Ministry Breaking the Law!

Submitted by Paula Sealy
Chief Education Officer – Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw

According to Section 42 of the Charities Act mandatory audited financial statements are required of charitable organisations. According to subsection 6 any person who fails to do so is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1000 or imprisonment for 6 months and an additional fine of $100 for every day during which the offence continues after a conviction is first obtained.

This seems reasonable enough.

What seems unreasonable in comparison is how the boards of public secondary schools are getting away with murder where the public purse is concerned. According to section 10 of the Education Regulations the Board shall, not later than 30th September in each year, or such later date as the Minister approves cause its accounts for the preceding financial year to be audited, and prepared for that financial year, in such manner as the Minister approves.

There is no mention of any fine or imprisonment at all.

The last published report of the Auditor General revealed only two public secondary schools filed statements for the financial year ended 31 March 2020.

Will the chairmen of the boards of management of public secondary school boards be made to follow the law? Is it because they are appointed by friends and family in Cabinet that these boards can spend as they please? Are these boards exempt from the Financial Administration and Audit Act?

Why does Government want to punish crooked charities but not crooked boards and board members who are responsible for millions of taxpayers’ dollars each year?

The last DLP government published the Gazette free online but this BLP government wants us to pay to see the public information in the Gazette. Where is the Freedom of Information Act? God knows who is on the school boards since they were appointed. [Emphasis – Blogmaster]

Auditor General, Leigh Trotman

Since there is one representative each from the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, the Ministry of Education and each secondary school’s Parent Teacher Association on every board there are explanations to be made about how the money is spent in the schools by those members too.

Instead of ensuring the Education Regulations are respected the Ministry of Education allows taxpayers’ money to be spent with no reporting by the school boards. This was happening before the government changed in 2018.

What has been done to stop the slackness since then? Nuff money done spend and audits ain’t [wben] even start yet. This is financial slackness but then the same government wants us to tighten our belts. Does the Minister approve boards not reporting? Does Cabinet support the spending without account?

In the meantime, we can look forward to another report from the Office of the Auditor General to lay out the infelicities of the last financial year.

Over to you, Mr. Leigh Trotman.

See Related/Relevant Links:


Submitted by Paula Sealy

Are there still only two social workers and one senior psychologist working in the education ministry for all the secondary and primary schools? In 2018 the Prime Minister announced that a special scheme would be implemented which would see the introduction of school safety officers, social workers and guidance counsellors. No wonder the guidance counsellors were under pressure back then (

An ad for guidance counsellors was placed in the Gazette two years ago (Volume 154, No 69, p 970, Aug 26, 2019).
Since then the Minister of Education said that her ministry had placed ads for school safety officers and guidance counsellors for the start of the school term (Barbados Advocate, Safety officers to be hired, 5 Sep 2019, p3).
Two months later, schoolboy Temario Holder was killed at Frederick Smith Secondary School but that has not been enough to get one safety officer posted in one school in Barbados. We got a non-violence march led by the minister shortly after that and COVID monitors since then.
Last week there was some news on the extra guidance counsellors ( 

The ads for social workers were in the Gazette two years ago (Volume 154, No 71, p 1014, Sep 2, 2019).
Students graduate every year from Cave Hill with degrees in Social Work. Many of them find it hard to get jobs where they can use their degrees and training. They are qualified and there is a need for them. Are they capable of working in our schools today? 

The social workers have already spoken ( 
Where are the school safety officers and social workers today?

SCHOOL SAFETY IS A JOKE Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary in Lascelles Terrace has been condemned. And the principal from there died last year. Now the management and the staff are scrambling like Winston Hall in the St. Joseph gullies hiding from the police (

Santia Bradshaw was the MP for the area since 2013 and the Minister of Education since the last elections. BUT president Pedro Shepherd was at Wilkie for more than 30 years now and a union man for a long time. 

If not for bad representation there would be no representation at all with Wilkie Cumberbatch. Teachers are getting a raw deal all around, parents and children are getting a raw deal from the minister. And not only at Wilkie because another school might be condemned by next month. 

Wesley Hall should know. 

Ode to Education

Submitted by Paula Sealy

It looks like a turnstile
Could be real useful
In the admin section
Down by the river.

All the Payne may cause Elsie
To turn in her grave.
Education can ‘give’ you a Complex
People are now saying.

Rudder-less and Price-y
There is also less Joy.
Never mind this was
To be the Best of times.

The Shepherd is quiet
And the Redman is silent.
The unions are mute
And teachers cuffuffled.

