (Broomes’ separation). They were the only one that had an “ultimatum.”

    As I said somewhere else, be careful what you wish for.

    How the bottom falls out here will determine a lot in months to come.

    btw, Broomes’ sick leave was a master stroke. lol. He’s eligible for alot more too!

    Just Observing


  • @ David
    The problem with absenteeism is NOT the doctors. It is the idiocy that we accept and encourage for management practice..
    The AX issue is a case in point.

    All of wunna talking foolishness bout how the teachers should be moved and Broomes should be humbled and the teacher from PMS should apologize and thing so…

    Watch and see when these people fall in line and conform to the idiocy that WUNNA promoting …… How many of them going need to get regular sick certificates….

    ….check and see how many will bother to assist with extra curricular activities
    ….how many will bother to keep a special eye on a borderline child
    ….how many will care how well the school does…

    When bosses pompaset with their arrogant positions and force employees to comply, what we get is NUFF sick leave, minimum productivity, poor customer service and high losses for the business.

    ….all the doctors are doing is responding to genuine complaints that the employees are sick….of the brass bowl bosses.
    ….that is why Bushy says to FIRE SOME BOSSES….start with Jones.
    …what transfers what?!?

    If transfers are needed these should have been discussed, negotiated and agreed with ALL involved before they were applied.


  • On the subject of industrial relations, what game is the Duke of York playing? Oh excuse me, the Knight of Harmony Hall!

    LIME has offered an excellent package and he want letters rescinded. He screwed the workers by privately agreeing with LIME behind the workers back that he saw nothing wrong with the layoffs and now he seem to have backtracked.

    All people who got severed are receiving what Sandi legislated in the dread days of 1994, the company offering five weeks and he wants six. How unreasonable can he be? I have no brief for LIME even though I have friends who work there.

    I would like to know who in their right minds would come out and strike with the Duke of York???


  • @ Dr. .GP and Yvette

    You two are so right. When I read the obits in the Nation I am amazed at the youth of the deceased.

    My girlfriend did not call me for Christmas and when I called there was no answer. she called on the weekend and told me she almost had a death in the family. Her apparently healthy and fit 36 year old son had a major STROKE! He had hypertension and DID NOT KNOW. he was in intensive care for two weeks. He is partially paralized on this right side and has difficulty speaking.

    There is no way Broomes could have come through all that he has been subjected to unscathed.


  • millertheanunnaki

    Observing(…) | January 8, 2013 at 11:06 AM |
    “btw, Broomes’ sick leave was a master stroke. lol. He’s eligible for alot more too!”

    So Obs, you think the same way Caswell wants to send you an invoice for tutorial services rendered the miller could send one to Broomes for IR advice given even if it says “Pro Bono”?


  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Georgie Porgie | January 8, 2013 at 11:01 AM |
    “Do you realize that nearly all of the sexy looking young girls in Barbados since 1980 are anaemic, and are overworking their hearts to adequately perfuse their tissues.”

    GP, that’s a seriously profound assertion. What could be the possible cause of such a potentially dangerous condition? Is it the lack of red meat or even legumes in their diet to replace the heavy loss to period flow?

    What doctor? Please advise!


  • No problem with Brooomes calling in “sick leave” but how convienent at thebeginning of the school term However the BSTU can exercised any legal avenue available to them .The govt have more to lose in this fight than BSTU firstly by starting the process all over again try replacing another twenty two teachers again at the drop of a hat .Not Easy. the BSTU might look Weak at face value but underneath they have a lot of strenght which anyone in their right mind would not want to tackle in this voitile envirom


  • mILLER
    RE GP, that’s a seriously profound assertion. What could be the possible cause of such a potentially dangerous condition? Is it the lack of red meat or even legumes in their diet to replace the heavy loss to period flow?

    YES THEY NEED TO ROUTINELY replace the heavy loss to period flow BY IRON TABLETS


  • Additional Services

    @ David

    Have you spend any time considering why it is teachers don’t want to be transferred? It seems to me this is something worth pondering because these teachers are not part owners of the properties.

    Someone please tell me why a teacher would object to a transfer from a practical point of view given how small Barbados is as a land mass.

    Maybe the MOE and GOB needs to consider making rotation of all teachers mandatory by legislation so that they 9teachers) don’t become institutionalized the same way prisoners do when they have been jailed for the majority of their lives.

    In typical bajan style, I have something to tell the teachers (Broomes included) ” Man get from round de people place do”


  • Georgie check this out

    Early detection of cancer is key to beating the disease, but the cost and time involved in screening can be an impediment to many at-risk individuals. Now, researchers at Kansas State University have developed a simple test that can accurately detect breast and lung cancer from a blood or urine sample before any symptoms occur. The test uses a solution of iron nanoparticles coated with amino acids and a dye that interact with cancer-specific enzymes in the patient sample. In all, test results can be known in about an hour.




  • Georgie

    Man look at you referring to me as the garden variety rabble ….! I is laugh at my rabble hear .. and I sure that dah laughin’ does produce some kind ah enzyme that is help me stay in the brown of health …!


