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Kingston, Jamaica Wednesday, June 14, 2023
The Jamaica Civil Service Association Men’s Coalition Committee expresses its sympathy to the family, friends and coworkers of slain constable Damien Blair of Manchester. It is alleged that prior to his death, he was the victim of intimate partner abuse for years, which may have played a part in his demise. The relative silence of mainstream media and gender advocates on this matter is deafening, and the JCSA Men’s Coalition Committee notes the apparent double standard and disparity with which issues that involve the spousal abuse of men are treated.
One might argue that the number of males experiencing intimate partner abuse is minuscule, and therefore the lack of interest by civic groups is understandable. However, we posit that this number is underreported, as the male victims fear further negative emotional victimization, and would rather hide their abuse in shame than seek professional assistance. Furthermore, while society encourages women in abusive relationships to leave, men in abusive relationships are encouraged to stay and ‘man up’. This presents an inequitable situation for men in abusive relationships.
The issue of domestic violence against men in our society requires serious attention, especially as we continue to advocate for gender equality. Equality can only be achieved if both genders are treated with the same respect. Therefore, society should not just stereotype men only as brave protectors but must also consider that men can be scared, emotional, or vulnerable. Similarly, when people hear of domestic abuse, there should be no assumptions as to the guilty party. The Men’s Coalition Committee presents this statement as a first step towards a change in the narrative so that our Jamaican society will begin to realize that men are also victims of abusive relationships and that they too must be given the freedom to share and seek professional assistance when needed without being unfairly stereotyped.
We are therefore proposing that we do more to educate men and women on the benefits of conflict resolution and how to build long-lasting relationships because we believe this is the cornerstone of a very productive society.
Kingston, Jamaica Thursday, June 15, 2023
Each year, the world observes 16 Days of Activism. From November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day), the Women Action Committee (WAC) of the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) demonstrates our commitment to eliminate gender-based violence, especially against women and girls in our society –a plague that still runs rampant in our little island home – Jamaica. The unfortunate reality is that too many of us, in the words of the legendary Bob Marley, are prepared to “…stand aside and look” whilst this menace continues to engulf our country.
It is with deep sympathy and grave concern that the Women Action Committee has learnt of the brutal murder of little Danielle Rowe, who attended the Braeton Primary and Infant School in Portmore, St. Catherine. It was reported that she was abducted after leaving school in the afternoon on Thursday, June 8, 2023, and her throat was slashed before she was thrown out of a motor vehicle on Roosevelt Avenue in St. Andrew. We prayed she would survive, but we were saddened to learn that she succumbed to her injuries on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at the hospital where she had been taken by a soldier who found her on the roadway.
We condemn such violence against our children as we encourage adults to care for and love our children, the future generation of tomorrow. We must learn to communicate and work out any issues we have with each other in a civil manner as adults and leave the children out of the equation. More social services and interventions are required to help persons who may have mental and other social issues in our society. We hope that the police officers will solve this case and bring the perpetrator(s) to justice so that there can be closure for her loved ones and those who were impacted by her death.
The Women Action Committee (WAC) wishes to express our sincerest condolences to the family, friends, and school mates of little Danielle Rowe. May her soul rest in peace and light perpetual shine on her.
Why are Contract Workers being barred from benefitting under the Restructuring of Compensation?
The Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) has long complained about the use of contract employment in the Jamaican Public Sector and again we are seeing that the Ministry with responsibility for the Public Service by way of Circular #20 has dealt another blow against contract officers by deliberately excluding them from the Compensation Restructuring with effect from April 1, 2022, thus denying them an increase in wages for the period to when their contracts are renewed. This typifies the precarious nature of contract employment and its inconsistency with tenets of decent work.
This is a first in the public sector as all contracts for typical jobs in the public sector are reviewed whenever there are any adjustments to the emoluments or compensation of the officers who are appointed in similar post and in jobs of indeterminate duration and scope.
The Circular is another poor example of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (MoF&PS) not recognising that restrictions in the establishment of posts should not put the worker employed on contract at a disadvantage. The steps taken to bar workers from better compensation under the Restructuring of Compensation in the public sector from April 1, 2022, should have never been done. There was no need for this, and it has only served to dampen the morale of these officers and let them feel like second-class employees.
The JCSA would have raised our concerns to the MoF&PS and we are yet to receive a proper response on how they will resolve this issue. The Ministry is not in the habit of recalling Circulars, but this is one time that they should and reverse it. This would allow these officers to benefit alongside their colleagues who carry out similar work of similar value but are being otherwise compensated.
As a public service we should set the example for the nation and not seek to take actions that cause the government to appear that it discriminates against workers because they are on contract. Note that temporary employees who are not on contract are not treated in this manner, but they are just as tenuous in their employment.
Also, the Government has moved to include items not settled on in our MOU signing in the Compensation Restructuring. This includes Location Incentive, Duty Allowances and Qualification Increments. Despite our pointing out to the Government that they have erred, there has been no movement to fix this. For example, Duty Allowance is in lieu of overtime and its “absorption” would have caused workers to do extra work without compensation as we have not yet agreed on the policies to treat with overtime and related payments.
Further they have signaled in the said Circular #20 that effective April 1, 2022, no increments will be paid for performance and this will be so until 2025/2026. This is antithetical to a meritocracy and a performance driven culture in the public service. While the government moves to revise its policies on Performance Management through the Office of the Cabinet, it should continue to reward workers who have performed and are adding value in the delivery of public services. This also supports the Government of Jamaica Service Excellence Policy launched by the Prime Minister at Jamaica House in July 2022.
The Government must do better, the Compensation Restructuring is having a deep psychological impact on workers and we need to be careful how we pursue this policy change, everything must be in sync.
We have written to the MoF&PS and there has been no response. We hope that this signals to them the seriousness of our intentions to protect the right and interests of public sector workers. compensation.
O’Neil W. Grant, MBA
January 3, 2023
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