The operations of the Jamaica Archives and Records Department (JARD) have been significantly enhanced by the provision of audio-visual equipment.
The equipment, on which the Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education (CHASE) Fund spent $5 million, was formally presented to representatives of JARD at a brief ceremony at the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ), South Odeon Avenue, Kingston on Thursday (April 29).
Jamaica Microfilm Incorporated Company Limited was instrumental in procuring the equipment, which includes computers, reel to reel players, compact and digital video discs (DVDs), and VHS players. JARD’s Audio-Visual Unit will have direct responsibility for the equipment.
Procurement of the equipment will facilitate digitisation of the archival records of ministries and public sector agencies by JARD, ensuring their efficient and effective management and preservation and future use by the Government and citizens of Jamaica, consistent with the entity’s mandate.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (second left), and Chief Executive Officer of the Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education (CHASE) Fund, William ‘Billy’ Heaven (right), listen to Conservator in the Audio Visual Unit, Jamaica Archives and Records Department (JARD), Kevin Garwood (left), explaining the functions of audio-visual equipment handed over to the entity on Thursday (April 29), during a brief ceremony at the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica’s office in Kingston on Thursday (April 29).
The audio, film and video collection of the defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) will be the first set of material to be digitised using the equipment. The JBC was divested and sold to the RJR Communications Group in 1997 and now operates as Television Jamaica (TVJ).
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, noted that the equipment, which is already in use, is another significant increment in Jamaica’s progress in the area of archiving and records management.
“This equipment will help us to organise and preserve our sound and motion picture heritage, beginning with the audio and video assets of the former Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC),” she said.
She said that the JBC told the story of the nation’s development during its time, through excellent productions. Unfortunately, some of those works have been lost but, she said, her Ministry is committed to preserving what remains for the benefit of all Jamaicans.
“We owe it to our young people and future generations to do this,” the Minister said.
Miss Grange explained that, currently, the JBC’s video and audio collection were in the custody of JARD, while the film was in the possession of the National Library of Jamaica. She said that the JBC’s other assets, including video and library copyrights, were vested in the PBCJ.
She said that exploitation of the collection is governed not only by the provisions of relevant legislations, such as the Copyright Act of 1993 and the Archives Act of 1982, but also by the PBCJ Act.
“So we are signaling. that we are embarking on a change of culture regarding records management. We can no longer allow our archives (to get) lost, and so what is left (of the JBC’s assets) has been secured. Our heritage is a national treasure with tremendous social and economic benefits that we must protect,” Miss Grange asserted.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CHASE Fund, William ‘Billy’ Heaven, said the agency was pleased to have been able to contribute to the preservation of the JBC’s collection, pointing out that the entity, being the sole television station during most of its years in operation, would have been a great source of audio-visual history.
“At CHASE, we believe that documenting our heritage and history and making it available to the public, is an important part of national development.and so we thought it was important to support the preservation of our political records, our sporting records, cultural and historical audio-visual material for future generations,” Mr. Heaven said.