JAMAICA College (JC) Parents Teachers' Association (PTA) President Collin Greenland is fuming over a Wednesday-night hospital visit by a JC board member, whom he says has been the source of recent public discontent among the board, the PTA, and the Jamaica College Old Boys' Association (JCOBA) over the imbroglio involving former Principal Ruel Reid.

Greenland, who was in need of blood and admitted to Medical Associates Hospital last Friday, told the Jamaica Observer that board member Errol Holmes came to his hospital room and impeded his recovery.

“He said he came to pray with me, told the nurses that he was my pastor, but I don't have no pastor. I rebuked him and told him to get out of my face,” Greenland told the Observer. “I am so upset. It immediately shot up my blood pressure.”

Greenland said that he and Holmes have not been on speaking terms for seven years and accused Holmes of sowing seeds of discontent amongst the board, the PTA ,and the JCOBA.

“He was one of the main ones on the board who was trying to get rid of the PTA and the old boys off the board. He has openly protested us and we consider him one of the pro-Ruel Reid people on the board,” Greenland charged.

He said that board Chairman Michael Bernard told him he had nothing to do with the visit and he believes him. “A fellow old boy would not do that to another,” Greenland said, adding that he is only allowed one visitor, and not even his son has seen him since he has been hospitalised.

Regarding his health, Greenland said he is recovering, has been getting blood, and is building up his blood count.

But he wants an investigation into the hospital's breach of security.

When the Observer contacted Bernard he said his understanding of the incident is that, on hearing that Greenland was in need of blood, Holmes — a devout Seventh-day Adventist — went to the hospital in good faith and decided he was going to pray for him. He said he did not regard Holmes' action as ill-conceived.

“That is what the board member reported. There is no need to investigate anything because a board member in his private capacity, or even if he said, 'I am a colleague of Mr Greenland on the board' — then there is nothing wrong. So I don't know why it is being said or reported as him passing off himself as a pastor, when in fact what he said to me is that he went and said, I am a colleague board member and I would like to pray with him. That is all innocent and certainly in any good faith and something I would do under normal circumstances, if I was so inclined,” Bernard told the Observer.

Bernard added: “[Holmes] is a calm, highly contributing board member who, in his good conscience and good faith, chose to go and pray with the gentleman. As I understand from him, he is distraught from the reception he got when he went in good faith and good intention to pray for his colleague board member. If he knew this would happen he wouldn't have gone.”

Meanwhile, Holmes has denied Greenland's allegations that his visit was to frustrate him. He explained that when he heard that Greenland was not well he went to the hospital in the capacity of board member and Christian to pray.

“Yesterday my board chairman sent a note in our group to indicate that Collin Greenland was not well and he was in Medical Associates Hospital and he was in need of blood. I went to see him at the close of the business day because he is a fellow board member. I went in that capacity as a board member, and I am also a Christian. Whenever these things happen I tend to go and visit those that I know and pray with them in the hospital. I went to the hospital and asked the hospital whether or not I could see him. They asked me what was my relationship with him and I said that he is a colleague board member, whereupon the nurse took me to his room and I said, 'Hi, Collin', and I offered to pray with him. He did not want the prayer,” Holmes told the Observer.

“I simply went to the hospital to pray for Mr Greenland because that is what I do as a person. Anybody who knows Errol Holmes knows this is one of the things that I do. I did not fraudulently try to get to his room. I simply indicated, as I said to you... If any member of the board was in hospital I would have done the same thing. If any member of my staff, if any member of my church, if any friend or colleague — this is what I do...I hope that Mr Greenland will change his mind when he hears this. I have no feelings except sadness. I wish Mr Greenland well and I pray that he will soon return to full health, which was my purpose of going to pray for him,” Holmes said.

Last Saturday, Reid, who was granted special leave to serve as education minister, demitted office as principal after coming to an agreement with Jamaica College and the education ministry, given that he is now before the court on corruption charges.

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT Associate editor — news/health hibbertk@jamaicaobserver.com

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