The other side in the BHS saga

A commentary by Neville Bartlette

There certainly has been a lot of mudslinging and mistrust at the centre of the situation at the Basseterre High School. Yet there is another side to the story worth a mention.

The BHS is not the only school caught up in this whole affair, good old WAHS deserves a lot more praise than it is getting.

Surely, it can’t be easy for the Principal and Management Team of the Washington Archibald High School, to share their school grounds and classrooms with their arch rivals. Nevertheless they have all demonstrated that their first and foremost priority, throughout the BHS situation, is the continued education of children. It can’t have been easy for them.

For me, the troubles at the BHS are a political storm in a teacup, but I must admit that it is not really my area of expertise. What I do know about are the great things that make up this twin island federation, and Principal Govia and his management team have demonstrated in their actions that they are one of the great things about our nation.

Pulling together to solve a problem of national importance is in the finest tradition of national service, and I for one think the nation should honour their commitment to education, in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time.

The old rivalry between WAHS and BHS mirrors thousands of other schools all around the world. Who doesn’t want to be the best at cricket or basketball, football or athletics, or even exam results! But we cannot question the real maturity shown by the principal and staff of WAHS, and their real commitment to progressive education.

The shift system clearly makes the best of a bad situation. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that it’s best for staff and students to resume class at BHS, but for whatever antagonistic reasons that have built up in the last few months it can’t or won’t happen.

So in the absence of that, I would like to say thank you to Principal Clifford Govia, the Management Team and the teachers at WAHS. You have all done your duty and done us proud, and I call upon the other principals around the island to take a leaf out of Principal Govia’s exercise book as this is the finest expression of our country’s motto “Country (and children) Above Self”.

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