The Phartford Files: BCC Fast Becoming a Basket Case

Submitted by Ironside

One scholarship! That is all the Barbados Community College (BCC) was able to garner in 2019!

Not surprising, given the recent revelations regarding the ongoing scandalous performance of BCC nursing students in the regional nursing examinations.

Well, the Mia Mottely administration has solved the nursing problem: Barbados will be importing nurses and nursing is to be removed from the curriculum of the BCC and (possibly) given to Ross University.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The problems at the Eyrie institution get more interesting by the semester:

1. Pass mark to 45%; a two stage drop from 60% through 50% over the last ten years or so. In the same time UWI raised its from 45%.

2. Recent implementation of supplemental exams for every student for every major subject across the board – no questions asked; no restrictions – in stark contrast to what obtains at comparable colleges across the world.

3. An arrogant Student Affairs Department – which falls under the ambit of the Registrar – that stuffs upwards of 45 students in rooms designed to comfortably seat 30 students despite specifications from teaching department heads. Every day, some students in some divisions report having to “borrow” furniture from adjacent rooms with the attendant problems of delays in the start of classes and possible injury to fellow students along the narrow corridors.

4. Increasing breakdown in discipline. Tutors complain of the blatant cursing in the closely confined spaces of the college premises and rudeness to tutors with no response from the administration. Some of those confined spaces are just opposite to the offices of the Registrar who has not lifted a finger to check the uncouth behaviour. No surprise there, since it appears that, according to some staff members, the Registrar – Mr. Roger Worrell – can’t decide whether he is “student friendly” or “student centered”. Whichever it is, it does not come with strong discipline! It is simply his sick idea of “loving students”.

5. The treatment of students found guilty of cheating is an eye opener. Under the current directives, if a student is caught cheating in an exam he or she is to have the examination booklet removed and given another one, right there in the examination room, ostensibly pending a later investigation. Such investigations invariably never happen and guilty students continue on the campus with impunity.

6. Failure to get national accreditation even after having begun the process for it more than three years ago and after the appointment of a so-called consultant to manage the process.

7. Increasingly blatant corruption in the institution from successive Boards of Management downwards. The recent appointment of a new principal to the BCC is a case in point and worthy of separate discussion.

The appointee, Mrs. Annette Alleyne, is hitherto an unknown to most BCC staff. Translated, that the means that nobody seems to have ever heard her express an opinion- controversial or otherwise- on anything of educational importance in the institution! In other words, nobody knows if she gives a good Bajan phart about the BCC!

So how does she become principal? Better still, why would she even apply for the job given her lack of management experience and apparent disinterest in the job? And why was she given the job by the Professor Velma Newton led Board of Management when it appears that there were at least three other candidates – with doctoral degrees, demonstrated interest and/or experience and/or expertise – who apparently applied for the job?

How does the Project Director of the IMPACT Justice Project justify brushing aside three other highly qualified candidates who have demonstrated commitment to the BCC for so many years in favour of an obviously shallow candidate, if one can judge by the interviews Mrs. Allyene has given so far?

If one had any suspicions about the new Principal’s appointment, those were confirmed by her no-show on the relatively recent Peter Thorne moderated People’s Business discussion on nursing in Barbados. Mr. Thorne was at pains to point out that they had sent repeated requests to the BCC administration for participation in discussion on the matter.

But perhaps we are being unfair. Maybe the new Principal was under gag order by the Board? That would not be surprising because tight control of communication seems to be the working philosophy of the Mia Mottley administration.

In her “historic” and histrionic meeting with BCC staff a year ago, Professor Velma Newton, short of issuing a threat, left no doubt about how she feels about staff, at any level communicating, with the public without her “blessing”.

That should be very alarming to lovers of freedom and justice, since no such strictures are placed on members of staff of the UWI where the BCC chairperson is still an employee and as noted above, Director of the IMPACT Justice Project. For example, Jeff Cumberbatch, a UWI law lecturer, is a regular contributor to this blog.

What shall we say to these things: “All educators are equal but some are more equal than others?”

There is a lot more than meets the eye here and Phartford Files will have more to say on this later. For the time being, these are a few of takeaways from this BCC case worth noting:

1. The BCC is fast becoming a basket case (“a person or thing regarded as useless or unable to cope”). The cause is deeply rooted in the failure of successive political administrations to appoint competent, professional managers rather than yard fowls and people they can easily control. Both of the so-called main parties are guilty of this practice. This BLP administration has taken it to a new level.

2. Corruption is now spreading like a cancer even across our top educational institutions (it is an open secret that the former SJPP is a DLP political pork barrel).

