Outrageous Treatment of ALMA PARRIS Students and PARENTS Must be CHALLENGED

Submitted by David Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement

David Comissiong – Citizen Advocate

If it is true that the students of the Alma Parris Memorial Secondary School and their parents were NOT consulted in any way BEFORE Minister Ronald Jones and the Ministry of Education made the decision to close down the Alma Parris Memorial Secondary School and to unilaterally assign the students to a variety of other learning institutions, I would strongly advise the parents to join together in a collective body and to engage the services of an Attorney-at-Law to challenge the decision in the Law Court.

It is totally ridiculous and unacceptable that in 21st Century Barbados a Government Minister and/or a Government Ministry could believe that they are entitled to make a decision that so fundamentally impacts on a class of citizens of the country, and that they are under no obligation to consult those citizens.

Not only is this backward, “stone age” thinking, but it is also in conflict with the LAW of Barbados, and should therefore be rigorously challenged, even if it means having to go to the Law Courts.

The fact of the matter is that under the “Common Law” that operates in Barbados a “public authority” is bound by a duty to act fairly towards those members of the public that it serves, and one component of that Common Law duty to act fairly is the duty  to consult .

This Common Law principle was expressed by Lord Wilson in the 2014 English case of “R (on the application of Moseley)  v  London Borough of Haringey” as follows:-

” A public authority’s duty to consult those interested before taking a decision can arise in a variety of ways. Most commonly, as here, the duty is generated by statute. Not infrequently, however, it is generated by the duty cast by the common law upon a public authority to act fairly. The search for the demands of fairness in this context is often illumined by the doctrine of legitimate expectation; such was the source, for example, of its duty to consult the residents of  a care home for the elderly before deciding whether to close it in R  v  Devon County Council, ex parte Baker (1995) 1 All ER 73. “

The time has come when Barbadians– particularly working class Barbadians who are so often treated with a contempt that would never be meted out to the wealthy— must no longer put up with this backward, arrogant, and patronizing behaviour on the part of State officials who are not only supposed to be their servants, but who are also supposed to be accountable to them.

I witnessed this type of behaviour before with the manner in which the said Minister Ronald Jones and the senior officials of his Ministry closed down the historic Society Primary school— the oldest primary school in the entire English speaking Caribbean. As with the case of the Alma Parris school, there was no consultation with the parents of the students before the decision to close Society school was made.

The parents of the Society students and old scholars of the school initially did the right thing by coming together to form a Committee to protest the closure of the school, but we  erred by not taking the matter to Court. Our Committee made the mistake of accepting assurances given to us by Jones — assurances that were never kept !

It is time that somebody sends a very serious message to Jones about his callous and patronizing attitude towards the very people that he is duty-bound to serve!

In fact, it is high time that we make the entire Barbadian political class understand that Barbados must function as a “participatory Democracy”– that Barbados must be a society in which the sovereign power of the people is respected, and in which the people are permitted to exercise their rightful role by being involved in the national decision-making processes. And central to such democratic participatory involvement is CONSULTATION.

115 comments

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Simple Simon July 11, 2017 at 11:48 PM
    “@Prodigal Son July 11, 2017 at 10:35 PM “I don’t want anyone saying that some children are priviledged.”
    But some children are priviledged
    Priviledged is the child who has two loving competent parents.”

    Simple Simon, you are not easy, at all. Shooting from the hip all around.
    Both PUDRYR (Piece, the SSS sweet ole man) and Bush Tea all singing your praises.

    But the miller staying out of your line of fire, bozie.

    Because I now understand why you want the Bajan women of reproductive capacity to get involved with the Chinese ex-prisoners so that they could get some ‘good treatment’.

    You call it “Priviledged” not “Size does Matter”.

    Guess it’s better to have an ‘in-house’ Oriental father who is an ex-con than a birth certificate with the “name of the father” section marked: ‘Any one from the sperm bank with the DNA of tall, dark, home and hung like a donkey’.

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  • David

    …..they need special attention, from special teachers delivered in a special environment.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    Well said and simple……this is the point that the “Dribbler” refuses to understand……nor some of the parents of the students and definitely not this govt.

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  • I know that some of you love the Bible, so here is something that Christians, Muslims, Jews, Rastafarians and even non-believers can agree on.

    “That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out.” Exodus 5.

    Read that then ask the Minister, or the teacher’s union, or ask the Chief Education Officer whether or not several teachers were removed from the Alma Parris school. Ask them because they ought both to know when the Alma Parris School lost its Math and English teachers. And now we have the Minister talking about the school not performing up to standard. Ask the Minister and the the Chief Education Officer how can a school perform if it is deprived of its best teachers?

    “That same day big chiefs gave this order to the overseers in charge of the school “You are no longer to supply the school with the specialists teachers required; let the parents, teachers, principal, and children go and find their own specialist teachers. But require them to get the same results as Harrison College at the end of five years; don’t reduce the number of CXC’s the children must earn. The children, their parents, the teachers and the principal are lazy; that is why they are crying out.” Exodos 5.

    Has a demon imposed this burden on the children and their teachers, and their parents?

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  • Vincent can you please desist from mischaracterizing my remarks.

    I have been as explicit as humanely possible in my remarks above so it is beyond untenable re your 12:09 PM.

    Our Bdos issues with developmentally challenged children did NOT start 20 years ago with Alma Parris so please cease with this simplistic determination that these kids need special attention by special teachers…not to be rude brother but it’s akin to your rather simplistic remarks re the electorate needing to be properly informed (or words to that effect).

    Since I was a lad Bdos was training teachers to handle kids with special needs of various types ..I know this first hand.

    I am over 50 now @Vincent so please get real.