  • @miller
    I have to report Caswell to the FTC cause I see an invoice here for services yet to be rendered!

    Re the IR advice for Broomes, do you really think Broomes ever saw or dealt with this as an IR issue? Lol. Broomes much more basic than that. He’s like the Joker in the Dark Knighgt.. That’s why the BSTU catching hell now!

    This was never just an IR chess game. And the BSTU allowed it to develop into a political, legal, educational, administrative as well as an industrial one.. Fully out of their league! Hence the boisterous calls for “backup” There aren’t many people that can bat against four/five types of balls at the same time and still create a winning strategy or a reasonable exit strategy.

    Since you joining caswell and charging I really need to reevaluate where I stand and get some concessions from David so that my contributions would cost u less.

    Just Observing


  • Caswell Franklyn


    Why would you want concessions from David : he is not running so you won’t have to kickback to his campaign.

    Sent from my iPad


  • There is sympathy for anyone who loses a job particularly in a recession but the disgracelful level of customer service by LIME workers at Warrens had to be seen to be believed.

    None those women smiled none except one time I witness one laughing with a Bajan white. I went here many times and to me they viewed customers like a pieces of sh*t. They acted as if you were a massive bother to them.

    One young woman pretty even when constantly vex wore multicolored nails. That girl was simply always angry and unmannerly no friendly greeting for the customer she and her co workers are among the worst customer service peolple it was ever my misfortune to deal with.

    The Windsor Lodge women were just as bad but I went there less so dont know if I they were permanently ill mannered .


  • Real

    I ain gun lie, but I feel no sympathy fah the customer service people at LIME nider … Sad. But wag ’bout the management …?


  • David

    It is quite evident here that a couple of your regular contributors are accusing this present group of honourable men in office of encouraging and receiving “kick backs” in return of the acquisition of concessions on construction materials and equipment in the building of the Cost U Less establishment. Sir I think that that is slander and and in the vein of Carl Moore, such comments and innuendo should be struck from the record with haste…! … Uhum


  • @baffy
    Who say anything bout kickbacks to these honourable men? Somebody got a guilty conscience??

    I see BSTU is now trying to create a case out of thin air now that the horse left the gates and circled the track 5 times already!!!

    Tis a sad day in Barbados when a major trade union can’t put together a solid case without holes or follow established procedure. Particularly when they have (or I should say had) all the information to seize leverage and take the advantage.

    Either the BSTU leadership is as emotional, biased, illogical, naieve and subjective as their statements to date have suggested or their advisor(s) are busy counting six five-bags of silver coins.

    Just observing


  • I’m just a simple person, therefore I ask simple questions; are the principals of the older secondary school on the same skale as the one at the newer schools? Is the principal of Harrison’s College recieving the same pay as the principal of Graydon Sealey. Has the “former” principal at the Ax to recieve the same pay as he used to before? Has the said principal found guilty of an offence that would merit his demotion? Was this investigated by the PSC or has this demotion dealt with only by the Waterman Commission


  • There is another person that needs to be removed from Ax, that is the Chairman of the school board, obviously, he does not know his role as chairman. Unless the new principal allows himself to be a puppet to the chairman, he too will be in his bad books. However, he might not have much time left, as he will be history if the BLP wins the next elections.


  • I have asked the same question. How in all good conscience can Keith Simmons continue as Chairman of the AX board and also sit in judgement on the PSC? Only in a DLP government!


  • David

    At 4:44 pm BAFBFP wrote:

    “It is quite evident here that a couple of your regular contributors are accusing this present group of honourable men in office of encouraging and receiving “kick backs” in return of the acquisition of concessions on construction materials and equipment in the building of the Cost U Less establishment. Sir I think that that is slander and and in the vein of Carl Moore, such comments and innuendo should be struck from the record with haste…! … Uhum”

    I went through all the comments to see who could have posted such, since as we are all aware all of our politicians are like Caesar’ wife. But unfortunately, I have found no such comment. Maybe if BAFBFP know of any instance of kick backs, he should share it with us here on BU.


  • @David

    Since there is all this talk about “sick certificates” does the employer have the right to demand that an employee who is away for short or long term illness see a doctor of the employer’s choosing if they believe that the person is malingering?


  • Sargeant;
    Good question!! Ask Caswell; The Unions would certainly know and might even have had a hand in ensuring that whatever answer is given is the rule.


    i WOULD LOVE TO BE IN A CASE LIKE THAT………AND SUE THE EMPLOYER……….who is at best a medical illiterate [even with Google} lol

    But the Police Force, Fire Dept,Prison Service and Defence Force have doctors assigned to see the members. I am told that in the old days the POLICE used to be unfaired.

    Sick members of the Defence force are confined to the excellent facilities at St Ann”s Fort


  • The children of Barbados are being subjected to lessons in normal adult behavior.

    Examples of arrogance,intransigence and bad work habits.

    And we expect the young people to respect their elders.


