Trouble is brewing in the island’s sole child protection agency.
Staff at the state-run Child Care Board (CCB) is demanding the resignation or removal of the entire board over what they claim is the chairperson’s direct involvement in the daily running of the agency and more particularly, her handling of the filling of the vacant post of Deputy Director.
The disgruntled workers, who are ready to take industrial action over the matter, have called in their bargaining agent, the Unity Trade Union (UTU) led by Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn to represent them.
However, Franklyn told Barbados TODAY he would not be going the industrial action route just yet, but will first be writing the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs to outline the workers’ areas of concern.
While declining to spell out all those areas, he was adamant that the removal of the board would be high on the list.
“If the Permanent Secretary is unable to resolve the matter, then we would have to take whatever action is necessary,” he declared.
“The chairman is taking over the operations of the board. The staff wants to take industrial action, but I don’t want to rush into action yet. I will connect with the PS to try to get the issue resolved. People are being promoted who are not qualified for the job. People who are not social workers are getting promoted ahead of those who are,” Franklyn said.
“It is not only the chairman who must go, but the entire board because the chairman can only act through the board and I will be telling the Permanent Secretary we want the board gone because the board is not acting in the interest of the staff,” the union leader told Barbados TODAY.
A source with intimate knowledge of the agency’s operations explained that one of the main requirements for the posts of Deputy Director and Director is a qualification in social work.
“The person who is being pushed for the job of Deputy Director has qualifications on child mental health, but the person who should rightly get the position and is being sidelined is not only fully qualified in social work from Harvard University, but has acted in the position,” the source stated.
Barbados TODAY reached out to chairperson Catherine Jordan for comment, but was told she was in a meeting, and that the message had been passed on to her.
There was no word from her up to the time of publication.
Barbados TODAY also reached out to Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde who said she was unaware of the situation but would thoroughly investigate the matter on Thursday.