Let Dr. Archer know
As she comes to the crease
That doctorates don’t save anybody
From becoming M.I.A.

Dr. Morris take fresh guard.
Bobby can no longer
Pull rank and call a big shot.
All it is now is stress and more pressure.

Whether or not Colin
Takes over the wheel
He could pray to St. Stephen
The reins could still go to Dr. Browne

Principals Parris and Saul are retired,
Looking at the flames being fanned.
After extinguishing the fire of 2011,
In 2021, it is all burning down.

Governance in Barbados

Submitted by Paula Sealy

We last had as many as 4000 students write the 11+ in 2003. Therefore it is possible that there are actually fewer students in the education system today than 10 or 15 years ago. However while some primary and secondary schools are overcrowded others remain below capacity.

The 2010 National Advisory Committee on Education (NACE) report addresses the subject of the size and layout of public schools. The NACE remains part and parcel of the Education Act, under section 6, and the functions of the Advisory Board are outlined in section 14 of the Education Regulations.

Under the current administration, instead of convening the Advisory Board or Committee, we have been presented with an Education Reform Unit because the prevailing conditions must be thoroughly investigated. This may suggest some measure of inconsistency in matters of governance.

As was recommended by the Waterman Commission in 2012 – and highlighted as one of the three main recommendations by PM Stuart in August of that year – there is a need for the managerial reorganisation of the education ministry. Another of Waterman’s recommendation, which Stuart highlighted was to amend the Education Regulations (1982) and Act (1983).

Instead of investing in further evaluation and the implementation of these recommendations, the last administration dragged its feet despite its admirable investment in the NACE, Waterman Commission etc.

Regarding the inconsistencies of the present administration in matters of governance, unlike the affairs of education, where the transition to a republic is concerned we are to be content with embracing the 1979 Cox report and the 1998 Forde report. The reports of the NACE and Waterman Commission, though of a much more recent vintage, are trumped by the mandate of the Reform Unit to investigate the status quo.

We are clearly under a culture of government which gravitates towards dysfunction, duplication and wastage regardless of which political party forms the government of Barbados.

Ronald Jones Still Jonesing

Submitted by Paula Sealy

Ronald Jones could talk because he went on leave after the 30-love. He could talk because he has a fat pension as a former minister in Cabinet. He may not remember but he was the minister who saw teachers’ leave stopped in 2014 in the first place.

A Government Dedicated to Making Announcements

Submitted by Paula Sealy

The Barbados Statistical Service (BSS) has launched its new website bearing several new features, including a page designated to provide updates on the National Population and Housing Census, scheduled to begin August 1, 2021.

Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, says her ministry will be constructing a new school to accommodate the staff and students of the St. Mark’s Primary School.

A national census is used to gather information which will guide the provision of services such as housing, health, education etc, and the resources which will be necessary.

How does education manage to determine there is a need for primary schools in any particular parish or parishes?

What other decisions is the current government making based on figures from the 2010 national census?

What purpose is the 2021 national census to serve when government is committed to its plans to continue to be driven by 11-year-old data?

We know there is a problem with implementation in the public service. Public officers take the blame. But they are not the policymakers who push through decisions and policies before a national census is completed. It is this type of policy-making which yields fewer benefits due to poor decision-making.

Why not wait until the info is collected in the census? What is the hurry? Is it all about making announcements? Are the decision and policy less important?

Respect Due to Teachers!

Submitted by Paula Sealy

While work is being done to beautify the Constitution River, there is an urgent need for work to be done in the nearby Elsie Payne complex to repair the wreckage and destruction.

Minister Jones and Par. Sec. Harry were gone with the elections on 24 May 2018. Less than two weeks later, PS June Chandler was transferred. In the turnstile behind her in a short were Janet Phillips and Sandra Phillips soon to be followed through the door by Chief Education Officer Best.

Yet the ministry still cannot get the education train on the right track with all those changes. Check the current policymakers and decision-makers. Let them tell the public how many Bounce Back volunteers there have been. 

Let the education bosses tell us how come the BCC, SJPI and secondary school boards continue to get money, in many cases, without accounting for the money spent in the last 5 years. Cabinet, help the Auditor General to do more than report the bad practices.

So who do we blame? Not the teachers, I tell you! Not the former government alone. And COVID is not a plaster for every sore.

Face it and fix it. What mirror image do we see of ourselves? Something has to give.

We are tired of the talk of the lost decade. When education has lost its way, as it has, there is more than a decade at stake.

All we see is a mess and the messy hands proclaiming their cleanliness and innocence while their political fingerprints are plainly visible.

