Submitted by Neil Watchman
BCC staff members are still in the dark as to why after three top posts Principal: Deputy Principal and Registrar, were advertised in November 2015, no one has been appointed to any of these posts. Of course, only in two of these appointments does anyone seriously expect any surprises. The Board wasted no time in giving Mr. Roger Worrell, a well known DLP supporter, an acting appointment to the post of Registrar. Anyone who knows Barbados well would understand what will happen next.
With regard to the post of Deputy Principal it is anybody’s guess. Someone once commented that the BCC has never had any Deputy Principal worth shouting about. The current acting incumbent is Head of Computer Studies, a department which he has managed to run into the ground so that far from being a Division with excess applications it is now under-patronized and private sector companies that once snapped up graduates of this department now speak disparagingly of it.
In stark contrast, staff of the UWI Open Campus have been enlightened since 2015 because they have received a letter explaining that the Board of the BCC has requested that Dr. Ian Austin be released on secondment to assume the post of principal of the Barbados Community College. I wish to query the wisdom of this move by the Board.
My beef with the appointment of Dr. Austin is not personal; it is principled. How so? Anybody who has seriously studied the fiasco that was UCB (of which the BCC was an integral part) knows that it was betrayed by double-crossing sycophants like Bobby Morris – excuse me! – His Excellency Robert Morris, a cast of UWI hypocrites – yes UWI – who sat on the various committees and one Patrick Rowe (former head of the UCB project office) who, if the Anansi stories are have any moral at all, would be better off cloning himself so that he could hopefully finish anything that he is put in charge of or initiates. Careful analysis will show that once the UCB project was sabotaged, the UWI, always behind the BCC with regard to the development of curriculum, seized the initiative and ran with it like Usain Bolt.
Dr. Austin is head of the Open Campus which competes directly with the BCC. It is no secret to those who are in the know that the OC tried to duplicate many of the programmes run by the BCC. Of course they failed miserably at first but thanks to shrewd marketing viz. advertising, they have convinced many that they are doing well.
One could understand if Dr. Austin had had good reason to leave the OC for example, because of a falling out with the UWI hierarchy or some similar reason. The letter, however, states that he is to be hired on a secondment basis; in simple terms this means that at the end of whatever period he will be returning to the OC. What he will do with the intimate knowledge of BCC gained during his secondment there can be guessed by anyone with a morsel of common sense, except maybe, the BCC Board- which effectively is Mr. Reginald Broome, head of Systems Caribbean.
Are we being unfair to Mr. Broome! Absolutely not. How do you: (a) cause the Fine Arts department in an institution like the BCC to lose a cool 1/4 million dollars in overseas grant financing (2) bungle the firing of the last incompetent principal (3) preside over the Nigerian students fiasco and now (4) hire your competitor on terms that appear inimical to your interest and still qualify as having common sense? My Sweet Lord!
But can we really blame Mr. Broome? Not really. Blame must rest fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the Minister of Education, Ronald Jones and by extension, Mr. Freundel Stuart who does not have the guts to move the demon-chasing, shallow-minded, half-literate alleged transvestite that inhabits the post of Minister of Education and who has allowed the BCC to be run into the ground. What Mr. Jones needs is for the ghost of Errol Barrow to haunt him every night all the way to Garrison Savannah where he may find some reprieve in the company of people like Muscle Cat! Mr. Freundel Stuart, on the other hand, has gotten more than he ever expected and is not prepared to jeopardize it! But I digress.
If Dr. Austin does take up the position at BCC I can only wish him well. He is going to need it with the likes of Mr. Broome who needs to spend some quality time on the couch of one of our best shrinks with the aim of ridding himself of the control issues which he has. And what about resources? Unless the Board has been holding out on the BCC staff, or worst still, “redirecting funds” due to the institution, then Dr. Austin will have a real challenge instituting systemic quality in the institution. (Frankly, I would wager on “redirecting funds” because this would easily explain why the BCC has gotten a campus wi-fi but other infrastructure such as toilets, windows, doors, air-conditioning and simple electrical sockets remain untouched).
Of course, my analysis could be all wrong and it may be that Dr. Austin will not return to the OC. In that case, more power to BCC!