Tag Archives: Jeff Broomes

Is Big Brother Listening to YOU?

Submitted by St George’s Dragon
What happened to the surveillance equipment used by CWC?

What happened to the surveillance equipment used by CWC?

The big news in the USA and UK is about their Governments tapping into the internet service providers and having access to all the emails, Skype calls, photos etc., that go through Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and the other technology companies.

What about Barbados?

Will our Government tell us what access it has to our private data? No, of course not. Will our press seek out the truth as happened in the USA and UK? I don’t think so. So it is left to us, the public, to piece together the facts about what goes on behind the scenes in Barbados. Here is my starter for ten.

There have been rumours in the past of phone tapping relating to Jeff Broomes, Hal Gollop and a senior officer in the BPF. Although the Hal Gollop case was referred to the police, unsurprisingly I don’t remember seeing any conclusion to this or the other cases.

It is fairly common knowledge that some security systems were put in place at the time of the World Cup Cricket in 2007 although the headline was focused on a “blimp” which apparently no longer works. It is also known that there is a Command and Control centre in the District A Police Station grounds although what it does is not clear. One of the floors was rumoured to have been fitted out by or for an Israeli company. An Israeli company was also linked to the cameras which appeared on the south coast a while ago. Whether that is the same company is not clear, although the odds are that it is likely to be.

So is Big Brother listening in? What other information do you know?

To Alexandra and Back: A DEFINING MOMENT For the DLP Government?

Submitted by Yardbroom
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

In arriving at a just determination, when a plethora of evidence must be examined by a properly constituted tribunal,  it is often best to decide first on what can be agreed on.  In the Alexandra issue it is agreed – or appears – that the problems there started before the term of this DLP Government.  However, when elected to government  problems should be solved which you inherited, that is the nature of being elected to govern.  So the problems despite their history must be solved by this administration.

In the first instance  Prime Minister Freundel Stuart stood back and was criticised for so doing.  With a cabinet consisting of Ministers with portfolios in charge of respective departments, they are expected to discharge their responsibilities.  A Prime Minister should not be seen as a dictator, he must allow his ministers an opportunity to make decisions.  When the problem of Alexandra appeared intractable the Prime Minister agreed to meet with BSTU and if the speech made by them after the meeting is to be believed, they were listened to.  In politics being cordially welcomed and politely listened to does not always mean an agreement with your stated position.

The Prime Minister decided having listened to the complex issues involved, to go the route of a Commission Of Inquiry.  Here (On BU) there was “some”  disagreement with this course of action.  However, this decision gave the electorate to whom the Government is ultimately responsible an opportunity to learn first hand of the issues involved and form an impression – on the plausibility of evidence – of the major players giving evidence before the Commission.

Why is Alexandra important?

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Alexandra School Dispute: Remembering the Children

The wonderful sight of teacher and pupil reunited at the Alexandra School - Photo credit Barbados Advocate

The wonderful sight of teacher and pupil reunited at the Alexandra School – Photo credit Barbados Advocate

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enoughLao Tzu

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is defined as all “the  final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time”. Can BU draw a parallel and define the well being of a country by the quality of key decisions made by the  ‘leaders’ in a given period?

The debate which continues to gain traction in Barbados is about the Alexandra dispute and related issues. It has displaced discussion about the upcoming general election, and significantly, a conversation about the state of the economy. If one were to ask any educated Barbadian what issue should be occupying the attention of the country, the answer should be ‘managing the economy’. It does not mean that all the issues at play in the country should be ignored, just that the exigencies of now require priority planning how we allocate resources.

Tension at the Alexandra School has peaked and troughed since 2005, surely an indictment on the management system with oversight for education. Many problems currently being wrestled by the government have straddled both political parties and different personnel in the public service. What it exposes is a rotten core which drives decision making in Barbados.

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Industrial Climate In Barbados Heats Up As a General Election Approaches

Thanks to traditional media for helping us to do a pulse check of the industrial climate in Barbados today (7 January 2013).

  • The Barbados Workers Union (BWU) has threatened to shut down the country if LIME refuse to return to the negotiating table after sending home 97 workers last week.
  • Jeff Broomes has been reported to be on sick leave suffering from hypertension and did not report to his new posting today.
  • BSTU reports that the 18 teachers will report to headquarters until the ministry of education withdraw the transfer letters.

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.

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Poor Judgment by Public Service Commission

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

The supposed conclusion to the long-running Alexandra debacle appears to have caused more problems than it would have solved. Some might argue, and I am tempted to agree, that the resolution imposed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) has solved nothing. It would appear that the PSC attempted to settle the internecine warfare that was being waged for years by awarding neither side a victory.