But teachers cannot and do not get the respect due to them in this society. Every child matters, yes, but even a dog is due respect.

When we mistreat teachers, we disregard the first line of authority figures. Who will be disregarded next?

May God save us.

Education: MORE REFORM

Submitted by Paula Sealy

There was notice of the formation of a 20-member National Advisory Committee on Water this month. Whether or not the composition of the Committee was disclosed, at least we know it is not a committee of one.

Barring the fact that its Director has been identified, who are the members of the Education Reform Unit? Is the new Unit a committee of one? 

Exactly how does the Unit propose to help provide for a more co-ordinated and effective system of education related to the needs of the people of Barbados?

Have terms of reference been formulated by the Unit? If so, precisely who would have drafted the terms? 

A team of one, ten or twenty? Who knows?

The Act addresses the “Central Administration” of education under Part 1. In Section 6 it speaks very specifically to the establishment of the National Advisory Commission on Education (NACE).

Has the NACE been replaced by the Unit? Is the Unit to do more than merely advise?

The Unit has already disclosed the planned introduction of a Lower 1st in the secondary school system. When I entered secondary school in the 1980s, I was surprised to learn of the presence of a Lower 1st back in the 1950s. The concept of Lower 1st is therefore not an innovation. 

A Lower 1st programme has also existed in at least one secondary school for at least twenty years. (Some of those students’ parents viewed it as an additional stigma their child could do without, as opposed to additional support, while the trained remedial personnel lack the resources and administrative support at time.)

With CXC results due to be released in late September or early October, Unit 1 students will commence CAPE studies later than before. Will there be any adjustments to the syllabus of the CAPE programmes for 2021/2022?

Will the local ministry, COHSOD and CXC wait until March 2022 to recognise problems affecting that cohort of CAPE candidates?

Will students who opt to defer be repeating the year physically in school or compelled to undertake “self study” as has been stated at staff meetings held at various secondary schools?

Educate Ourselves

Submitted by RA in the West

As Barbados is about to embark on the latest nine day wonder namely the shooting death of the young policemen and the cries from all and sundry for tougher laws, hangings, getting back to god etc.  we are trapped in the circular conversation which will bring no solutions and just the usual bluster from pundits (political and otherwise).

There is only one solution (quite a simple one) for the myriad ills that plague this society however their must be great intestinal fortitude by the political directorate if we are to be successful. We are a people who have been taught to hate ourselves, the outcome of the miseducation that continually churns out societally dysfunctional persons for nation building but functional for this system to maintain and refine itself. The solution of which we speak is EDUCATION. We have gone far and wide adding various ‘reforms’ to the educational system but to no avail as we are doomed to failure continually forcing Eurocentric and now Asiatic systems, beliefs and models on African people. We have truly lost our minds – as a collective and as individuals -please ponder on that. We haven’t tried it because those who have some modicum of control over our children’s education must show more courage and actually believe that the end result will be a well-rounded citizen. This journey will have to begin at nursery school extending to tertiary education and lifelong learning – I do not mean the celebration of ‘black history month’, African Day and other nonsensical tokenism given by those who only confuse us. We must chart our journey now. The Europeans make 100 year plans we however struggle to make a 5 year one but this is to be expected as this is what the system produces and replicates. 

As an example, one of my children having entered third form in secondary school presented his history book ‘The People Who Came’ to me and shook his head – skimming through I was shocked, this was a book first published in 1970 and replete with mis-information. A total Eurocentric view, Europe reigned supreme, Africa and other nonwhite peoples of the world are characterized as backward. Africans enter the picture as slaves in the ‘new world’. If we continually programme our children with self-hate, what do we expect to happen. What would happen if you teach children the truth of their existence that they were the first persons to walk this earth, the ones who created the sciences, writing systems, who built the first cities whose manta everywhere we went was ‘man know thyself’ – a testament to the life dedicated to learning.

Please have the vision to go forth and recapture our glory

APB for Minister Santia Bradshaw, Police, Teachers and Parents

Submitted by Paula Sealy

We are listening.

The silence on this brawl is no less troubling or unsettling than the brawl itself.

Two years ago the minister asked the police to do their job should teachers strike students. When students strike students where is the outcry for the police to do their job?

What have the teachers’ unions to say?

Where is their leadership?

Leadership is lacking across the education system. It is time for the minister to do her job.

We are watching.

We continue to listen.


Submitted by Pachamama

We have become well use to, in politics, elected dictatorships masquerading as democracies in the Caribbean. However, there are other formations within the miseducation system, amongst the top corporations, civil society and elsewhere. Of course, there are interlocking connections between and amongst these.