3. Integrity legislation is a smoke screen and a soother for the masses; it is will not stop this kind of corruption.

4. The current politico-governance system in this country is morally bankrupt at the core and needs to be permanently dismantled.

In the meantime, while we wait patiently for the next election, the powers that be are reminded that the Barbados Community College is funded by our taxes and is therefore, a public institution. The time for a response regarding the BCC is past due!



    “An Invalidity Grant is a lump sum payment equal to 6 weeks average insurable weekly earning for each 50 contributions actually paid or credited to the insured person’s account.”

    My source? The National Insurance and Social Security Scheme – A GUIDE TO BENEFITS, Revised 2011.

    Guess your knowledge is not as complete as you think and my nonsense is not nonsense after all.

    Your friend dealt with many of these cases at tribunal level and still the practice continued.. Don’t know of anybody who was not receiving both invalidity benefit AND pension. Who are these people who had to take their matter to the tribunal?

    You can sling insults at me, declare my now proven fact to be nonsense and then unilaterally declare the argument finished????? In other words I should not defend myself or my position? I must allow you to go unchallenged? And then you, instead of following your own advice, return to argue further.. When exactly did you pay David for the last word? If you want the argument to cease then you can always control yourself instead of seeking to control me!

    The interpretation of the Act is disputed by more than just myself. Ask Caswell. The issue can be argued in court.

    You cannot even bring yourself to acknowledge that what you called nonsense is taken from the NIS official document. YOU WERE WRONG! Also I did not question the authenticity of the information you presented. I asked how long the information was posted on the website. In other words – how long has the department embraced this interpretation of the law and published it on the website.?

    Who’s assuming now? Who’s ludicrous now?

    Contributions such as yours are the reason why I will continue to comment on BU.


  • Artax did not even know that an Invalidity grant was a lump sum payment. I would not ask him squat on this topic.


  • And just to clarify – it is the CHAUVINIST Bush Tea who thought women were unworthy of his arguments. That is why HE questioned whether I was a woman. I did not agree with his opinion on women. That’s why I called him a chauvinist.


  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    Hal Austin

    The symposiums are not training sessions but sessions used to ”showoff’ company assets and attainments. My substantive point, to use your word, is that while training may be necessary and ongoing, it comes to a stage where it stops. You were sent on your civil service course because it was a requirement of the civil service. Just like in my company, it is a requirement to do all the management courses at your titled level. Where you still being constantly trained after that? Top level bosses, in our companies, regularly teach in training sessions and workshops but do not attend training sessions or courses. That is because they have reached their peak and have done all their courses. Funny that you should use cricket as your analogy. A top batsman has coaching sessions. What is the coach basically doing? Ensuring that his top batsman gets a lot of batting practice and exercise to keep him fit for the task. A top batsman needs batting practice. What do our top level managers do to keep them fit and ‘exercised’ for their tasks? They become coaches to subordinate managers. They attend presentations and SWOT-alyse these presentations to make workshop courses to improve anything they deem a shortcoming in the various presentations. I will leave it there for now, but your point is taken and accepted. I hope you understand mine.


  • @ Donna

    An invalidity grant is not a lump sum payment. It’s paid for a period of 50 weeks.


  • Sigh……..

    Robert Goren,

    Then you are disagreeing not with me but the National Insurance and Social Security Scheme Guide to Benefits Revised 2011 which I took from their office in 2012 and retrieved from my filing cabinet this morning.

    Page 20

    Invalidity Benefits

    An Invalidity Benefit may be either a grant or a pension.

    Invalidity Grant

    To qualify for an invalidity grant one must:

    (a) be under pensionable age

    (b) be permanently incapable of undertaking further employment because of a specific disease or bodily or mental disablement

    (c) have at least 50 contributions paid or credited to one’s account.

    How is an Invalidity Grant computed?

    An Invalidity Grant Is a lump sum payment equal to 6 weeks average insurable weekly earnings for each 50 weeks contributions actually paid or credited to the insured person’s account. Average insurable weekly earnings for the purpose of Invalidity Grant is the sum of the insurable earnings on which contributions were based, divided by the number of weeks of contributions.

    I did not write it. I just read it. You should too.


  • The following is information taken from the Barbados NIS web-site:

    To qualify for a grant you must:

    • be under the pensionable age
    • be permanently incapable of working because of a specific disease or physical or mental disablement
    • have at least 50 contributions paid or credited to your account.

    How is the grant worked out?

    Your grant is equal to 6 weeks out of every 50 (weekly) contributions credited to your account.
    If your earnings, and therefore your contributions vary from week to week, you add the contributions paid over
    the 50-week period, and divide them by 50. You will get the average weekly contribution. This will then be
    multiplied by 6.

    For e.g.

