The very foundation of human-rights lobby group Jamaicans For Justice was jolted by the public condemnation of a controversial sex-education programme which was introduced into six private children's homes and the subsequent resignation of four board members, including long-time faces Dr Carolyn Gomes (Carolyn Gomes resigns as JFJ Board Member, JFJ Apologises For controversial Sex Education Course) and Susan Goffe (Influential Susan Gofffe Resigns from JFJ .............New ED "If I Was Aware Of Sex-Ed Programme 'I Would No....)and executive director Kay Osborne in recent months.
The fallout prompted members of the 15-year-old organisation to call for an extraordinary board meeting, and it is coming out of that meeting that Dr Barry Wade and other interim board members were co-opted.
The other members of the board are Christine Dalrymple, Horace Levy, Michael Lumsden, Allan Martin, Carla Gulotta, David Silvera (treasurer of previous board), Clifton McKenzie (also a member of former board), Roje Malcolm and Susan Mah Leung Evans (who had both resigned from prior board).
Wade has cited the first order of business as being that of repairing the organisation's tarnished reputation.
"An advocacy group has to have credibility; it needs the support of civil society," Wade, who is the former general manager of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica and the chairman of Environmental Solutions Limited, told The Gleaner. "If civil society are unsure of what we are about, then they won't support us. The present controversy has thrown a spanner in the way people see us and so rebuilding our image clearly is what we have to pay attention to. But it is not an event, it is a process."
The appointment of a full board is expected to be undertaken within the next three months, when there will be a nomination process and election among the paying members, who currently stand at approximately 50 despite the number of persons on roll standing at somewhere in the hundreds. In the interim, however, Wade and his team will seek to get the organisation's house in order.
"This is a transitional period, so other than arranging for the election of a full board, it will be to steady the organisation and make sure that we fulfil all our obligations to our funding agencies and that we have the staff in place to continue," Wade shared. "With the resignation of the ED (executive director) there is a big gap in the organisation, and members of the organisation have volunteered to come in and help get things going again."
Wade, who is seriously considering offering himself up for the post of permanent chairman, believes the organisation will have to work feverishly to make up for lost time, but is confident that they can get back on course.
"We have to play catch-up because we have lost some time with all that has been going on and the resignations, but I have no doubt that we will be able to settle down pretty quickly," Wade reasoned.
Betty-Ann Blaine, an advocate for children: This is a gentleman (Dr Barry Wade) who I have some knowledge about and I think has a reputable image. From my experience, I know that he is very passionate about social issues, including the plight of the poor, among other social ills. Clearly, he has a big job on his hands in restoring the trust of the Jamaican people and restoring the image of the organisation, but I am confident that it can happen. also see: The Deliberate Misuse of the “Sexual Grooming” Term by Antigay Fanatics to Promote Their Hysteria and Betty Ann Blaine Deliberately Conflates Same Gender Attraction & Child Abuse at Christian Anti Gay Mass Rally
Clifford Blake, deputy commissioner of police: I don't know much about the board ,so I wouldn't want to comment much on that, but we (Jamaica Constable Force) have worked well with past boards and we have no problem working with this current board, once it is in the best interest of the Jamaican people.
Bishop Rowan Edwards, immediate past president of the Jamaica Association of Full Gospel Churches: I thank God for this new board. I would hope that the leader has prepared himself to be scrutinized, to be guided and to collaborate. Everyone deserves a second chance and despite the damage that has been done, there is room for restoration. I also call on the Jamaican people to cooperate.
More Overreaction to the Jamaicans for Justice Sex Education Course & Media Senationalism
Former JFJ Head Carolyn Gomes Distances Self From Controversial Sex Ed Material
Old Guard vs New Guard War of Words at JFJ on Sex Education Course that bypassed CDA
Peace and tolerance