The University of the West Indies has long pretended to be a strict adherent to the notion that special dispensations were not ever to be given, especially relating to matters of contracts, tenure, retirement, appointments and so forth. It was supposedly to be about the maintenance of exemplary academic standards.

That normal university rules would not, for example, allow a vice chancellor to serve beyond age 65, or there about, far less permit the university’s highest operational manager to extend his service to over the age of 70 with a six year renewal, which the recent disclosures will mean.

When any one person, entirely based on a vicious respectability ethos, which Hilary Beckles himself has substantially erected, is guided by the notion that there can be nobody in the region, or from amongst the diaspora, possessing the skills, competencies and capabilities to replace him, we are not just bordering on a dictatorial impulse but are exhibiting degenerative, full blown, dictatorial tendencies in the very place where critical interrogation should be the hallmark.

This is the same Beckles who misguidedly declared that the last election victory of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was a ‘Mottley revolution’. Where is that revolution? It can be only found within the context of his budgetary position as he seeks to promote backwardness at Cave Hill and elsewhere at a heightened industrial scale not dissimilar to the production of widgets.

This is the same Beckles who still fails to see that it is a moral crime, double, to distil the sacred sacrifices of our ancestors into pottage for the miseducation of Caribbean peoples. There has been no permissions granted him by this descendant of Afrikan slaves to take property in our stead. Beckles in so doing is committing a crime which could never be forgiven. Certainly it is high time for a civil and/or criminal complaint be lodged in an international court of competent jurisdiction to stop Beckles and his ilk from selling-out our sacred ancestors. For the ultimate decision making body of the UWI to impose on Caribbean peoples six (6) more years of this tyrant speaks for itself. To presume dictatorship over the living is one calculation, but such desecrations of the sacrifices of the ancestors must not be permitted.

This is the same Beckles who, along with Owen Arthur – the late, Mia Mottley, Ralph Gonzales, an ‘influenced’ Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and others joined with the Modi-inspired PPP of Guyana to subvert the country’s political process in the interests of the State Department of the United States of America. This kind of interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign CARICOM state should qualify as a high crime, not rewarded with an ability to do more damage to the region over a longer period of time.

Hilary Beckles and his newly-found class of leading ‘blacks’ in the Caribbean continue to fail when measured by their inability to deliver us from any single one of the many intractable problems this region continues to face. Those who are expected to be lorded over should have a right, an expectation, that Beckles and the so-called elites would be able to move the needle forward, even an inch. The reverse is unfortunately a truism when petty dictators rule.

Difficult Conversations – Your Training Starts Now

Over the past two decades as an Employer, I have given a similar speech to all my employees.  I have never written it down before writing this article.  The current version goes something like this.

Welcome to our company.  You are here, because we believe that can become better at this job than we can.  Our job is to help you to do that.  Your job is to do your best – while we help you.


This is a professional environment.  The only environment that you have known, from primary school to university, is the academic environment.  In the academic environment, 70% may be a good exam mark, 80% may be very good, and 90% may be excellent.  Here, 99% is a fail.

In the professional environment, your work must consistently be 100% accurate.  If an engineer’s calculations are 99% correct, the building may collapse.  If an accountant’s calculations are 99% correct, the client may go bankrupt.  If a nurse’s or anesthetist’s calculations are 99% correct, the patient may die from being given an over-dose.


We will train you to consistently achieve 100% within four years.  You will learn to achieve 100% accuracy, by repeatedly correcting your work.  Your job is to do the work assigned to you, whether calculations, drawings, reports, or letters.  You will then bring your work to us.  We will review it, and give you our comments.  Then you will do it again, and again, until you get it right.

You may have to redo your work seven times, before it is ready to be given to our Clients.  Please do not get emotionally attached to your best efforts.  Otherwise, you may feel discouraged when your initial best efforts consistently require corrections.

Our hope is that you will come to appreciate, that we respect our Clients too much to give them substandard work.  We do not get paid until your work is given to our Clients.  We can easily do the work more efficiently by doing it ourselves, but we prefer to invest in your improvement.  So, value your training.


We started our professional careers in a similar way that you are now starting yours.  We know that there are things that you are unlikely to know now, for the simple reason that such things are normally learnt through experience.  Therefore, never be afraid to admit that you do not know.  Ask questions – so that we may train you better.

This method of training takes intentional humility on your part.  Graduating from university with a bachelor, master, or doctorate degree, means that you have met the academic grade.  However, you are years away from meeting the professional grade.  So, you should willingly embrace, rather than resentfully resign to the training.


