KINGSTON — Government and private sector agencies are being urged to maintain proper records as a key part of the process of national development.
Government Archivist at the Jamaica Archives and Records Department (JARD), Claudette Thomas, said good records management is an ordinary and essential component of a business operation and is intertwined with increased transparency, accountability and good governance.
“It is said that records document fundamental rights and obligations, and they document decisions and activities of government and the private sector. So, government agencies, corporations, organisations, everyone is being encouraged to embrace the principles of good records management. We need to have proper record keeping practises in all organisations,” she stated.
Mrs. Thomas was addressing a records management workshop held this morning (April 13) at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) headquarters on Half-Way-Tree Road.
Records management is the process of ensuringthe proper creation, maintenance, use and disposal of records to achieve efficient, transparent and accountable governance.
Meanwhile, the Government Archivist said there are plans to update legislation, which govern the Department.
“We recognise that these (laws) are dated in this Information and Communications Technology (ICT) environment and we are anticipating that opportunity. So, we are preparing the policy document and hopefully soon, an archives advisory committee will be on board to assist the process,” she informed.
In the meantime, the JARD will be celebrating a week of activities from April 17 to 20 under the theme: ‘Information Overload: Finding the Tree in the Digital Forest.’
Some of the activities planned for the week include a church service at the Boulevard Baptist Church on Sunday, April 17; a courtesy call on the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange; appearances on Television Jamaica and CVM TV morning programmes; and a poster competition.
The highlight of the week will be a records and archives management symposium at the Oxford Road offices of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) with head of the Broadcasting Commission, Cordell Green, as the main speaker.
Mrs. Thomas said the occasion will be used to show the importance of maintaining good records and information as part of the development process.
JARD is a Department of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and is governed by the Archives Act 1982 and the Archives (Official Records) Regulations, 1988.
The Department serves as the main repository in the country for the preservation of government records in paper, audiovisual and electronic formats, relating to the country's history and heritage. It collects archival materials relating to Jamaica, which are produced by government ministries, agencies and departments and persons of national importance as well as churches, charities and other organisations to ensure that primary material of cultural value to Jamaica are preserved.
It also provides a research and reference service to the public and disseminates information on the collection to promote interest and knowledge of the nation's history and culture.
Among the records in its archives is a patent of 600 acres of land awarded to National Hero, Nanny of the Maroons on December 21, 1740.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter