Hon. Zaila McCalla, OJ – Chief Justice & Chairman of Archives Advisory Committee
Deputy Chair – Mrs. Yvette Scott
Immediate Past President – Mrs. Pauline Nicholas
Mrs. Claudette Thomas – President Elect,
– Ms Stephaney Ferguson
– Mrs. Albertino Jefferson
– Ms. Norma Amenu-Kpodo
I consider it a distinct honour and pleasure that your association has invited me to be the Guest Speaker at your President’s Banquet this evening.
As the Minister with Responsibility for Information, I want to assure you that the Government of Jamaica is aware of the indispensible role that your association and your members play in the life of our country.
Records and information are the lifeblood of any society. They are the basis on which decisions are made, services provided and policies developed and communicated.
Good records and information management benefit all of us.
Those requesting information will be assured that the information provided will be complete and reliable.
Good records and information also benefit those keeping the information because they are able to locate and retrieve that information easily within statutory timescales.
It also supports the control and delivery of information.
Effective records and information management systems allow businesses to reduce their operating costs and retrieve records faster.
However, not withstanding these obvious benefits, there is a general lack of awareness in Jamaica about the importance and value of record and information management.
In today’s world with the tremendous strides that have been made in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) greater quantities of information are being produced and consumed.
It is therefore essential for government to have relevant measures in place to safeguard information flows and to promote and facilitate citizens’ public access to official and other forms of information.
Our administration recognizes that Jamaica is at a crucial point in the growth of its ICT sector and is well positioned to reap full benefits.
The development trajectory for reaping national ICT benefits involves five progressive steps:
Under the previous PNP administration, Jamaica made giant strides in increasing awareness and access to ICT.
This was achieved through the government’s bold move in liberalising the telecommunications sector through the dismantling of the monopoly on telephony.
The next stage of development will involve using ICT as:
An enabler of more efficient government operations;
A source of job creation;
A tool of empowerment for citizens;
A major support for the education sector, and
A spur to innovation.
In keeping with Jamaica’s 2030 vision and by extension the millennium development goals, the government commits to the use of digital technologies and networks as effective tools to allow for public access to information.
We will enable a legal environment that facilitates the development of a vibrant information and knowledge based society.
The Access to Information Act has been completed and review of a Cabinet Submission is to be prepared soon so the amendments recommended can be effected.
This will allow members of the public more access to Government information they would not have had access to in the past.
We intend to implement an effective ICT governance framework with clear roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and processes.
Your organisation – the Library and Information Association of Jamaica (LIAJA)) is poised to play a critical role in this process by providing leadership and development in the information field and to encourage learning and facilitating access to information.
Your members are information professionals who possess the requisite skills and competencies that can be applied to a variety of work settings that will ensure the attainment of a knowledge society by 2030.
I look forward to working closely with your association as we seek to make this vision a reality.
I wish your new team led by Mrs. Claudette Thomas–Government Archivist and President Elect of the Library and Information Association of Jamaica for 2012 all the best and I anticipate that we will develop a strong and rewarding working relationship.
Thank you and God bless you all and Jamaica land we love.