You will likely communicate with your fellow university graduates, who found employment with other companies, or the public service.  Do not be dismayed if you learn that they have been rapidly promoted to management and regulatory positions, while you are still being trained.

There are many companies and government agencies, that do not seem to understand the wide difference between academic and professional grades.  You will interact with their employees throughout your professional career.

When persons with academic qualifications are prematurely given professional responsibilities, there can only be sustained frustration for everyone with whom they interact and influence.  Do not get frustrated during such professional interactions.  This is an inefficient cost of doing business, that you must learn to accept.


You are not perfect; therefore, we expect you to make mistakes.  A mistake is to inadvertently send something to one of our Clients, that is not to a professional standard.  Whether that mistake is minor or major, you have one responsibility, and that it to admit your mistake to us – as soon as it is known to you.  It is our responsibility to get mistakes corrected.

There are no consequences to you for admitting your mistakes, regardless of whether they have minor or major consequences.  You will not be sanctioned for admitting a mistake – because we all make mistakes.  Instead, you will be trusted more.  You may be tempted to hide your mistakes, and hope that they will never be found.  They are always found.

There is only one on-the-spot fireable offence in this company, and that is hiding mistakes.  Doing so puts the Company at an unnecessary and unacceptable risk of harm.

So, welcome to the company.  As you persist with your training, you will build a stable foundation on which to support a successful professional career.  Your training starts now.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at

Education Reform a Must

Lost amid the noise of a struggling economy, navigating a pandemic and more recent ash fall from La Soufrière is the decision by the government to create the Education Reform Unit headed by Dr. Idamay Denny.

For many years commentators have been pleading with successive governments the urgent need to transform how we educate our citizens to ensure Barbados ride the crest of innovation in order to sustain global competitiveness. Increasingly the emergence of technology and other innovative approaches to create and distribute products and services demand we change how we prep our citizens.

The Education Reform Unit‘s mandate it has been reported is to formulate, implement, monitor and evaluate reform initiatives aimed at transforming the education sector. Lest we forget transforming the education system is listed in the 2018 Barbados Labour Party Manifesto. Unfortunately there is not much to be heard from the political and non governmental opposition besides the usual noise. In fairness to them the citizenry is blinkered and therefore divided on the issue of eduction reform. We content ourselves with debating if to discontinue the 11+.

Critics will argue several studies have been produced, why is it necessary to create a project unit. Others may suggest trying to create change from studies whose shelf life has expired is an exercise in futility. What the blogmaster accepts is that change is constant and change we must if we desire to remain comfortably in the saddle.

Covid 19 has further exposed the dysfunction in local operating and business models. The time is overdue to build consensus on educate our people to drive the change required to sustain ourselves. All of the changes we rail about daily will not happen by accident. The perquisite to change movement has to be triggered by thought leadership. We must create a culture in the country that is about fuelling ideas, fuelling knowledge capital and then executing the delivery of tasks to achieve a national objective that feeds our capacity to be globally competitive in order to comfortably support ourselves.

Items like teaching coding and robotics should have been integrated in the school curriculum a long time ago. When BU attempted to discuss the role digital currencies, cybersecurity and non traditional approaches to doing business in Barbados we solicited noise from the usual suspects. This is the global trending, we have no choice albeit late in the day to educated our citizens to ensure we are not left further behind.

The blogmaster extends best wishes to the success of the Education Reform Unit albeit.

School to Open, Teachers Want Back Pay

Minister Santia Bradshaw in a matter of fact delivery announced at a press briefing yesterday our school children will be returning to the classroom from the 20 April 2021. The expectation is for teachers to return on the 19 April, Class 3 and 4 at primary schools and fifth and sixth formers of secondary schools on the 20 April. The other students will benefit from classroom teaching 3 days and the other 2 days in online class room.

@Pedro Shepherd

It seems some teachers want to hear about monies docked in 2016 by former minister of education Ronald Jones. The following was received in the blogmaster’s inbox.

I understand the Ministry of Education is to pay back the money docked from teachers in 2016.

Teachers should have been informed about this. I would like the BUT to explain that to me today self. My money can’t afford to sleep out. I want back every cent of mine.

Mr. Shepherd and Ronald Jones were at war back then. I remember. People like me got caught up in it. By the time I recognised it was all a fight between them my pay was docked. Now they are friendsing in the DLP. But my money still tied up. 

Is your mouth tied up too, Mr. Shepherd? Right now you could talk chalk. I am not interested unless you tell me about my $350 first.