Outspoken Combermere School senior teacher Reverend Charles Morris has given the school’s principal Vere Parris a failing grade for his handling of the ongoing environmental woes plaguing the secondary school at Waterford, St Michael.
In a candid interview with Barbados TODAY, Morris rubbished Parris’ notion of sabotage being at the heart at the latest flare up that has resulted in the closure of the school for the past two weeks.
“It is insulting and absurd that a leader of a school could come up with [that]. Now, how could you establish anything about sabotage? If the principal is going to say anything about sabotage, he needs to tell us the possible persons that could have done it. Was it the teachers? Was it the students? Was it the principal himself? He is moving from one speculation to the other without any proof,” charged Morris.
The senior educator also questioned why police were not called in to investigate the alleged criminal attempt to disrupt the school’s operations.
It was during a meeting with parents at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic last week that Parris pointed to possible sabotage of one of the school’s sewer caps, which he said was partly to blame for the recent foul odour affecting the school. However, the principal did not say who he thought was responsible for the deliberate damage. He also suggested that the nearby acacia trees, as well as chemicals disposed by the Science Lab, were also contributing to environmental problems.
However, Morris refuted the chronology of Parris’ claim, arguing that the timing of the alleged sabotage did not coincide with the emergence of the complaints at the beginning of the academic year.
“He claimed that the last time the environmental persons would have checked was in October. Now, if he checked in October, how could that be a factor? If they checked in October and everything was OK, then his theory does not make sense, as teachers and students were complaining since the first week in September. So that throws Parris’ theory through the door,” contended the educator.
The Anglican cleric was equally adamant that the school was in desperate need of leadership as “Parris has not demonstrated good crisis management skills, nor has he operated in the best interest of staff”.
“The principal is moving from one level of stupidity to another and his actions can only be classified as stupidity of the highest order. The principal is trying to divert everything that happens at Combermere. To me, Combermere has been sabotaged since 2005 and a ‘Parrisite’ is causing the sabotage at the school. If he knows about sabotage and is refusing to call the police then he should be charged, or at least questioned. Combermere lacks leadership and I am not hiding my mouth about this one,” said a clearly miffed Morris.
He opined that if the Ministry of Education and the principal were truly interested in a long-term solution, the school would be temporarily relocated until professionals could effectively determine and eradicate the source of the environmental issues.
“The principal has no interest in relocating the school. The only interest he has is this Rihanna Centre of Excellence. He came to us with this plan for $15.5 million to have this Rihanna Centre of Excellence established over by where the library and old headmaster’s house is. He came to us with this elaborate plan and he says he wants that done before he retires,” Morris disclosed.
He argued that while plans were being made to raise the funds for that massive undertaking, the school was in desperate need of basic essentials, such as furniture, as well as infrastructural improvement.
Efforts to reach Parris for comment Monday were unsuccessful.