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Aug 16, 2017

Education Minister Stands by Gwen Liz Investigation

Doctor Lorna McKay, principal of Gwen Lizarraga High School, was sent on administrative leave on August seventh during the Tropical Storm Franklin scare, when she was visited with a letter from chairman of the Board of Directors of the school, Roosevelt Blades.  Blades is the community representative and the right-hand man of Minister of Education Patrick Faber, and Doctor McKay accuses him of conspiring with others to destabilize and ultimately remove her from the school. The minister today said that the report compiled by the ministry’s investigative team prompted the action and that due process will be followed.


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“We have long heard complaints about the management of Gwen Liz High School; and so what we did as the Ministry, we sent in an investigative team; that team was made up of very veteran secondary educators, and they wrote a report giving their findings; they interviewed all who were concerned – the parents, the teachers, the administration, the Board of Governors as well. And that report prompted us to believe that all was not well at Gwen Liz and in fact there was much to be desired in terms of the leadership at Gwen Liz. As much as Minister of Education, I may feel that something is not right there, given the report by my team that I sent in there, I am not able to act. The Ministry does not, cannot, get in there and just smooth things over and say, ‘you know what, you noh di work; that noh di work,’ and in fact due process is very important to us. So what I think was a bit unfair is that certainly from the interviews I have seen, is that Dr. McKay accuses the chairman, who I declare is my political aide, and Mr. Blades is a representative on that board, from the community because it falls in the Collet community and as the area rep I get to select a representative there. And that is how he ended up on the Board but that is not how he became chairman of the Board – he had to be elected among the members of that Board as the chairman. And it is unfortunate that Dr. McKay made it a kind of personal issue, saying that it was the chairman who was acting unilaterally because I can assure you that was not the case. In fact, they have had a number of Board meetings; I have seen the documentation where Dr. McKay has been asked for certain things to show how she has been functioning in certain areas; and in fact that was never produced. But as I said, I don’t want to get into the merits or demerits of the case; I don’t want to prejudice that.”


The minister re-emphasized that the school’s managing authority has free reign and no influence from his ministry.  The administrative leave lasts until September and the school will go into the new school year with a vice-principal in charge.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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