We have been agitating a long time
The Editor, Sir:
Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) wishes to provide the following response to the letter titled 'Jamaicans For Justice rather late in the day', written by Patrick Gallimore and published in your newspaper on Sunday, March 14.
JFJ's involvement with issues of the children in the care of the Jamaican state (which includes the children in Armadale) began in 2003 with advocacy in support of Ms K. Osborne. This has been followed by:
1. Three reports to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the abuse of children in the care of the State in 2003, 2006 and 2009. These reports were supported by extensive research involving, among other things, documents obtained from the Child Development Agency (CDA) in response to Access to Information requests.
2. A report to the Child Development Agency in 2006 produced jointly with three other non- governmental organisation concerned with issues of children's rights, outlining concerns about the situation of children in the care of the State and providing recommendations for resolving issues.
3. Submission of a request for precautionary measures on behalf of a child, and a petition on behalf of all the children in the care of the State to the IACHR.
4. A written submission to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament reviewing the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA), and participation during the committee's sittings reviewing the draft legislation.
5. Numerous letters to the CDA, various ministers of health and permanent secretaries in that ministry, highlighting concerns and making recommendations on the issue of children in the care of the State, including the need for the regulations that accompanied the CCPA to have specificity and sanction.
6. Numerous meetings with the CDA, permanent secretaries and ministers in the Ministry of Health re concerns about abuse of the children in the care of the State and recommendations for improvements.
7. Input on various committees of the Office of the Children's Advocate, including input in the development of recommendations for the improvement of the Juvenile Justice System.
8. Innumerable press releases, press conferences and instances of participation in discussions on radio and television to bring concerns about abuse of children in the care of the state to public attention.
We hope this long, but not exhaustive, list of work done on the issue of abuse of children in the care of the Jamaican state will help allay any concerns whether "it is just now that JFJ is speaking up about this specific issue".
I am, etc.,
Dr CAROLYN GOMES
Jamaicans For Justice
2 Fagan Avenue