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JFJ broadens base with UTech chapter

BY VERNON DAVIDSON Executive editor - publications davidsonv@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, December 09, 2013    

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AHEAD of its search for a new executive director, local human rights group Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) has formed a new chapter at the University of Technology, Jamaica as it moves to broaden its base.

News of the development was revealed by JFJ Chair Lisa Lakhan-Chen during last Wednesday's sitting of the Jamaica Observer Press Club at the newspaper's headquarters in Kingston.

"We're looking to the universities, colleges, high schools," Lakhan-Chen said as she spoke of the organisation's desire to increase membership for the future.

Dr Carolyn Gomes, the current executive director who co-founded JFJ in 1999, will demit office on December 31 and two days later begin a new job as executive director of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition.

The search for her replacement, Lakhan-Chen said, will see JFJ placing advertisements locally and internationally.

"We plan to take on a head hunter to assist with the whole process," Lakhan-Chen said, adding that the organisation will also be broadening its communications strategy.

"Like any other organisation in transition, I think it's a good thing," she said.

Asked whether or not there was any possibility of the new executive director being chosen from within, Lakhan-Chen said: "Well, if one of our directors wants to quit their 9 to 5 and take on this role, that would be great, but our directors practically work full-time jobs."

However, she made it clear that the organisation was committed to transparency in the process, and as such the position must be advertised.

Former JFJ chair and current director Susan Goffe concurred and added: "When Lisa speaks about transition, one of the good things is that Carolyn has agreed that she will join the board, because what that does is that it leaves open access to her skills and experience as we go through that transition process."

Gomes, who was also a guest at the Press Club, said she has already started making contacts for her new job and was looking forward to the change. However, she was also eager to continue to help JFJ to grow.

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