The Jamaican Caves Organisation

 

Memorandum of Association

 

1. Name

 

1.1 The Jamaican Caves Organisation, (JCO).

 

2. Aims

 

2.1 To assist in the preservation of the Caves and Karst of Jamaica.

2.2 To facilitate communication and interaction between persons interested in the Caves and Karst of Jamaica.

2.3 To promote the publication and dissemination of information related to Karst conservation and management in Jamaica.

2.4 To provide a legal basis for the protection of the members' contributed data.

2.5 To raise funds to further the aims of the organisation.

 

3. Liability

 

3.1 The liability of the members is limited. Every member of the Organisation undertakes to contribute to the assets of the company in the event of its being wound up while he/she is a member, or within one year afterwards, for payments of the debts and liabilities of the company contracted before he/she ceases to be a member, and the costs, charges and expenses of winding up, such amount as may be required but not exceeding 1 J$.

 

4. Management

 

4.1 The affairs of the Organisation shall be managed by a Council of not less than five elected members, including five officers, and not more than six members in total. Members of Council are Directors of the Organisation

4.2 The officers shall be Chairperson, Vice-chairperson, and Secretary. Other positions may be allocated to Council members by the Council if required.

4.3 The Council will be responsible for the management of the Organisation's data, materials and products. It will act with due care in the release of information with regard to any prior agreements with contributors of data and the types of use such information may be subject to.

4.4 The duties of the Chairperson shall be: (i) to chair meetings of the Council and all General Meetings; (ii) to lead new initiatives of, and to guide and promote the activities of, the Organisation; and (iii) to represent the Organisation.

4.5 The duties of the Vice-chairperson shall be those of the Chairperson in his or her absence, and to manage the regular affairs of the Organisation as agreed by the Chairperson.

4.6 The duties of the Secretary shall be to take phone calls for, and serve cold beer to, the Organisation, and to carry out other secretarial duties as requested by the Council.

 

5. Election of Council and Officers

 

5.1 The election of officers and other members of the Council shall take place only at Annual General Meetings, as Council vacancies arise. Where an officer is not elected, the Council will appoint one of their number to that position.

5.2 Each member has one vote.

5.3 The term of office of Council members shall be two years and members shall be eligible for immediate re-election.

5.4 All nominations for election shall be in writing, or submitted via email, signed by two members of the Organisation with the written consent of the candidate to serve if elected. Nominations for election to the Council shall be given to the Secretary at or before the Annual General Meeting.

5.5 Temporary appointments until the next General Meeting may be made by the Council to fill vacancies arising during a term of office.

5.6 The Council shall be empowered to appoint Committees from among members of the Organisation, and determine the terms of reference of such committees.

5.7 Only Organisation members may participate in elections.

5.8 A member of Council shall vacate the Council if they resign in writing.

 

6. Council Meetings

 

6.1 The Secretary shall be authorised to call meetings of the Council, when so directed by the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson.

6.2 Alternatively, any four Council members, acting in concert, may call a Council meeting.

6.3 All Council members must be informed in writing of the date, time and venue of any forthcoming Council meeting at least 14 days in advance of that Council meeting.

6.4 A quorum at the meeting of the Council shall consist of four elected members.

6.5 The decisions of the Council shall be taken by a majority vote.

6.6 Council meetings may be held with electronic participation by members who are unable to physically attend.

 

7. General Meetings

 

7.1 The Annual General Meeting shall be held at approximately annual intervals, at such time and place as shall be decided by the Council.

7.2 The Secretary shall at the direction of the Council, be empowered to call a General Meetings for the consideration of the business of the Organisation.

7.3 The Council shall give all members of the Organisation not less than 4 weeks notice of the date, time and place of any General Meeting. Accidental omissions to provide notice to individual members, or non-receipt of members of such notices, shall not invalidate the proceedings of a meeting.

7.4 A quorum of any General Meeting shall be the number of elected members on the Council plus one.

7.5 Decisions shall be taken by a simple majority vote. In the event of a tie, no decision shall be taken.

7.6 Voting shall be by ballot, or by show of hands if so agreed by a majority of members present.

7.7 Voting by proxy, duly authorised in writing, will be permitted. A proxy need not be a member of the Organisation.

 

8. Membership

 

8.1 Membership will be open to persons who have substantial experience  in Jamaican Caving, or who have made substantial contributions to the preservation of the Karst of Jamaica. Such members do not have to pay a membership fee.

8.2 New members will be admitted to the JCO by way of a two-step process: An existing member will sponsor the application and submit it to the Council. Council members will then decide, by simple majority vote, if the application should be submitted to the general membership for consideration. If the Council decides in the affirmative, the application will then be decided by simple majority vote by the general membership at the first opportunity.

8.3 Payment of a financial subscription will be on a voluntary basis and open to members and other persons and organisations subject to approval by Council.

 

9. Privileges of Membership

 

9.1 Members shall be entitled to be notified of and granted access to all meetings of the Organisation, but only by the invitation of the Council to Council Meetings, or by the invitation of a Committee to Committee Meetings.

9.2 Members shall be entitled to submit articles and letters for consideration for publication in any publications of the Organisation.

9.3 Members shall be entitled to attend and vote at all meetings of the Organisation, other than Council and Committee Meetings.

9.4 Membership will not entitle any person or organisation to receive any money from the Organisation.

 

10. Responsibilities of Membership

 

10.1 Preservation requirements have priority over project objectives, and apply to all speleological activity, i.e. research, caving, tourism. These preservation requirements include the following:

10.11 Minimal and non-permanent disturbance of cave biota and associated habitats. These habitats include, but are not restricted to, the following:

10.111 Bat roosting chambers and associated guano deposits.

10.112 Hydrologically active systems that supply habitat to aquatic species.

10.113 Twilight zone area of caves with resident troglophiles.

10.12 No disturbance to archaeological sites. Activity must be limited to passive observations.

10.13 No disturbance to speleothems or the processes that form them.

10.14 Minimal compaction of floor material.

 

10.2 The JCO, and all of its members, in order to do no harm, and to be guided in our activities, will remain in consultation with an Advisory Committee, (the formation of which is addressed in Paragraph 12). Prior to all projects taking place, a proposal will be submitted to this Committee for review. After the completion of the project, a report will be made to the Committee, and the wider JCO membership, with emphasis on notable/sensitive discoveries. Accurate positions, (or descriptions that will enable a visit), for vulnerable caves, will not be made available outside of the JCO until they have been cleared by the Advisory Committee.

 

10.3 Because caving is inherently dangerous, the main priority of every member, of every caving team, in every cave and sinkhole, is to follow procedures that will increase the likelihood of maintaining a 100% survival rate. To facilitate this, the following procedures will be adhered to.

10.31 All rigging for drops, and vertigear, must be double-checked by another member of the team.

10.32 In active river caves, opinions on flood-risk must be shared and the team will abandon the visit if any one member of the team feels at risk.

10.33 In complex caves that are not well-known, two members of the team must flag, and the team will remain in contact at all times.

 

10.4 Our knowledge of the caves of Jamaica is rare. To ensure that no harm is done, JCO members will not act as guides in any caves in Jamaica, unless permission has been obtained from the Council.

 

10.5 The JCO is in a unique position to educate the public in the value of caves and karst. During JCO activities, members will take advantage of every opportunity to inform local assistants of the hydrological and biological factors involved in the preservation of the caves and karst of the island.

 

10.6 JCO members will, whenever possible, try to improve the hydrological conditions, and biological health, of degraded caves. This will be done in consultation with our colleagues. Degraded caves are defined as follows:

10.61 Bat-roosts that have been extensively mined for bat guano and currently have few existing bats, and few inverts.

10.62 River caves that have a great degree of siltation, due to cultivation in catchments.

10.63 River caves that have a great degree of rafted garbage because of upstream activity.

10.64 Sinkholes used as pit-toilets or dumps.

 

11. Establishment of General Policies and Guidelines

 

11.1 The JCO, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, will establish a set of policies and guidelines for Caving and Speleological Research in Jamaica that will be shared with the wider Caving community. These policies and guidelines will be periodically reviewed and amended as need dictates.

11.2 The process by which amendments will be made to policies and guidelines will be established as soon as is possible, under the direction of the Council.

11.3 All policies and guidelines will be subject to the approval of the Advisory Committee.

 

12. Establishment of an Advisory Committee

 

12.1 At first opportunity, an Advisory Committee, comprised of experts in the fields of conservation, biology, archaeology, hydrology, and geomorphology, will be established that will have veto power over all JCO plans and projects.

12.2 Approval of plans and projects by the Advisory Committee will be by simple majority of all the members of the Committee, with individual veto power vested in the member of the Committee in whose field to which the project most closely applies.

12.3 Participation in the Committee is on a voluntary basis with no remuneration.

12.4 Committee members are not subject to vote or recall by the Council or general membership of the JCO, except in the case of non-involvement over a 12 month period.

12.5 Committee members are free to decide amongst themselves the addition of new members to the Committee, on condition that the new member has a doctorate in a field that pertains to speleology, or has substantial experience in Karst conservation efforts.

 

13. Amendments to the Constitution

 

13.1 No rule shall be made, altered or deleted from this constitution, except at a General Meeting of the Organisation. All members are entitled to suggest an amendment, prior to a General Meeting, by submitting the suggested change to the Council.

13.2 The Council shall notify members of any suggested amendment before the General Meeting at which it is to be considered. A majority of two-thirds of those present in favour of the amendment shall authorise the amendment.

13.3 Amendments proposed before a General Meeting may be amended themselves during the General Meeting, with the consent of the proposer of the original amendment and a simple majority of those present at the General Meeting.