‘Miss B’ moved from regular spot on return Shifted
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.
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.
STUDENTS flocked to the entrance of the school at lunchtime where vendor “Miss B” (second left, in was positioned, to purchase snacks.