  • @Hanta “The children of Barbados are being subjected to …normal adult behavior… arrogance,intransigence and bad work habits. And we expect the young people to respect their elders.”

    I second that Hants.


  • Checkit-Out

    Instead of asking me: you should ask a doctor how he would take it if some employer call his competence into question. You might be facing a law suit for defamation depending on how you handle it. This is different from a patient seeking a second opinion.

    Sent from my iPad


  • Cas

    All you got to do is say that you wrong … da’s all


  • GP
    It is not as simple as that up here if people are on the Employer’s payroll they will comply or risk losing their salary. I have known of a few cases where employees were absent for prolonged periods with relevant Doctor’s notes and the employer asked that they see the company Doctor for a second opinion (or further examination to verify that the illness was genuine). If they are on disability and the Insurance company is now picking up the tab, the Insurance company may send documents for the doctors to complete.

    In a related matter I had an employee who was going progressively blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa) and had difficulty reading documents. We came to a mutual decision that she should go on disability because of her condition and the Company doctor cleared her to continue working which was a surprise to both of us.( Perhaps he thought she was sighted because she seldom carried her cane around with her)

    Eventually she received the disability pension after receiving further documentation from other medical professionals.


  • Cas

    Perhaps you should ignore Carl Moore’s advice and do the anonymous thing … at least that way you would be guaranteed of an improved comfort level when it comes to participating in doing the right thing as well.


  • Interesting Sarge. That person should have sued…… my opinion. lol.


  • @Caswell
    Instead of asking me: you should ask a doctor how he would take it if some employer call his competence into question
    Doctors’ competence is called in to question every day in other places (BTW what ever happened to that case where the woman went for cosmetic surgery and ended up DOA?) and that’s why Malpractice Insurance is so high especially in the USA.

    And Caswell I’m surprised at that statement since you are here questioning lawyers competence everyday, and you wouldn’t hesitate to question a carpenter; mason or a teacher why should doctors be out of bounds?


  • GP
    When you sue there is only one guaranteed winner………the lawyer


  • Smooth Chocolate

    Mary Redman stated that
    “Teachers have been vomiting, they have had their blood pressure up in the air; diabetic persons, their sugar is out of control, they have not been sleeping, their tears are flowing. I wish that persons could understand the real trauma that the teachers have been going through as a result of this,” she said, noting as well that headaches and sleeplessness were also reported.

    Is Mary Redman really serious as to state something like that for all to hear? What rubbish!! U would think she was discussing little five year olds who just had their world disrupted. Are these teachers mature adults or what? Why should the thought of teaching somewhere else produce such a reaction? I would have thought that the fact that all the tension they might have been under while at AX would have dissipated now that they have the opportunity to teach somewhere else. Are they not flexible? Or is it that they were more interested in causing disruption rather than actually teaching and the thought that they will actually have to do what they are being paid to do is more than they can handle? As an adult female, I am embarrassed.


    “She added that there was also a male teacher who could be hospitalised as a result of the effect of the stress suffered over time on his sciatic nerve, affecting his ability to walk.”
    Someone should tell her and the male teacher that Sciatic nerve injury would not be as a result of he being transferred. Also BED REST is NOT recommended. Did she not feel embarrassed coming on air and spewing such stupid statements?

    SCOIATICA occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the lower spine and runs down the back of each leg. This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot.

    Because sciatica is a symptom of another medical condition, the underlying cause should be identified and treated.
    In some cases, no treatment is required and recovery occurs on its own.
    Conservative treatment is best in many cases. Your doctor may recommend the following steps to calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation.
    • Apply heat or ice to the painful area. Try ice for the first 48 – 72 hours, then use heat after that.
    • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
    Bed rest is not recommended. Reduce your activity for the first couple of days. Then, slowly start your usual activities after that. Avoid heavy lifting or twisting of your back for the first 6 weeks after the pain begins. You should start exercising again after 2-3 weeks. This should include exercises to strengthen your abdomen and improve flexibility of your spine.


  • Well, well, well.

    The teachers were not sick, vomiting, suffering headaches, stress and palpitations while working under that OGRE Broomes, that dastardly, disruptive, disrespectful, disgusting, degenerate, devilish, demonic, disreputable, despised and despicable despot of a man.


    The MOE should release the retarded recalcitrants.


  • PAT
    I love that piece of alliteration!


  • @GP

    Murda, I was thinking of you all the while. You are the boss at it. ha, ha ha!


  • Teachers get transferred on the miniscule Island of Barbados no more than an hour from where they used to work, teaching the same hard ears children they accustomed to and they puking and can’t sleep.


  • you saying the teachers are not sick. then the doctors crazy


  • Check the records: teacher were sick, under Broomes and sick of him. Problems were brought to the public from 2006. It took the third round of strike action to get the MOE and PM to do something. The commission of inquiry vindicated the teachers, AND made recommendations. What recommendations are the Public Service Commission following with these mass transfers at this time? Not any that were recommended. Certainly not any that make sense.


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