The reputation of the Waterford University has taken a big dent in recent months. The inability of the authorities to effectively manage the problems at the school have been well documented and discussed on social media. BU has followed the saga at Combermere Secondary School with interest because many in the BU household have benefited from instruction through the years from dedicated teachers well supported by support staff. It must pain the alumni everywhere to be witnessing the diminution of the Cawmere ethos that has been the envy of many.
It has become obvious to BU based on certain knowledge that at the root of the problem is weak leadership at the school. We offer no apology to anyone by defining the weakness in leadership as Principal Vere Parris, President of the Parents Teachers Association Rolerick Sobers AND the comatose Combermere Old Scholars Association (COSA). These three important stakeholders have allowed politics and emotional positions to trump effective decision making at the Waterford institution. BU will withhold airing the dirty laundry in public for the moment but we will if the problems at Combermere School are not resolved in short order. There will be no improvement at the school unless Parris is removed, Sobers -who is also is a vice president of the COSA- is removed, AND, the constitutions of the PTA and COSA are amended to deal with term limits and incestuous behaviour.
An example of the politics affecting Combermere School again manifested itself this week. Minister Ronald Jones in response to concerns raised that the putrid smell at Combermere had gotten worse and “students were complaining of sore throat, itchy skin and headaches, which in some cases caused them to leave early”, he summarily dismissed the charge. He explained that the school records did not support. Contrast Minister Jones’ position to that taken by President of the BSTU Mary Redman published in today’s Barbados Advocate: “However, President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), Mary Anne Redman says that she is in receipt of reports that teachers are experiencing symptoms like before, which she indicated are related to the odour.” – More Combermere Drama.
The BU household will pray that key players like Mary Redman and Ronald Jones engage in constructive dialogue -for the sake of the children. Why in heavens name a simple fact to determine if children and teachers have reported sick at Combermere School as a result of a heightened stench has to be contentious. Here is where the leadership from by the Principal, PTA and COSA will ease some of the tension. So far the BSTU has been vindicated by their position taken on behalf of members. There was a serious environmental problem at the school that the ministry of education vigorously denied for a long time. In fact all agree – including Parliamentary Secretary Harry Husbands who acted for Minister Jones on the walkthrough with the BSTU before the opening of the term – that there is still work to be done to improve the quality of the environment. Why Jones elected to adopt a bombastic and Trumplike position boggles even the average mind.
The issue of the compromised environment at Combermere School compound needs to be solved once and for all. It is time for Cawmerians everywhere to join the ‘fight’.