‘Miss B’ moved from reg­u­lar spot on re­turn Shifted

UK Barbados Nation - - EDITORIAL - By MARIA BRAD­SHAW mariabrad­[email protected] na­tionews.com

WHAT WAS SUP­POSED to be a peace­ful re­turn to Grant­ley Adams Me­mo­rial School was noth­ing but con­fu­sion for ven­dor Jean “Miss B” May­ers.

In­stead of go­ing to her usual spot in­side the yard at the Black­man’s, St Joseph school, May­ers was placed at the en­trance next to the guard hut, some 30 feet away from where she was ac­cus­tomed sell­ing for close to 30 years.

The 72-year-old, soft-spo­ken ven­dor told the Bar­ba­dos Na­tion that when she turned up yesterday morn­ing, she set up a few feet from where she pre­vi­ously used to be be­cause con­struc­tion work was tak­ing place there.

“I went up there and I was sell­ing, so when the chair­man come in he said that I have to move from there. The prin­ci­pal came to me and he told the guard that I have to move from there and come down here,” she said, point­ing to the area by the gate where she and her as­sis­tant, Es­ther Mur­ray, were sit­ting with goods ex­posed.

Vend­ing pol­icy

She was later sum­moned to a meet­ing with both prin­ci­pal Valdez Fran­cis and chair­man Dr Jonathan Lewis. How­ever, she was tight-lipped about what tran­spired at that meet­ing.

“I don’t want to say. They spoke but I did not say any­thing,” she re­vealed, adding that her at­tor­ney, Dou­glas Trot­man, could not be present for the meet­ing but would meet with the two men this morn­ing.

“It is all in the school en­vi­ron­ment, at least I’m glad that I’m in­side,” she said.

At lunchtime sev­eral stu­dents flocked to her tray, but the guard had to con­stantly move them out of the drive­way as ve­hi­cles en­tered and ex­ited the school. Of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion were also spot­ted driv­ing in at lunchtime.

The ven­dor was dis­missed from sell­ing on the school’s com­pound at the begin­ning of this school term, while the stu­dents were banned from pur­chas­ing food and snacks from her and other ven­dors sell­ing out­side the school dur­ing lunchtime. This ac­tion re­sulted in a week-long protest by hun­dreds of stu­dents.

How­ever, Minister of Ed­u­ca­tion San­tia Brad­shaw in­ter­vened, and af­ter meet­ing with the school’s board, she an­nounced that May­ers would re­turn to sell­ing in the school while the other ven­dors would have to ap­ply to the board for per­mis­sion. She also re­vealed that the min­istry was es­tab­lish­ing a pol­icy for vend­ing at both pri­mary and sec­ondary schools.

A con­cerned source told the Bar­ba­dos Na­tion that it was em­bar­rass­ing what the ven­dor went through when she re­turned.

“Fol­low­ing the meet­ing with the minister, the au­thor­i­ties at the school should have met and de­cided where Miss May­ers would be placed and in­formed her of that de­ci­sion, not wait un­til she turned up and then to move her.”

The source also pointed out that stu­dents, un­der the in­struc­tions of a teacher, had built a stall for May­ers as part of a school pro­ject last term.

Lec­ture on 1937 Ri­ots

“She was sup­posed to be sell­ing in­side that stall be­fore she was dis­missed from the school. Now the stall is just there and it has be­come a hang­out spot for stu­dents.”

The school be­gan its In­de­pen­dence cel­e­bra­tions with a lec­ture from Sher­wood Mc­caskie, head of the Archives and In­for­ma­tion Depart­ment at the Caribbean Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion.

While the Bar­ba­dos Na­tion was among me­dia houses not al­lowed to cover the event, Mc­caskie shared his speech, in which he spoke to the stu­dents about the 1937 Ri­ots. He told them their protest over the past two weeks would go down in his­tory.

“His­tory will also thank you, the stu­dents, be­cause the en­tire mix and se­ries of events that oc­curred here re­cently have pro­vided the nec­es­sary in­gre­di­ents for this na­tion to con­tinue not only the con­ver­sa­tion, but to take de­ci­sive steps re­gard­ing what is an im­por­tant as­pect of the eco­nomic fab­ric of this na­tion . . . .

“In other words, boys and girls, the events of these last [few] weeks have given the na­tion an op­por­tu­nity to en­gage in an­other as­pect of na­tion-build­ing – di­a­logue, and the cre­ation of space for all of us – as to­gether we seek to do our part and build on that un­shake­able foun­da­tion that was laid many years ago, as great men and women sought to bring hope and in­spi­ra­tion to our peo­ple, by their very liv­ing and shar­ing . . . ,” he said.

(Pic­tures by Reco Moore.)

STU­DENTS flocked to the en­trance of the school at lunchtime where ven­dor “Miss B” (sec­ond left, in was po­si­tioned, to pur­chase snacks.

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