    The country now has several well trained Phds, MSC etc across the system…

    Some are friends who are trained extensively in the “special ed’ disciplines and they are NOT at Alma…but dispensing that training to similar needy kids at other schools.

    The point being that those steeped in the field or have been paying attention for years KNOW THE NEEDS OF THIS COHORT OF CHILDREN … and gnashing of teeth re Alma’s political nonsense is NOT the issue in the least.

    The PROBLEM IS WELL BEYOND THAT.

    Simple has said it well so maybe you can focus on her ass-kicking style and dismiss the factual basis I offered. Alas.

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  • dpD

    Chuckle…..no need to throw a hissy fit youngster.

    You keep referring to the fact….that we know….we have trained….

    The point is that we have not implemented it where it would serve the greatest good…..even you alluded to it,by referring to those talents being used at other schools by your friends,though admirable that was never the intention.

    A country will only move forward if the masses are fully seized of the country’s vision and buy into it….hence my continous harping on being properly informed…..its an aspirational goal…..no need to fear causing me offence….been in town long.

    I will give you the last word youngster and hope your fuse is firmly back in place…lest I accuse of what you have accused many on here of.

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  • If we don’t take care of our vulnerable children now, then we will take care of them in jail, but we can’t keep them in jail forever because it is too expensive to do so. And when they are out without the means of earning a living, then what?

    We, all of us want a decent society. A society where an old lady can walk to church at 6 in the morning, or 7 at night. We want a society where if our daughters have worked late, they can walk safely home from the bus stop, or drive home without being carjacked. We want a society where our elderly fathers can enjoy a coffee or a beer on their own verandas.

    In order to have such a society we have to find ways to include everybody. And this is not because we are being altruistic. We want a good society, because a good society is good for us– all of us.

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  • Simple Simon July 12, 2017 at 1:28 PM #

    Well stated…..totally agree,especially the last line.

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  • Hissy fit you say, oh lawd! Pray tell what would that offer in a debate as serious as this one.

    Can I ONE MORE time disavow you on the simple INACCURATE characterization that :

    “The point is that we have not implemented it where it would serve the greatest good…..even you alluded to it,by referring to those talents being used at other schools by your friends,though admirable that was never the intention.”

    NO NO, NO.

    My remarks were meant to convey that Alma Parris IS not, WAS not, and WOULD never be the single solution to the problems we faced.

    You seem to perceive despite all the evidence that there are but a few children seized into the ‘developmental challenged’ spectrum and that those kids can be wonderfully housed at an Alma Parris with one wonderful group of trained teachers.

    No Vincent.

    The school would have to be as large as your alma mater trending towards 700 to 800 and not the under 200 they had at Alma but moreso that would also mean drawing children from all across the island to one specialized school.

    Maybe there was a time that was possible but not NOW. Too many kids are falling into that spectrum…and have been at the many schools David mentioned above: St. George, St.Lucy, Grantley Adams, Parkinson et al. THUS the reason the teachers are throughout the system.

    Alma Parris’ existence is a symptom of a grave problem…it’s closure is not a validation that the problem is any worst but rather one of – in my view – nonsensical policy disagreement.

    Or to use the Simple Simon’s evocation:

    —- “…What if we were required to track those children until the end of their school life? What if our policies were formulated based on that data?…

    “Right now I am certain that NOBODY at the Ministry of Education can tell us how many children in the system were born to [biological disadvantages like drug dependency or] to alcoholic or binge drinking mothers. And nobody can tell us where those children are, or how they are doing.

    “[We prefer to] put our hands over our eyes and over our ears we can pretend that nothing bad is happening to some of our children even before they are born [ and that they will all become awesome socially capable citizens after a few years in school].” —–

    YES we need more special attention but its needed at MANY schools.

    Do you know that children ‘passing’ for XXXX school cannot complete an Infants A test in first form. Bro NONE of those kids were at Alma.

    They tell me that more kids at Kolig and your Waterford U for example are also showing poorer writing skills.

    I don’t need the last word old chap…no sireee. Give that to Simple. She is graphic and pellucid. …as she alludes to, let them breed them drunk or otherwise disadvantaged and let’s pretend all will be well cause we are in our nice middle class enclaves!

    I gone. Duty and work calls.

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  • dpD

    Good response….a bit prolix as is your want.

    We may have found common ground by your suggestion that all schools require a wing in order to deal with special needs children as their detection has out grown the size of the Alma Parris school intent.

    I am not sure if we have put to bed the difference between special needs and slow learners

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  • Steupsss…
    Trust Vincent and Dribbles to come and confuse the damn issue after it had been so SIMPLY explained by S. Simon. Our first failure as a country was to not have the damn school back when it was needed by the two of wunna bowls…

    The issue is NOT that we would need a much bigger school …. it is that a start in the right direction …has been reversed by an idiot…. and done so in a crude, ugly and unmannerly way.

    If wunna want to get specific…then ALL BAJAN schools should be of the Edna Nicholls type – cause the bright fellows from HC and Queens clearly don’t know one shiite – if we judge from the results being obtained. ….and the two of wunna probably could not be helped EVEN with a special school…

    and Hal would probably have been expelled from Edna Nicholls….. 🙂

    Two lukewarm, shiite-talkers, who admit to scant understanding of life’s issues, but who persists with a lotta talk anyway…
    LOL
    …Or Is that ‘lukewarm ignorance’ the basis for wunna expertise on this topic?

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  • 2 1/2 hours in the gym and I am ready.

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  • @ Simple

    It must take real stamina for an old gal like you to be oogling the young trainers for so long….

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  • @Bushmater
    You are taking no prisoners.
    @Simple…. for what???

    Like

  • I like to keep a happy home life and for that one must be fit.

    Like

  • Nite, nite guys. Early night for me. Duty calls.

    Like

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