An Alexandra School teacher who met Principal Jeff Broomes’ via a friendship with his daughter is disappointed that he is being called the school head’s “spy” and “lackey”.
English teacher Adrian Allman said while he had taken no sides in the industrial dispute involving Broomes and several senior teachers at the school, he believed the principal was good for Alexandra, and that he deserved some of the credit for its good results.
He was giving evidence at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra today, held at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
Speaking while being questioned by commission senior counsel Milton Pierce, the witness said:
“Nobody really asked me to take a side, I was pretty much cast upon a side. I didn’t ask to be here or there, but the truth is that I was seen as one of, I guess, Principal Broomes’ lackeys. Honestly I have no idea (why, but what happened is that I would come to school in the second term and some teachers would speak and other teachers would not.”
“The teachers who took industrial action, not the majority of them, I would say it was a small set who showed some kind of ill will after the industrial action, but Mr. Lett was particularly helpful, so was Mr. Boyce, Miss Willoughby, a lot of the teachers actually extended a courteous hand.
“My interaction with the staff members since industrial action has really been minimal, in the sense that I don’t eat in the staff room anymore … because it always seemed as though they (the members of staff who took industrial action) wanted to create some situation. It always seemed as though there was something to quarrel about, there was something to pick at,” he added.
Allman said he therefore “decided to avoid the staff room wherever I could. I would come to work on time, I would get my register and I would go straight to my form and for my free periods I would go to the library. I just try to avoid having to deal with the teachers”.
Later on in examination by Barbados Secondary Teachers Union counsel Hal Gollop, he reiterated that he was viewed with suspicion by some teachers.
Gollop: “They viewed you with suspicion?”
Allman: “A spy.”
The teacher said he considered Broomes “a good friend”.
“I met the principal when I was at Combermere School, while I was a student.
“What happened is that his daughter is my age and we studied in the library in town… and occasionally I got a drop home and that is how I managed to meet the principal,” he said. “I respect the job he has done. Since I have been there Mr. Broomes has made every effort to make my transition into the school as comfortable as possible. He has brought a lot of material for me to use within the Maths and the English Departments,” he added. (SC)