Be more inclusive, Jarrett tells KC
Earl Jarrett, general manager of the Jamaica National Building Society, says Kingston College needs to shed some of its old traditions and reshape the perceptions about its image.
Addressing the Kingston College Old Boys' Association (KCOBA) Annual Reunion Banquet at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Saturday, Jarrett said the institution should move away from what some view as an exclusionary culture to "one in which there can be no doubt about its inclusive nature".
KCOBA found itself on the wrong end of public opinion after it was revealed that it reverted to the practice of not allowing women at its annual dinner. Among the critics was Sandrea Falconer, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, who used the social networking website, Facebook, to label the action as "backward".
Jarrett told the old boys that perceptions, for what they are worth, are very important; and as the institution looks towards shaping its mission of transformation for the next 89 years, this, no doubt, must be an area for consideration.
He quoted ambassador Anthony Johnson, who wrote that KC "would not be the same without reference to the women who helped shape those fortunate to walk the purple halls of Kingston College and bask in its famed motto... 'The Brave May Fall But Never Yield'."
According to Jarrett, KC is more than a traditional all-male school, but rather an all-inclusive school.
"It is important to establish this in the minds of others as such," he said.
He further noted that KC is supported by a strong female base with a large number of the teaching staff being female.
"Given this, KC is more than a traditional all-male school, but rather an all-inclusive school and, therefore, it is important to establish this in the minds of others as such. There is no question that tradition has its place, traditions are shaped around a particular economic and social reality of a particular period of time," Jarrett said.
The value of women
"If Jamaica is to progress and solid institutions within the society are to progress, then we must recognise the value of women to our national outcome. We need to consider what this contribution is, which is not simply a numerical exercise, but more so that we can begin to shape the society around the significant contribution of both men and women," he continued.
Meanwhile, Jarrett used the occasion to support the call for quotas for women in Parliament.
"To achieve the dreams of (Percival) Gibson, KC must command for itself all of the energy and resources that are available to the institution, including the many mothers of the boys, the spouses of the past students, the faculty which consists mainly of women to deliver for KC and its students present and in the future an identity, the strength and networks to achieve the ultimate leadership role which, so far, has been asymptotic for the institution," he said.
Government Senator Imani Duncan Price has been on a crusade for greater inclusion of women in political leadership. She said quotas, as a temporary special measure, is one mechanism that should be used to bring gender equality in politics.