    For 50 varied contributions totalling $1,000,

    $1,000 ÷ 50 = $20 average weekly contribution

    $20 x 6 = $160.

    $160 will be your grant for the 50-week period.

    Should your 50 weekly contributions be equal in amount, simply multiply one week’s contribution by 6.


  • I never claimed to know everything. Unlike you, I’m not a pantomath. And unlike you, I don’t ramble on and on and on.

    Why do you keep harping on what Bush Tea mentioned to you? Seems as though his comments have affected you psychologically or exposed your low self esteem.

    Having a lack of confidence is symptomatic of low self esteem. This is exhibited in a number of ways, such as seeking approval from others…. you only feel comfortable when others agree with your comments. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why you keep referring to his comments and have this obsession of trying to prove yourself in this forum.

    Another sign of lacking self confidence is bragging, which is your way of proving superiority over others. Perhaps that’s why you are always mentioning irrelevant personal information in your contributions, such as “my son said this,” or “I told my son that,” etc.

    Get over Bush Tea’s comment and stop trying so hard to prove yourself.


  • So much for agreeing to disagree.

    My man, when I mention my son it is just to illustrate my point by personal experience. And so was my mention of Bush Tea’s comments. And i did say that I disagreed with Bush Tea’s assessment of women. My point was that even a man who was predisposed to dismissing the arguments of women did not find me to be emotional in my arguments.

    Now, my mention of personal information is actually a real female trait, not a lack of self-esteem. Simple Simon does it. (Think she has low self-esteem?) Sunny Sunshine does it. It’s how women relate. And apparently some men too – how about Piece and his grandson. GP often tells us what breakfast his “‘best a man can get” wife made for him. TheOgazzerts talks glowingly of his big and beautiful “rock “of a wife” Makes fun about his mother-in-law coming to visit. As I have stated before I could write a bio on most of you including what type of vehicle YOU drive (except that I can’t remember what you said but only that you said it). I know that you are not married, unless you did it recently. I know that your girlfriend has her own vehicle. That was an exchange between you and Bush Tea that really wasn’t relevant. You guys are really not self-aware.

    Funny sort of obsession that allows me to take months and even years away at times. In fact I have only recently returned after months away. I have no Facebook presence. I do not post pictures or information about myself or my son on Instagram. I have no Twitter presence. If I wanted attention and to prove myself superior I would do like the others and make up a fake life, complete with pictures and compete for likes and friends or whatever the hell they do there.

    The fact is that I have always enjoyed a passionate argument. You men do it. I claim equals – personal points of illustration and all!.

    I do not come here to prove myself. I do however have opinions. And I do at times try to prove them.

    We all do!

    PS: I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist returning to take extremely nasty swipes at me. You are a low blow man. My advice to you is – now that you have diagnosed me, perhaps you should do the same for yourself.

    Now I have to go and get MY SON started on work to upgrade his average CXC results. He is a good boy with a good head on his shoulders with respect to life choices but he has a little difficulty really focussing on book work. Does THAT count as bragging, do you think????

    Now enough of you! You may have the last nasty word. Let’s PROVE who has the most self-control! Let’s PROVE who has the obsessive need to PROVE himself superior!

    Ciao, baby!


  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    @ArtaxSeptember 18, 2019 6:15 AM “I never claimed to know everything. Unlike you, I’m not a pantomath. And unlike you, I don’t ramble on and on and on. Why do you keep harping on what Bush Tea mentioned to you? Seems as though his comments have affected you psychologically or exposed your low self esteem.”

    Bush Tea is a misogynist. And the hard part for me is that Bushie is very likely now feasting at the trough provided by the taxpayers. HALF of whom are female. So he don’t feel women are good enough to talk to, but he has no difficulty living offa their earnings?

    That is immoral.

    And there is a name for men who live offa immoral earnings.

    It begins with “P”


  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    Won’t get into the pensions/benefits/grants argument.

    Because I believe that too many people who are paid by the tax payers are going off “medical”

    I don’t believe that they are all too sick, or to disabled to work.

    We don’t hear of so many people in the private sector going off “medical”

    When I was young and beautiful a cop approached me for a date, and who knows it might have led to something else. But when he at 29, told me he was “looking to go off medical”

    I ghosted him.


    Ghosted=Ghosting is breaking off a relationship by stopping all communication and contact with the partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.


  • Simple Simon,

    Quite true that a lot of people are able to work but probably not full time or they might need to be retrained for a different job. The legislation needs to be examined. Some of the ailments slow one down rather than make one an invalid. Some people could work part time and have their income supplemented rather than be termed invalids unable to work at all.

    Why was your cop looking to come off medically unfit? One does have to go through a medical board. There must be some basis for the decision. Police work is not the average work. The standard is applied to fit the type of work one engages in.


