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Gomes distances self from sex ed material

Published:Saturday | July 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Correction & Clarification

In a story published, headlined ‘Gomes distances self from sexed material’, we incorrectly stated that Kay Osborne became executive director of Jamaicans for Justice late last year. Osborne, in fact, assumed the role in April 2014. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

Claims and counterclaims are being thrown around in the controversy surrounding a sex-education manual which allegedly was wrongfully delivered in some children's home across the island.

Dr Carolyn Gomes, former executive director of Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ), has distanced herself from the controversial sections of the manual that was reported to have been surreptitiously delivered in the six privately run children's homes.

Following media reports that in a confidential letter to the board of JFJ she had taken responsibility for the underhanded way in which the content entered the homes, Gomes fired back yesterday, stating she was not at the helm of the human-rights group when the sections on oral and anal sex was developed and delivered in the homes.

"The content of the modules which make reference to anal sex and oral sex, were developed and delivered during the months of April and May 2014 when the executive director was Ms Kay Osborne," Gomes said in her response to the story.

Osborne took over as executive director from Gomes in April of this year.

Gomes said "It would have been Osborne's responsibility to bring the controversial content to the attention of JFJ's board."

JFJ response

However, in a release yesterday, JFJ said that based on its review, Osborne had nothing to do with the development, implementation, preparation and/or approval of the content of the Healthy Sexual Growth and Development in Marginalised Youth: Rights, Responsibilities and Life Skills project.

"At no point during this period did Dr Gomes, either in writing or verbally, indicate to Ms Osborne that JFJ was implementing a project of this nature. It is, therefore, wholly inaccurate to attribute responsibility to Ms Osborne for the content of the modules or for her to bring that content to the attention of the Board of JFJ," the statement read.

Gomes resigned from JFJ's board in June after arguments swirled that the project was inappropriate for the children it was meant to target in the homes, and permission was not granted for its delivery.

The Child Development Agency (CDA), which supervises the homes, has said it had no knowledge of the course.

Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna has since referred the matter to Attorney General Patrick Atkinson and Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison to investigate whether or not her office or the CDA can take action.