A secondary school teacher who caused controversy by defying public service orders and appearing on the platform of the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has been silenced after all.
Educator Simon Alleyne told Barbados TODAY this evening he had withdrawn from the line up scheduled to address a DLP meeting at Checker Hall, St Lucy tonight after finding himself in hot water with the Ministry of Education.
The ministry rebuked Alleyne after he appeared as a guest speaker at the DLP’s campaign launch at Waterford, St Michael on Sunday night.
In a brief hand-delivered letter to Alleyne, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY, Chief Education Officer Karen Best wrote: “The Ministry of Education, Science Technology and Innovation has been made aware of your presence on a political platform on May 6, 2018,” and referred him to a circular sent three days earlier by Acting Head of the Civil Service Dr Louis St. E. Woodroffe to permanent secretaries asking them to remind employees that under Section 3.18.1 of the General Orders for the public service they were expressly forbidden from canvassing on behalf of any party or candidate.
“Additionally, officers and employees shall not act as agents or sub-agents for any candidate for elections or speak at political meetings,” the memo said.
Alleyne told Barbados TODAY he was aware of the order barring him from appearing on political platforms before he spoke at Sunday’s DLP campaign launch, but he felt it was necessary to defy it in support of his party.
“I believed for this election it was necessary for me to stand in support of the Democratic Labour Party. I believe that at this point where there is so much criticism about the Government I wanted to lend my voice to say that I have seen what the Government has done in certain constituencies,” the defiant teacher said.
“I wanted to make it clear that I am an active member of the Democratic Labour Party. This is not an issue about being a yard fowl because I have served as a general and executive member. I had to express my
support for the current administration,” he added.
Alleyne, a former president of the DLP’s youth arm, The Young Democrats, said he was fully prepared to accept the consequences of his actions.
In any event, he said, the time had come for Barbadians to have a serious debate on extending the role of public workers in the political process beyond simply showing up to cast a ballot on Election Day.
“I am aware that I have contravened the General Orders and I accept that. However, I do believe it is time for a debate or public discussion going forward about the role of civil servants in the political process.
“At the end of the day politicians are servants of the people and I do believe that civil servants have a right to participate in the process and it goes beyond just voting. There are persons who are teachers, general workers, all over the civil service and they can make a contribution to the political process in Barbados,” he stressed.
“At this point I don’t feel threatened. I may feel that way after the general elections but right now, no. It is in my right as a Barbadian to have freedom of expression and to show my support for a political party. My speech on Sunday was about the issues, I didn’t attack anyone. I have just expressed my support for the Democratic Labour Party,” Alleyne insisted.