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
UPDATE August 4
Interim chairman of Jamaicans for Justice, Dr Barry Wade is today insisting that the interim board of the human rights lobby group was constitutionally appointed.
JFJ has been plunged into crisis over its unauthorised implementation of a sex education course in six privately-run children’s homes.
The human rights group has also been facing a leadership meltdown following mass resignations and counterclaims over who is responsible for the introduction of anal and oral sex content as part of the course.
The interim board was appointed last week during an emergency meeting of JFJ’s membership.
However, following the announcement, questions have been raised in some sectors about the constitutionality of the board.
According to the Interim Chairman, the group’s constitution gives remaining board members the authority to co-opt to the JFJ.
He says this is what was done for the interim board.
UPDATE Press Release from JFJ on Interim Board
Tuesday, August 5, 2014, Kingston, Jamaica
The interim Board of JFJ has been publicly challenged to state whether it is legitimately constituted. The following sets out the process by which the current directors of the Board came to their positions
JFJ was incorporated under the Companies Act on 15 October 1999. The Companies Act and more specifically its Articles of Association are the relevant governance instruments. The relevant sections of the Articles of Association that guided the process are Clauses 31, 45, 48 and 49.
Clause 31 provides that the minimum number of directors shall be seven, unless otherwise determined by a general meeting of the company.
Clause 45 provides that the directors may appoint any person to be a director, either to fill a casual vacancy or as an additional director. A director appointed under this provision holds office until the next annual general meeting and he or she shall be eligible for re-election.
The quorum for directors meetings is fixed by the directors but shall, if not fixed by the directors be three. (Clause 48)
During the course of the weeks and days leading up to the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held on July 29, which had been called by the Board at the request of members, the number of directors fell below the minimum number of three. The resignations did not take place en bloc, but rather at different points in time, all prior to the date of the EGM. Clause 49 of the Articles was invoked.
Clause 49 provides: “The continuing directors may act notwithstanding any vacancy in their body, but, if and so long as their number is reduced below the number fixed by or pursuant to the articles of the company the necessary quorum of directors, the continuing directors or director may act for the purpose of increasing the number of directors to that number…
Following lengthy discussions of the developments in JFJ, the two remaining board members asked the members assembled at the EGM to indicate whom of their number were prepared to be co-opted to serve on an interim board. The purpose was to ensure a democratic input into the decisions that only the remaining 2 board members could exercise under Clause 49 of JFJ’s Articles of Association. The members present at the EGM indicated their preferences. The EGM was suspended and the existing Board members deliberated and made the appointments recommended by the members present at the EGM. The eight additional directors appointed brought the number of directors up to ten, above the minimum seven required for the full functioning of the Board.
The Board is an interim one because the provisions of Clause 45 limit the tenure of all of the members appointed by the remaining 2 directors till the next annual general meeting of JFJ.
The Board will focus on the following steps to be taken over the next three months to (a) review the recent developments, (b) steady the organisation, and (c) arrange for the holding of an annual general meeting in view of the provisions of Clause 45 of the Articles of Association.
The current Board is properly constituted under JFJ’s Articles of Association, with the full authority to conduct the business of the organization until the next annual general meeting, which in the normal course of events would be held in March or April next year. However, it was the view of the membership at the EGM and the decision of the current Board that it would be prudent to hold an AGM at the earliest possible date to allow for the election of a new Board of directors.
The current board members are:
Dr. Barry Wade (Chairperson)
Christine Dalrymple (Secretary)
Susan Evans (Treasurer)
Horace Levy (also of JCSC)
Carla Gullotta (formerly of Amnesty Europe & CVCC)
Peace and tolerance