also see: Why did CVCC & JFJ not Fund a Project/Home for Homeless LGBT Youth in New Kingston instead of the Children’s Home Fiasco
As the days progress following the initial CVC funded sex education manual matter died down as many thought another nine day wonder it seems the papers are still on a witch hunt seeing that the Child Development Agency interim report has not coughed up anything substantial nor has the police investigation to find someone to punish for these: slides all because they mention buggery and anal sex but take note one of the pages made it clear that buggery is illegal:
That admission was made by Dr Carolyn Gomes in her resignation letter as a board member, a copy of which was obtained by the Jamaica Observer. Gomes, in her June 17 letter to JFJ chair Lisa Lakhan-Chen, took responsibility for the development of the project and the beginning of the implementation process, which, she said, occurred in the period October 2013 to December 2013 before she demitted office as executive director of the organisation.
“The project continued after I left, but at no time while I was [in] office did the specific content of the programme get board approval. For this I take full responsibility,” Gomes said in her letter.
It was not clear who had responsibility for the programme after Gomes left the organistion. However, JFJ has said that it began in January 2014, was focused on youth aged 13-17, and contained eight modules — ABCs of Human Rights; Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Responsibilities; Puberty, Reproduction and Body Image; Sexual and Reproductive Health; Gender; Sexuality and Society; Relationships; and Communication and Decision-Making Skills.
Gomes resigned as protests crescendoed over the programme that critics said was inappropriate for children as it contained lessons on oral, anal and vaginal penetration.
Titled ‘Healthy Sexual Growth and Development in Marginalised Youth: Rights, Responsibilities, and Life Skills’, the project was funded by the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVCC), the group that Gomes now serves as executive director following her resignation from a similar post at JFJ.
Responding to the howls of criticism, JFJ’s board of directors accepted “full and unconditional responsibility for not vetting the programme content and its release” and promised to take remedial action. At the same time, Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna referred the manuals used in the programme to Attorney General Patrick Atkinson and Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison.
Specifically, Hanna has asked both Atkinson and Gordon Harrison for advice on what legal recourse is available to her ministry and/or the Child Development Agency (CDA). Hanna took the decision after it emerged that the programme was implemented without the knowledge of the CDA. Last week, the police announced that they are investigating the matter with a view to identifying possible breaches of the acts protecting children.
But Gomes, in her resignation letter, said she was “comfortable that the content provides accurate and globally accepted information about sexual and reproductive health and rights”.
However, she said she accepted that there was a “difference in commitment” to the programme between her and the JFJ board.
Dr Carolyn Gomes, former executive director of Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), has distanced herself from the controversial sections of the manual that was reported to have been surreptitiously delivered in the six privately run children's homes.
Following media reports that in a confidential letter to the board of JFJ she had taken responsibility for the underhanded way in which the content entered the homes, Gomes fired back yesterday, stating she was not at the helm of the human-rights group when the sections on oral and anal sex was developed and delivered in the homes.
"The content of the modules which make reference to anal sex and oral sex, were developed and delivered during the months of April and May 2014 when the executive director was Ms Kay Osborne," Gomes said in her response to the story.
Osborne took over as executive director from Gomes late last year.
Gomes said "It would have been Osborne's responsibility to bring the controversial content to the attention of JFJ's board."
However, in a release yesterday, JFJ said that based on its review, Osborne had nothing to do with the development, implementation, preparation and/or approval of the content of the Healthy Sexual Growth and Development in Marginalised Youth: Rights, Responsibilities and Life Skills project.
"At no point during this period did Dr Gomes, either in writing or verbally, indicate to Ms Osborne that JFJ was implementing a project of this nature. It is, therefore, wholly inaccurate to attribute responsibility to Ms Osborne for the content of the modules or for her to bring that content to the attention of the Board of JFJ," the statement read.
Gomes resigned from JFJ's board in June after arguments swirled that the project was inappropriate for the children it was meant to target in the homes, and permission was not granted for its delivery.
The Child Development Agency (CDA), which supervises the homes, has said it had no knowledge of the course.
Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna has since referred the matter to Attorney General Patrick Atkinson and Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison to investigate whether or not her office or the CDA can take action.