  • SirSimpleSimon

    I agree with you that several unscrupulous individuals are opting to retire from work medically unfit.

    Whereas as 11.10% is deducted from a “temporary” (T) or “regular” (R) employee’s salary/wages and paid to the NIS, a “permanent” (P) public sector employee’s deduction is 9.80%.

    The “R” or “T” employees’ deductions are a bit more because they pay 6.75% towards the NIS and 0.75% to unemployment, while a “P” employee pays 6.20% to the NIS and there isn’t any deduction for unemployment, which would be obvious.

    In the public sector, “appointed” or “permanent” employees can remain on sick leave up to one year with pay, after which their continued employment in the service is determined by the medical board. Unfortunately, for private sector employees, they have to rely on sickness benefits until such time they meet with the medical board.

    There is a friend of mine who worked with her employer for 40 years before retiring medically unfit, because of arthritis in her left leg, which made continuing in the job extremely difficult. She was receiving a survivor’s benefit, which was abated immediately after she “came out medical.” So, she did not have any income for the 3 months it took NIS personnel to work out her benefit. It would have been longer if not for assistance. Another unfortunate situation in her case was her employer was not entitled to, as we would say, “pay her out.” That is left to the discretion of the employer.

    A few years ago, police officers injured on the job were paid an injury benefit for the duration of their sick leave in addition to their salaries. Changes were made because they exploited the system. I know of several police and fire officers who have retired medically unfit, through “fair or foul means.” One of the most used methods is back injury. There was an officer who fell off of two motor cycles and hit a patrol vehicle “risking at coming out medical.” He would wear a collar when it was convenient.

    There are people who become fed up of their job, but do not want to resign and look for another job…… or they do not have any desire to work elsewhere…….and would decide “to risk a thing at coming out medical.” This is a known fact.

    The reality is, people will always find a way to manipulate the system. Some fail, while others succeed.


  • SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife

    @DonnaSeptember 20, 2019 11:12 AM “Why was your cop looking to come off medically unfit?”

    Don’t know.

    i was thinking “sweet man” maybe?

    I did not stick around long enough to find out.


  • Simple Simon,

    There will always be those who manage somehow to manipulate the system but my experience is that one is examined by several doctors . Private or QEH doctors, NIS doctors and Medical Board doctors before one is allowed to retire medically unfit. One cannot simply say one’s back is hurting without being able to show an underlying cause. I am friends right now with a lady whose back injury is questioned by people just because they see her out and about. The lady lives with her busy student daughter in a neighbourhood where she has not established any close ties, She gets the blues being at home and so she goes out practically every day either to the beach (that actually helps), or line dancing or some other moderate activity. When the pain is too much she stays at home in bed. When it eases a little she’s off again. Just because she grins and keeps a stiff upper lip the reality of her injury is questioned. But I know of the days when she is unable to move. I know the money she has spent with doctors and therapists with very little hope of recovery since her lawyers are giving her the runaround.

    It is obviously and understandably the case however, that public sector workers with pensions will give up on working much faster than those who have no such pension due. Private sector workers will grin and bear it because they may have no real choice.


  • @ Donna

    I read where you told Artax about proving who has the most self control and about having an obsessive need to prove himself correct.

    However, I also read his contribution and did not see him say that sonebody can retire medically unfit simply by saying their back is hurting.

    I understood what he meant. I know of several people who used back injury as a means to come out. Obviously, there would be underlying causes as you said and they would have to go through a series of medical evaluations before they can come out medically unfit. Although he did go into details, it was inferred.

    Then you went, on and on and on. It is clear you think that he does not know what he’s talking about. We can also say that you have no self control and have an obsession with proving your self correct too, because you saw the need to return here to try to prove him wrong instead of letting his comments pass. A more mature and less thin skinned person would have done so.

    I agree that you often try much too hard to prove yourself here and want a free pass because you are a female.

    Just a little friendly advice, relax a bit.


  • Robert Goren,

    The issue was dead. Artax and I have both moved on and so I will not address that argument. What I will say is this –

    Just a little friendly advice – when you feel like talking shite about people you do not know and who did not address you – DON’T!

    PS.. I love a passionate argument. It is cathartic. It relaxes me.

    As MY SON said to me just recently, “You do you and I will do me.”

    And what harm does it really do for me to do me on BU that would cause there to be a need for advice. Why do you men always feel that you need to advise me? Have I tried to advise you for the nonsense you often post?

    Piss off!

    That was cathartic too! And now I am relaxed.


  • Any other man want a piece???????????? You do so stick together in your sexism!


  • The issue of failing rate of nurses at BCC has finally surfaced in the traditional media. Better late than never.


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