The cowardly solution has resulted in over twenty teachers, including all but one of Alexandra’s management team, being transferred and scattered throughout the Teaching Service. It has proven to be unpopular with a majority of those involved in this unsightly mess. Also, it would appear that the PSC did not consider or paid blatant disregard to the harm their actions would be inflicting on the students who are about to take examinations. The teachers will get over the effects of the transfers with time; but the harm inflicted on the children is potentially devastating on those 4th, 5th and 6th form students whose future could very well be affected.

The harm to the education system and the children aside, the justice system in this country could be irreparably damaged by the fallout from the ill-advised actions of the PSC. The Waterman Commission made recommendations for limited transfers, but unfortunately, the PSC went overboard and transferred/punished most, if not all, of the teachers that appeared before the commission of inquiry as witnesses.

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Alexandra Solution or Confusion?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me – Pastor Martin Niemoeller

They have come for Jeff Broomes, and as a trade unionist, I must speak out before they come for me. From the outset, let me state that I am not defending Broomes because I think that he is guiltless. In Barbados, everyone, even Jeff Broomes, is innocent until he pleads guilty or guilt is established after a duly constituted body makes that determination after hearing the evidence, and giving the accused the right to be heard. I am therefore concerned that the Public Service Commission (PSC) has taken steps against him, under the guise of a transfer, before it follows the rules in order to establish his guilt or innocence.

The Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) has achieved its goal of separating the Principal from Alexandra School; but they have nothing to rejoice about when you consider the way it was done. I hope that the membership of the union is sensible enough to condemn the method that was adopted by the PSC. BSTU should vociferously disassociate itself from the denial of due process to Mr. Broomes. Even murderers who kill in front of witnesses are given the right to be heard before sentence is pronounced. In essence, he has fewer rights than a murderer.

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Jeff Broomes TRANSFERRED – Alexandra Dispute Matter Revisited: The Waterman Report

The following is a critique of the Alexandra Inquiry matter by Senior Law Lecturer at the University of the West Indies Jeff Cumberbatch and a BU family member.

Senior Law Lecturer Jeff Cumberbatch - reproduced from the Barbados Advocate - 04 October 2009

Senior Law Lecturer Jeff Cumberbatch – reproduced from the Barbados Advocate – 04 October 2009

There is an English equivalent, but the French, in their own inimitable way, put it so much more elegantly: “Plus ça change, plus la même chose” – the more things change, the more they remain the same. This might have been the exact sentiment of more than a few objective bystanders after the public release of the report of the Waterman Commission of Inquiry into the Alexandra School. From all accounts, those who were, before the report – see WATERMAN REPORT, in favour of the censure of Mr. Jeff Broomes, the principal, for his alleged misdeeds, now feel a sense of vindication by the report that has recommended, inter alia, his “separation” from that institution. On the other hand, those who were firmly in his corner previously and of the view that he had done nothing wrong, have chosen to reject the commission’s findings in that regard. These opinions are to be expected. But what of the report itself? Has the commission really achieved its objective after the comparatively substantial sums spent on its production?

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Workers Misrepresentation, Who Benefits?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Recently the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Dale Marshall, accused the National Union of Public Workers of playing politics. That caused me to reflect on the state of trade union representation in this country and wonder if the accusation was true for other unions. A comparison of the roles played by the unions during different political administrations would suggest that Marshall had justifiable reasons to come to his conclusion. During the DLP administration, you tend to get the impression that unions are bending over backward to accommodate the Government. When the BLP is in office, unions tend to be a bit more active which can be attributed to the fact that most union leaders appear to favour the DLP.

From inception workers have been complaining that the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) has not been acting in the best interest of workers, and that it has been used to keep workers quiet while the employers and Government, as the other members of the so called Social Partnership, gained at the expense of the workers. The list below which speaks for itself represents most of the major actors who played pivotal roles in the formation and continued existence of CTUSAB, and others who were active in their individual unions:

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The Silly Season Is Upon Us

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank/ Watchdog Group
Owen Arthur, Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley MP, Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Owen Arthur, Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley MP, Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

The so-called silly season is upon us. Once more, sooner or later, Barbadians will elect a new BLP/DLP government. Or a new DLP/BLP government. It’s six of one and half dozen of the other.

We can predict that none of the manifestos will contain any of the following:

(a) Radical reform of the educational system and the abolishment of the elitist Eleven Plus Exam, which continues to condemn our children to the equivalent of social and economic gas chambers.

(b) Neither will contain the slightest reference to genuine worker/employee participation in company profits. We have mega businesses that either giving the workers peanuts or nothing at all in terms of real ownership.

(c) Neither will touch land reform that will guarantee perpetual state ownership by the citizens of Barbados. The BLP/DLP has sold our prime land to the highest bidders. On the other hand a few rich locals control most if not all arable land.

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