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Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator the Hon. Arthur Williams, has emphasised that the social partnership required to achieve national transformation, will only be realised when there is “true and genuine” communication among stakeholders.
Speaking at a conference for communication professionals in the public sector, held at the Office of the Prime Minister, on February 11, Senator Williams noted that “the relationships between the groups that are necessary for social partnership are strained and clouded by mistrust and cynicism.”
However, he said much of this mistrust occurs because of an absence of effective communication among the various groups. He said the Government, Opposition, trade unions, private sector, civil society and academia must come to the table ready to listen, participate, and make sacrifices in the name of nation building.
“We are all different in the way we perceive the world and how we perceive our respective interests. We operate under different policies and procedures and processes in our different working environment. With this realisation, I think we can fully appreciate the need to be open in sharing information,” he said.

Managing Director of the RJR Communications Group and Chairman of the Media Association of Jamaica, Gary Allen (left), presents the main address at a conference for communication professionals in the public sector, put on by the National Transformation Programme, at the Office of the Prime Minister, on February 11. Looking on are Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Arthur Williams (right) and National Director of the National Transformation Programme, Reverend Al Miller.

He noted that this was sometimes not easy, especially as it relates to participation of the Opposition in establishing a social partnership. However, Senator Williams said efforts should be made for even limited participation of the Parliamentary Opposition in any social partnership aimed at national development.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of the RJR Communications Group and Chairman of the Media Association of Jamaica, Gary Allen, also stressed the importance of effective communication from another angle, telling the communication practitioners how they could use communication as a tool to push the transformation message.
Mr. Allen, who was guest speaker at the conference, emphasised that national transformation was not about cosmetic changes, but a complete about-face, and that their communication methods would have to reflect this.
“Transformation is not a small incremental step from one place to the other. Transformation is not about changing the font that you use in the press releases or making the page look different. Transformation is not about just making sure that a line in the Minister’s speech is always there that says something about transforming something. Transformation is about doing some significant things that are noticeable and that have an impact that people can look at and recognise the change,” he explained.
He is suggesting that efforts to get the transformation message to the public make use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Youtube.
The one-day conference was put on by the National Transformation Programme under the theme: ‘Working Together Without Losing Mi Swagga!’ It focussed on how communication practitioners in the various Government departments can work together to push the process of national transformation, even as they maintain their individual identities and agendas.