New board installed at scandal-rocked Clifton Boys’ Home
The Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands has appointed new management for the Westmoreland-based Clifton Boys’ Home in the wake of an abuse scandal that has rocked the 60-year-old facility.
The home is to be headed by retired educator Vincent Guthrie.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday, the Most Reverend Howard Gregory, Archbishop of the West Indies and Bishop of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands, said that the diocese would be working closely with the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) to uphold the standards of care for the 40 boys housed at Clifton.
“We have been anticipating a new chapter with the rebuilding of this new facility,” Gregory said of a fire that destroyed the home on January 15, 2017.
“Our Diocese takes seriously the nature of the allegations and deplores anything that may suggest contravention of the home’s stated mission of care,” he added.
The archbishop did not state how soon the new board of management would take up its role, or when Guthrie would begin overseeing operations.
Three employees of the Clifton Boys’ Home were charged last month in relation to allegations of physical abuse against eight wards at the facility between March 2016 and March 2021. The boys were aged 10 to 17 at the time of the alleged incidents.
Irene McDonald, the home’s 80-year-old former manager, has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and unlawful wounding. Her son, 58-year-old William McDonald, who worked as an assistant manager, and her granddaughter, 35-year-old Rasheda McDonald, a housekeeper at the facility, have both been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
According to police reports, on one occasion, William McDonald reportedly used an iron chair to beat a 17-year-old ward, and on another, he beat a 15-year-old boy with a length of board and dragged another boy down a flight of stairs.
Additionally, Irene McDonald reportedly beat four other children, resulting in bruises. Rasheda McDonald allegedly physically assaulted two boys.