Director Grace Baston led the Litany of Thanksgiving at St Luke’s Church recently for the 20th Anniversary of Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) founded by the late Father Jim Webb SJ. The priest resolved to start CAFFE after he arrived at a polling station in Kingston’s inner city, and was told, ‘Fadah, yu vote already.’
Father Jim called up a group of us for a meeting at the Roman Catholic Chancery, hosted by then Archbishop Edgerton Clarke. It was great to get together with fellow founding members Archbishop Emeritus Clarke, founding chairman Dr Alfred Sangster, Dr O’Meally-Nelson and Anton Thompson who still serves as a Director and Treasurer. Other members of the hard-working civic organisation are Nancy Anderson, Director and Secretary and Mario Samms, Supervisor.
Being a consultant to the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), I recused myself from CAFFE, but had the pleasure of organizing a meeting between Dr Sangster and then Director of Elections Danville Walker who heartily welcomed the formation of the election monitoring body. Chairman of the ECJ, Dorothy Pine-McLarty has also praised the work of CAFFE, and participated in the Anniversary celebrations.
CAFFE Chairman Dr Lloyd Barnett used the occasion to pay tribute to Archbishop Clarke, who was celebrating his 50th Anniversary as a Bishop. In his response, Archbishop Clarke reminded us that ‘Jamaicans are a people of dignity’ and called for respect to ‘be given from the cradle’. He said it was respect that helps people ‘to become fully human … so make that a priority in your lives.’ He said that respect can only come from honesty. “We must learn to be truthful to selves and truthful to each other,” he declared.