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LETTER OF THE DAY - Tufton: Dick's rush of blood exposed JCC

Published:Friday | September 26, 2014 | 9:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: I am bemused that having acknowledged receipt of a copy of my speech delivered to the Rotary Club of Portmore recently, the goodly Rev Devon Dick still chose to have published a condemnation ('Tufton not so bright on Church', September 24, 2014) of my position that there exist perceptions of political bias among prominent civil-society and profession organisations, including the Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC).

I was further amazed that, in his attempts at justifying his position, he admits that "the JCC felt it needed to muzzle itself because of harsh criticisms of being politically biased", albeit 15 years ago. Why would the JCC take these steps to 'muzzle itself' if these perceptions did not exist in the first place? The learned reverend should know that one does not have to be 'bright' to know that old habits die hard and entrenched perceptions are never easily overcome.

Rev Dick seemed also to have missed the part of my speech where I said: "I don't think there is any uniformity of political thought in any of these groups", instead choosing to describe as "half-hearted disclaimers" my opinion that these are perceptions and not necessarily reality.

'Perceptions' to avoid

It appears that, in his rush to judge, Rev Dick missed the substantive point: that these were 'perceptions' that civil-society groups should strive harder to avoid, in the interests of their core mandate and general public-policy discourse.

Let me also encourage Rev Dick to recognise that enunciating a policy, as he says the JCC has done to avoid perceptions of political bias, does not automatically change entrenched perceptions.

Having read his article, it appears Rev Dick has made my point even better than I could, by accepting that the JCC has had to confront criticisms of political bias in the past. I challenge him not to question the sincerity of intentions and accept my observations in the spirit for which they were intended.