Alexandra School principal Jeff Broomes feels betrayed with his deputy Beverley Neblett-Lashley and retired secretary Merlene Sealy bringing a document to the Waterman Commission Of Inquiry suggesting he enhanced the academic report of a fifth-form student.
He said yesterday that after hearing their testimony last week, he felt they had been colluding for years to get at him.
Broomes spoke about his feelings as the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) attorney Hal Gollop read a statement from Neblett-Lashley in which she said that Broomes told her “everybody knows that the most insignificant person in any organization is the vice-president”. Neblett-Lashley said that following that statement, “the disrespect was complete”.
“As far as I’m concerned after hearing her testimony last week, and Mrs Sealy’s, I think the disrespect was complete nine years ago,” Broomes replied.
Neblett-Lashley last week presented a handwritten document of grades for the student which did not square with the school’s official records. She had been given the document by Sealy, who subsequently appeared before the commission and said Broomes gave it to her to type a transcript to send to a United States educational institution on behalf of the student.
Sealy said she kept the document “in case there were questions afterwards”.
However, Broomes told the commission yesterday he assumed the paper would have been destroyed after Sealy had completed the task he asked her to perform.
“I could not believe what people colluded to do to me behind my back with my private thing; I cannot believe that. That was shocking to me when I discovered that,” he said.
“It is clear to me now, since last week, that this thing was in the pot cooking for nine years. That collusion between Mrs Sealy and Mrs Lashley has been hurtful and I mean that. It could have been addressed privately, at the ministry or wherever, but now to bring it here in a public forum, to quote the commissioner for the world to believe that Alexandra does things fraudulently, this is not true.”
The commission heard yesterday, through a statement from the father of the female student, which was read by Gollop, that he did not ask Broomes to send any transcript.
“I only know about the transcript from Combermere School,” the father said.
That statement also said that head of the Science Department, Amaida Greaves, told the girl when she was first transferred to Alexandra School and failed a chemistry test – getting 19 out of 50 – that she was not ready for fifth form and should not return to her chemistry class.
The father said he was annoyed by that position and had a meeting with Broomes, at which Greaves was present.
“Mrs Greaves explained that since she had failed the exam she could not be in her class and that is the policy there at Alexandra School. I found Mrs Greaves’ attitude rude and she was very aggressive.
“In fact, I found her demeanour to be downright terrible. That was the first time I had seen Mrs Greaves and I was not impressed. Mr Broomes told Mrs Greaves that policy at the school is made by him and what she just said was not a policy and, furthermore, his policy is that all children must be taught at the Alexandra School,” he said.
The girl was subsequently returned to class on Broomes’ instruction and she finished her year at the school.