Sat | Jun 12, 2021

I did not jump ship

Published:Wednesday | May 5, 2021 | 12:31 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I was very surprised, indeed shocked, when I saw front-page stories in the Jamaica Observer and in The Gleaner print and online platforms today (yesterday), bearing my image and preceded by headlines that I had “jumped ship” and “quit” the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.

I have not had any conversations with anyone about my time of service at ODPEM.

To begin with, I did not resign from ODPEM. I came to the agency on November 1, 2020, on a six-month secondment from my substantive position at the Electoral Office of Jamaica, with an option to seek an extension at the end of that period. This period ended on April 30, 2021, and I wish to state publicly that my decision to return to the EOJ has nothing to do with any unhappiness with or interference from the minister, ministry or the agency, as is being implied and stated in these media reports. I had, and still have, a cordial relationship with the honourable minister and the permanent secretary, and indeed other members of the ministry.

I wrote a letter to the chairperson of ODPEM, Miss Joy Douglas, on April 21, which I captioned ‘Letter of Appreciation – End of Secondment, Director-General – ODPEM’, in which I not only expressed my decision to return to the EOJ, but also thanked her and the team members at the agency for the way in which they received and supported me. That letter was emotionally difficult for me to write, as in this short space of time I have developed strong bonds with people at all levels of the agency. I also stated then, and repeat now, that these six months have been rewarding for me and have undoubtedly enhanced my personal and professional growth.

LESLIE O. HARROW