§ Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris
§ Custos of St. James, Hon. Ewen Corrodus
§ Members of Parliament and other political representatives
§ Executives from government entities and the business community
§ Reverend Cecil Roache and Mrs. Roache
§ Other distinguished guests/ citizens of Montego Bay and its environs including Principals, Service Club Members and the Media Fraternity
§ Hosts, CEO, management and staff of the JIS from Head Office
§ Mr Bryan Miller, Manager of JIS Montego Bay and his team
It is my distinct pleasure, as Minister with Responsibility for Information, to participate in this Official Opening Ceremony for the new JIS Montego Bay Office, the super office of the JIS in the west.
I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the Montego Bay team for distinguishing itself over the years as a high performing and cohesive unit.
This has helped to cement your place as the information arm of the government in the west.
Your commitment to performing at a high standard, even with the major challenge of meagre or in some cases non-existent resources over the years is evident in the work that you have put out.
We appreciate your dedication to successive governments over the years and to the people of Jamaica.
Some of you have been working with JIS for years but that has not tempered your drive to be the best.
You are passionate about your work and you strive to be the best in not only the JIS but in the industry.
I understand that recently you challenged your CEO to place any team from Head Office up against you in a competition and you will be the winners.
You are confident of a win because of your high level of commitment to the organisation and its work and to Jamaica.
The decision to move the office to a new location which has more space is a step in the right direction especially as we carry out the mandate to make our government more accessible and responsive to the needs of the people.
In addition, it will help you to fulfill the mandate of the JIS to earn a portion of its operating costs by becoming earners of revenue.
I have heard quite a bit about this team and I am confident that you will be a team to be reckoned with in the agency.
It is my understanding that you will now be competing against the big guns in the agency such as the Research and Publications Department, Television and Computer Services.
But I also understand that Bryan has a business plan which he has been anxious to implement and one which will transform the office into a truly super office.
I am committed to ensuring that you are adequately resourced to deliver on your strategic objectives.
I must commend you, Bryan as the Montego Bay Manager for your outstanding leadership.
Your team speaks highly of your leadership style and the fact that you lead by example.
Leadership and success have always been partners.
True leaders know how to bring the team together and how to get the best out of them.
“A leader is always a team player. True leaders are aware that no great accomplishment has ever been achieved by one individual."
From all accounts, Bryan, you have these qualities and I want to encourage you to grow as a leader and coach your team into growing with you.
To the team…I say Bryan couldn’t have done it without you.
You also understand that the reward for good work is… more work. But you are equal to the task:
Continue to stand by your team leader. You have supported the growth of the organisation. You represent the JIS in the west.
§ Glenis?(Information Officer)
§ Garfield?(Information Officer)
§ Ann-marie ?(Administrative Assistant)
§ Paulette ?(Office Attendant)
§ Sheldon?(Technical Officer)
§ Jermane ?(Technical Officer)
§ Kavanaugh?(Technical Officer)
§ Aston ?(Technical Officer)
§ Avair?(Technical Officer)
For your willingness to go the extra mile, being protective of your image and doing your part to ensure adequate coverage of the parishes under your jurisdiction, we thank you.
JIS Corporate Plan
I just completed my review of the agency’s Strategic Corporate Plan and as I told Donna-Marie I am pleased with the direction of the agency.
I identified clearly defined strategies to meet your corporate goals.
I am confident that with this leadership team with whom I have interacted and with all hands on deck the JIS will be successful in achieving the goals.
In fact I have always maintained that in addition to its work as the government’s information arm, the JIS plays an integral role in recording our history and culture with its archives dating as far back as the 1960s.
I noted in your plan that there are measures being taken to maximise the value of your intellectual property with the production of niche market products. This is the way to go.
I am keen on marketing the services and products of the JIS. Your CEO and I have had some discussions and you have my commitment that the marketing and sales thrust will be strengthened this year.
JIS is pivotal in our approach to promote transparency and a more open government.
The Prime Minister, The Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller is committed to transparency in governance.
In her inaugural address, the Prime Minister stated that our administration will be marked by greater openness in government and frankness in our relations.
The Government must proactively release as much information as possible so that the public knows what we are doing to ensure economic growth and development, socio-economic justice, the protection of rights, the encouragement of local entrepreneurship and private sector business activity.
We must celebrate the value of openness in the engagement of the Government with the public “to improve services, manage public resources, promote innovation, and create safer communities”.
The Government understands that technology complements useable and useful information.
It is not a substitute for it and the Government is trying to ensure that the public is provided with information that can assist their daily decision-making process and empower them to be informed and engaged citizens.
The promotion of openness and accountability requires a sustained and comprehensive approach.
There is a critical and fundamental role to be played by the JIS in providing valuable government information to the public in timely, efficient and technologically innovative ways, including online through its website: www.jis.gov.jm and the use of social media.
While new technologies create new opportunities to share information with the public and harness public participation these methods will continue to be complemented by traditional methods of media communication through the electronic and print media.
Already under my leadership we have:
§ Expanded the scope of weekly Jamaica House Briefing
§ Looked at how we can make Government more accessible through the use of technology and the Access to Information Act.
A new OPM website is now under construction by the team at the JIS. I like what I see so far.
§ Momentum to successful switchover to digital by 2015 has started.
We expect to roll out an education programme in short order.
We have to ensure that our people do not become the victims of unscrupulous merchants who may want to profit from dumping TVs at cheaper prices that they know will become obsolete in a few years.
It is our job to protect to our people and JIS will be an important part of this campaign.
Consumers must therefore take care when buying new TVs to ensure they are not based on analogue technology.
JIS will have to help educate our consumers so they will know what to look for when buying a new TV because they won't be able to use analogue TVs after the switch-over.
§ Monthly meetings of government communicators across all the ministries and agencies to effect open and transparent communication of government information.
Three meetings behind us and we already are seeing more cohesion and the start of a more open approach to government.
Again JIS will be critical in this as you assist ministries and ministers in getting their messages out.
With some 22 radio stations, more than ten community cable channels and a growing network of outlets for the programmes produced by the JIS, you will agree that this framework can only augur well for the prime minister’s commitment to openness and transparency.
As we work together to build a gentler, more respectful and responsible society in keeping with the Honourable Prime Minister’s vision for Jamaica, JIS’ programmes on vision 2030 Jamaica, news and feature packages on radio and television are all geared toward highlighting the work of government within this context.
I know for example that school communities across the island depend heavily on the information and material produced by the JIS to complete heritage and independence assignments.
You will note that there is a wide range of publications on sale right here in the Montego Bay office.
I should share with you also that the JIS website is among the top three most popular websites in the island.
I want to urge you to visit their Jamaica 50 webpage, specially designed to commemorate our Golden Jubilee.
There is resource information on all our parishes, a calendar of events to mark Jamaica 50 and of course our achievements in sports as we countdown to the highly anticipated Olympics in London.
As I close, let me extend my appreciation to the National Housing Trust for working with the JIS to ensure that we have office space of which we can all be proud.
I am depending on you to continue to be responsive to their maintenance requests as we work towards strengthening the JIS brand, and ensuring that the brand is recognised for high quality…and your maintenance of their space will contribute to the achievement of these goals.
I am confident that this new location will enhance customer service delivery, provide the opportunities to develop new revenue streams and of course raise the morale of the staff.
We are indeed looking forward to great successes from the Mobay team this year.
To all of our friends here today and I see many sectors represented… I thank you for your support of the JIS and especially the Montego Bay team.
To the west I say, the JIS is at your service and it is the pleasure and privilege of its staff members to serve you, the people, through this new office.
I extend best wishes to you.