Volney Barrett – Freelance Writer
A legal battle is on the horizon following reports that the Board of management of Cornwall College in Montego Bay, St. James, recently voted to have Dr. Lennox Rowe removed as Principal, reportedly based on an ongoing review of his performance so far.
A very well-placed source at the institution told this reporter that the matter may be heading to the courts soon, and that Dr. Rowe has already acquired the services of an attorney.
“A potential court proceeding is in the air,” disclosed the source in an interview with the Western Mirror.
It is understood that a major board meeting was held last Friday to have further discussions on the matter, however, up to press time, this newspaper was unable to ascertain the outcome of that meeting.
This development follows concerns among some interests that the principal has failed to maintain discipline at the male-dominated institution, which started accepting female students in Sixth Form a few years ago.
However, at least one senior teacher, with whom this reporter spoke on condition of anonymity, indicated that Dr. Rowe has been firmly addressing the indiscipline on the part of teachers and students.
Minister of Education, Senator Ruel Reid, in a telephone interview with the Western Mirror, sought to explain what had transpired.
“I am aware of this particular matter… what happens is that when a Principal is hired, it is done on a two-year probationary basis which, in his (Dr. Rowe’s) case, goes up to August 31 this year (2017),” Minister Reid explained.
According to the Education Minister, “The matter is being processed… we are ensuring that natural justice is pursued.”
Among the Ministry of Education’s guided criteria on which he was reviewed include human resource management, student performance and staff performance. The minister declined to comment on the specifics of the review.
Reports, confirmed by our source, are that some teachers have been spotted in downtown Montego Bay conducting personal business during school hours and without permission.
“One thing with Dr. Rowe, and this is why some of the teachers are upset with him, is that he is not putting up with their slackness and he writes them up each time they fall out of line,” the source said, adding that he has always been seen walking the school campus to ensure discipline.
The Western Mirror managed to contact Dr. Rowe who declined to comment publicly on the matter.
“I cannot respond to any of your questions at this point as per instruction from my attorney… I would, however, direct you to the chairman of the board, Mr. Patrick Reid or counsel (lawyer) for the board, Mr. Dalton Reid,” said Dr. Rowe, who promised that he would be willing to do a sit-down interview once the matter is settled.
This newspaper also contacted Board Chairman, Patrick Reid, who also refused to comment on the matter at this time.
Dr. Rowe, a Mathematics and Science educator for 25 years, was appointed principal of the 120 year-old institution in late 2015 and commenced duties on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Checks by this newspaper showed that he has still been going to work.
It is understood that a plaque was presented to Dr. Rowe at the recently held graduation ceremony, where it was announced that he would be proceeding onto retirement.
His professional career includes being a curriculum coordinator and head of the Mathematics and Science Departments at Nassau Christian Academy in the Bahamas, and a part-time lecturer at Atlantic College.