No time to waste
The Alexandra School inquiry will begin in earnest on Monday despite requests for a later start.
During its first public session yesterday at the Wildey Gymnasium, attorney-at-law Vernon Smith Q.C., who is representing the secondary school’s Principal Jeff Broomes, requested that the inquiry begin next Wednesday to facilitate the preparation of his client’s written statement, which was only now possible as the school year was ending and Broomes’ workload was lifted.
Citing similar reasons, the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union’s legal representative Hal Gollop, also pointed out that the written statements from several of the school’s teachers could not be completed as these individuals were working until today, the end of the school year.
However, both sides were reassured by the inquiry’s Commissioner retired Justice Frederick Waterman that these statements would not be needed until a later date and therefore the inquiry will proceed as scheduled for Monday at 9:30 a.m. sharp.
Waterman pointed out that statements would first be heard from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, the Chief Personnel Officer and the Chief Education Officer, before the commission hears from the Principal and teachers of the school and this would give ample time for the written statements from these persons to be collected.
Highlighting that this schedule was especially due to the fact that the commission had a limited amount of time in which to conduct its business, he emphasised that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had requested that “everything must be completed before the start of the next school year.”
“We are very pressed for time as we are practically in July already, and if we at least lead off with the public servants, we could make some headway... or else the deadline cannot be met,” Waterman remarked.
On Monday, the commission will hear the written statement from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education.
Any persons desirous of giving written witness statements, should submit them under Confidential Cover to the Secretary to the Commissioner, c/o the Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Wildey, St. Michael.
Members of the public wishing to attend are advised that jeans, sleeveless tops, sneakers and the use of cellphones will not be allowed. (JMB)