PM issues statement on Alexandra

sherieholder, sherieholder@nationnews.com

Added 02 November 2012

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On June 22, 2012, His Excellency the Governor-General appointed an Investigatory Commission of Inquiry into the administration of the Alexandra School because of problems which were said to be affecting the school since the year 2002. The Terms of Reference of the Commission were published in the Official Gazette on June 25, 2012 and Hon. Frederick Waterman, CHB, Q.C. was appointed sole Commissioner.  He was assisted by Senior Legal Counsel, Milton Pierce; Legal Counsel, Michael Yearwood; and the Secretary to the Commission, Dr. Donna Hunte-Cox. Mr. Vernon Smith, Q.C., in association with Mr. Cecil McCarthy, Q.C., appeared as legal counsel for the Principal of the Alexandra School; Mr. Hal Gollop appeared as legal counsel for the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union; and Mr. Guyson Mayers appeared as Legal Counsel for the Chairman of the Board of Management of the Alexandra School. The Commission conducted hearings from July 2 to August 27.  Counsel made final submissions on August 29.  Thirty-four (34) persons appeared as witnesses during the public hearings.  The date for submission of the Report, originally set for August 31, had to be extended to September 21 because sessions were not completed until August 29. The Commissioner presented his report to the Governor-General on September 21 and the Governor-General forwarded a copy of the Report to the Prime Minister that same day.  On Monday, October 22, the Cabinet considered the Report and its recommendations, and approved them for sending to the relevant agencies for appropriate action. Legal counsel for the Principal, the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union and the Chairman of the Board of Management each received a copy of the Report under confidential cover on Saturday, October 27, 2012. The 111 page Report has made fifteen (15) recommendations based on the evidence presented.  The recommendations are essentially in three (3) categories, namely (i) legislative review, including specific recommendations in relation to the Education Act, Education Regulations and the Public Service Code of Conduct;  (ii) management reorganization of the Ministry of Education, and implementation of the financial recommendations made by the Auditor General in 2006; and (iii) personnel issues including proposals for the reallocation of personnel, and specific action to be taken regarding discipline. It is expected that the follow up processes will be both smooth and seamless, the first and paramount consideration being the welfare of the students of the Alexandra School.  In due course, the Report will be laid before both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the Commissions of Inquiry Act Cap. 112, Section 17(3). As provided in Sections 2 and 9 of the Archives Act, Cap. 19B, the documents and materials resulting from the Commission’s work will be deposited with the Archives Department in the time limited by the Act for the taking of such action. The public is to be commended for its restraint and understanding during the period of the Inquiry, evidence, were any more needed, of our maturity when challenging situations confront us especially in relation to the preservation of our cherished institutions.  

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