BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS Senior staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, December 10, 2015
Hanna, in a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said she was outraged at the behavior of the CDA officers, which first came into question after a complaint was lodged with the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) against the CDA over the incident which occurred in March this year. A troubling report from the OCA’s probe into the matter was also laid before the House.
|Hon. Lisa Hanna- PALAS File Photo|
Asked at a Jamaica House press briefing yesterday whether the employees would face any penalties right away, notwithstanding the upcoming hearing, Hanna stressed that due process must be followed.
“One could hypothetically say the person should be fired, based on what I have seen in the report, but at the end of the day…all of us understand that sometimes we have to be merciful and understanding [but] due process has to be followed.We will await the findings of their statement and the hearing, so that any decision can be transparent across the board,” she said. The disciplinary hearings are scheduled to start on December 22.
In March, the CDA told the Children’s Affairs Division of the ministry that it had removed the children from the facility because the court had denied an application from the home’s manager, Vivelyn Morgan, for an extension of an eviction notice for the property which housed the place of safety. But the explanation was proven by the OCA’s investigation, not to be entirely true.
“The lady didn’t get an eviction notice…she got a notice to quit and it was consensual. She did not go to court on February 15 as was communicated; she went to court on February 24, and it was the same day that they were removing the children [from the property]. She had leased the facility for three years and the person overseas sold the property so it wasn’t a case where the lady was doing anything untoward,” Hanna said.
Despite Morgan’s pleas, no mercy was shown as the children — some of them siblings — were taken from the St Catherine facility and placed in six homes.
Children’s Advocate Dihann Gordon Harrison said the officers’ actions were “neither becoming of persons who are involved in child welfare as the children were simply bundled up and carted off like animals or inanimate beings to other children’s homes with no apparent consideration for their welfare”.
Hanna insisted that protocols are in place for the removal of wards, but apparently these were ignored including providing counselling, and ensuring that their education is not disrupted. “The guidelines are there (and) the minister must be informed …I was informed, but not only did I get wrong information, but the Children’s Advocate got wrong information”, Hanna said. more