Sun | Jun 7, 2020

'They all have to go' - Disgruntled CaFAN members not satisfied with outcome of Bridgetown meeting

Published:Wednesday | February 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/ Gleaner Writer
Jethro Greene
James Paul (right), chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), speaks with other members of the executive of the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN). Sharing in the occasion are (from left) Woodville Alleyne-Jones, president of the BAS; Norman Grant, president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society; and Dhano Sookoo, president of the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago, following a meeting of the CaFAN executive at the offices at the BAS at the The Grotto, St Michael in Barbados on Saturday.

The impasse at the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) has claimed its first casualty, with Jethro Greene, its chief coordinator, being stripped of his post with immediate effect at the hastily called meeting in Barbados last Saturday.

But that is not enough for disgruntled members, who are slated to meet today to elect a new executive.

They are adamant that after two years of trying to get answers from the board, it was their decision to go public that prompted the meeting last Saturday.

"At this point, the membership continues to coordinate their efforts to restructure, and we are due to hold a virtual meeting on February 15 to elect a new executive to chart the new way forward," one of the dissatisfied members told The Gleaner.

"We have been calling for the resignation of all of the members of the board of directors based on no confidence in their leadership."




Added the representative: "The membership has no confidence in their ability to be objective and rational. We have no confidence in the directors' leadership and as such, good governance, protocol, democracy, and simple common sense should have caused the board to finally realise that their leadership was no longer required.

"We regard their actions as disrespectful, shameful, and an example of extremely bad governance practices," he declared.

The twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which had supported the en bloc removal of the board up until Saturday, has since backed out of that coalition.

Countries still committed to seeing the backs of the current board members are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as Suriname.


Argument done, says Grant


President of the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN), Jamaica's Norman Grant is adamant that a meeting in Bridgetown, Barbados, last Saturday has settled all the concerns raised by some unhappy members.

During the meeting, Jethro Greene, CaFAN's chief coordinator, was fired with immediate effect and replaced by Dhano Sookoo, president of the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago.

It was also agreed that the secretariat would be transferred from St Vincent and the Grenadines to Trinidad and Tobago.

The meeting, called at short notice by Grant, was to address members concerns about lack of accountability and transparency for projects for which funding had been provided by international agencies.

Only four persons attended, while Greene participated via Skype, and a number of members opted not to attend as a mark of protest.

"In terms of going forward, we have taken some very calculated decisions to remove, with immediate effect, the secretariat from St Vincent, and we have agreed to move the secretariat to Trinidad and Tobago, under the watch of director Sookoo," Grant told The Gleaner after the more than four-hour meeting.

He insisted that the decision to jettison Greene should not be interpreted as a reflection of his stewardship.

"There are certain issues that were raised in the media ,which we sought clarification on, and we asked him to present the executive with the report on how CaFAN is structured because the secretariat actually drives all of the activities and the action in terms of negotiation with the funding agencies, in terms of dialoguing with the focal groups," noted Grant, who is also president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society.

"And because it has always been the secretariat that negotiated with funding agencies, without reporting to the CaFAN executive, none of the four persons in attendance at Saturday's meeting can be held accountable for any fallout with them or any other partners."

He added: "The executive has taken a decision that we will not reactivate that body (CaFAN) in St Vincent but I will seek to provide the framework to have it registered in Jamaica. The matter, in our view, has been settled."

But the disgruntled members, from at least 11 affiliate countries, argue that the meeting was unconstitutional and that its decisions were in no way binding on them.