According to media reports, the meeting between Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart and the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) to resolve the Alexandra imbroglio ended with a promise of more meetings late last night. Further reports suggest that Principal Jeff Broomes did not receive ‘official’ communication from the ministry of education about the meeting.
After four and one half hours at Bay Street yesterday the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn by John Public is that the 30 teachers remain persuaded by the Prime Minister that dialogue is healthy in the circumstances. Whether the reason for the impasse is legitimate or not most Barbadians have become ‘ticked-off’ at how protracted this matter has become. In any industrial dispute there is a time period which is considered reasonable before the hammer drops. Clearly in the Alexandra matter that time has long passed.
Although it is easy to be sympathetic to Prime Minister Stuart given the large number of issues which currently command his attention, the Alexandra dispute involves children, and despite the placatory offerings from some involved in solving the matter, it must be adversely affecting them. Listening to many parents of the affected children it must be a very emotional time especially if we factor the challenging economic times we have to exist.
Then there is the political fallout going into an election year which makes the inability of government to resolve the Alexandra matter quickly a rising concern. Yes BU understands that it is the Public Service Commission (PSC) which must act if the route to solving the problem is to remove Broomes from the school. This appears to be clearly the path of the Prime Minister. If this is the case then the BSTU finds itself in a situation where there is little they can expect the Prime Minister to do in the short term. The wheels of government bureaucracy has never been known to impress by its speed to action. The newly appointed PSC probably needs time to familiarize itself with its work.
One would reasonably have expected after the meeting at Bay Street last night, and given the concerns for/by students and parents, a brief communication to the media to allay obvious fears was a necessity. BU however has come to appreciate that our political leaders prefer to create information vacuums which give reason for the PEOPLE to speculate. Doesn’t make sense but …With talk shows and social media on the rise, Prime Minister Stuart can be assured of one thing, Barbadians will be talking about this matter some more in the days to come.
Enough is enough!