STATEMENT BY SENATOR THE HON. SANDREA FALCONER, MINISTER WITH RESPONSIBILITY FOR INFORMATION IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER, ON THE PASSING OF RALSTON SMITH
KINGSTON, Jan. 20 (JIS):
It is with deep regret that I note the passing of pioneering public relations practitioner and communications specialist, Ralston Smith, who co-founded Jamaica’s first pubic relations firm, Public Relations Associates, 58 years ago.
Ralston Smith was a giant in his field. His towering impact leaves a legacy of excellence, rigour and professionalism in the lives of the many he had influenced. Strong on training and professional development, he was always keen on encouraging others to improve their skills, while also providing opportunities for many to do so.
He was a founding member of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica, which has played a key role in enhancing the development of practitioners and in providing valuable service to Jamaica’s private sector in particular.
Ralston Smith worked tirelessly to establish public relations and communications as a vital aspect of management and corporate governance and he played a crucial role in promoting many brands which have established Jamaica as a country of excellence in business and commerce. We now know how critical marketing and communications is to business development.
Ralston Smith was ahead of his time and forged that consciousness among many in the corporate world. As Minister with responsibility for information, I salute him for his sterling contribution.
Mr. Smith also played an important role in the public information system, servicing as Executive Director of the then Agency for Pubic Information (API), now Jamaica Information Service(JIS) in the 1970s, going on to become Executive Chairman of its spin-off agency, Jampress, in the 1990s. Mr. Smith was also communications advisor to then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development, Planning and Production, P.J. Patterson. He later served as Press Secretary to Mr. Patterson when he became Prime Minister.
In the communications history of Jamaica, Ralston Smith’s role has been large and legendary. On behalf of the Government, I offer condolences to his widow, Pearl, his children and his many professional colleagues in the public relations and media fraternities.