News Americas, New York, Thurs. Oct. 8, 2020: The President of North America’s largest Caribbean carnival association has called it quits, News Americas News Network has learnt.
Dr. Jean Joseph, in a letter dated September 25th to the board of directors of the West Indian American Day Carnival, (WIADCA), which has staged the New York Caribbean carnival for decades, said he is resigning because of disparaging remarks made about her “personally and professionally.”
“I cannot accept the disrespect and disparaging remarks made about me personally and my professional career. This has been the very least, unsettling, and at worst, libellous,” she said in the letter seen by NANN.
Jean, a certified accountant who has also served as WIADCA’s financial auditor in the past, said the Board has “assailed and treated him with the utmost disrespect” since he took office in April 2018. She cited a “hostile climate” which has triggered “infighting,” and said the Board has acted with a “complete disregard of the by-laws.”
Joseph added that the Board has sought to strip away his powers since 2018 and his only roll now is to “attend meetings and be abused by board members.”
“It is my hope that my resignation will best serve WIADCA,” Joseph concluded.
Dr. Joseph is a Dominica native and was the 7th President of the organization. The Board of Directors includes: Angela Sealy, Co-Chairperson; Valerie McLeod-Katz, Co-Chairperson; Patricia Warwick, 2nd Vice President; Karen D. Williams, Treasurer; Cecille Ford, Board Secretary; and general board members Anne-Rhea Smith, Deborah Benjamin, Leah Clark Brisard, Christine McLeod, Karen Crawford, Calvin Collins, Dr. Ionie Pierce, Michelle Gibbs-Francis and Michael Young Lao.
The resignation puts the spotlight on an organization that has long staged one of the biggest carnival events outside of the Caribbean, but which has faced tremendous criticism over the years, including for lack of fiscal transparency.
In May, blogger Jay Blessed, published a number of documents and emails obtained from a “whistleblower,” which she said showed “corruption” at WIADCA.
The board has so far not addressed the issue fully and has not made a formal statement on Joseph’s resignation, which comes just weeks after the staging of the first virtual carnival because of the pandemic.