New board for Clifton Boys' HomeWednesday, October 13, 2021
HEAD of the Anglican Diocese in Jamaica, Archbishop Howard Gregory yesterday announced the appointment of a new board of management for Clifton Boys' Home in Darliston, Westmoreland.
The new board, he said, will be chaired by retired educator Vincent Guthrie.
In a statement announcing the appointments, the archbishop noted that over the six decades since the diocese established the home, it has sought to provide an environment of security, emotional stability, spiritual development and growth. At the same time, he said the management had worked consistently to meet other basic needs of the boys who are deemed, by the courts of the land, to be in “need of care and protection”.
He expressed regret at the negative publicity which the home has received in recent months following allegations which are currently the subject of further investigation.
Last month, allegations of physical abuse led to the arrest and charge of three workers by the Westmoreland police.
Eighty-year-old Irene McDonald, who worked at the home for four decades, was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and unlawful wounding; her son, 58-year-old William McDonald, assistant manager; and her granddaughter, 35-year-old Rasheda McDonald, a housekeeper at the home, have both been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
At the time, then chairman of the home, Rev Hartley Perrin described the allegations as regrettable. He also said the three accused were no longer associated with the home.
Yesterday, Archbishop Gregory said the “diocese takes seriously the nature of the allegations and deplores anything that may suggest contravention of the home's stated mission of care”.
He expressed gratitude for the support received from stakeholders in the community in the operation of the home, especially during its reconstruction following a fire which destroyed the original facility on January 15, 2017.
“We have been anticipating a new chapter with the rebuilding of this new facility which has been extended to accommodate 40 boys, up from 30. We commit to ensuring the effective operation of the home so that it will maintain the highest standard of care for its charges and so fulfil the intention of its founders,” Archbishop Gregory stated.
He also affirmed that the diocese would continue to work in collaboration with the Child Protection and Family Services Agency to ensure compliance with the agency's policies governing the operation of children's homes.