Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Minutes General Meeting November 27 2013

Minutes of the General Meeting
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
New Kingston Conference Centre (NKCC)
New Kingston Business Centre, 30 Dominica Drive, Kingston 10

  • Mr Christopher Benjamin, President, Consultant
  • Mr Rohan Powell, VP Membership, RJR
  • Mr Durrant Pate, Institute of Jamaica
  • Mr Ellis James Laing, Bureau of Standards
  • Mr Gordon Brown, Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission
  • Mrs Gwyneth Davidson, General Secretary, Cabinet Office

  • Past President Dayner Azzellino, Marc Astuta
  • Ms Meris Haughton, Tax Administration of Jamaica
  • Ms Maxine Francis, King's House
  • Mr Leo McEwan, Ministry of Transport, Works, Housing
  • Kimberlyn Williams, Registrar General's Department 
President Christopher Benjamin,
Kimberlyn Williams, Gordon Brown

The meeting was called to order at 6:05 PM by President Benjamin.


2013 Communication Conference
President Benjamin updated the meeting that the New Kingston Conference Centre would be the venue for the conference. The panel discussions for the day were reviewed and further suggestions were made and it was accepted that the conference would be on one day, Friday November 21, and not across two days. The PRSJ aims to have a $5,000 registration fee.

The subject areas for presentation are: News Media; Social Media; Corporate Affairs; PR and Entrepreneurship. It was agreed that the one-day event may facilitate presentation of individual case studies.

In order to cover the material, it was suggested by the meeting that registration will start at 7AM for an 8AM start. The PRSJ executive will publicise this information shortly in order to allow persons to make appropriate plans.

President Benjamin noted that he had approached a highly respected media practitioner as a panelist, and was advised that the appearance comes with a fee. The PRSJ is not in a position to pay presenters. The meeting assigned persons to follow up with several proposed presenters.

K Williams suggested that companies that provide advertising services would be suitable as booth holders for the conference. This view was accepted and billboard, merchandise branding, in-store television monitor branding and printeries would be approached. Jampro would also be approached.

The meeting was advised that Past President Patricia Gillings had agreed to undertake the printing of the conference magazine, which would include a listing of practitioners who are known to the PRSJ.

Christmas Event - December 15, PAJ HQ
The PRSJ Christmas event will be an afternoon lyme on December 15 from 1PM to 5PM at the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) at 5 East Avenue. D Pate secured a special rate for the use of the property. President Benjamin will approach Stephen Jones of Boon Hall Oasis on the cost of catering.

There was general discussion on topical matters.
Editorial Independence in Newsrooms
It was noted that the PAJ in its event at CARIMAC earlier that day discussed the loss of independence when journalists and editors accepted hospitality from businesses. Meeting attendees expanded on examples of how corporate organisations in Jamaica had pulled advertisements when after giving hotel rooms or day passes to media workers, their direct requests for editorial space were not granted. It was also noted that the editorial managers and business managers in media houses sometimes do not agree on how to proceed on this matter.

Durrant Pate, Rohan Powell, Ellis James Laing

Registration of Civic Groups
The discussions in Parliament on having mandatory registration of civil society groups whose primary goal is to lobby for causes was also brought up. The proposal in Parliament is that this is how the funding of these groups would be disclosed. The general view of the meeting is that such a registration would hamper freedom of expression and create its own bureaucracy.

It was however noted that such groups that had large budgets to do their work should be registered as companies and in this way, the source of funding would be disclosed in annual returns.

Lobby groups that do not have large budgets but do have access to the media were considered to be allowed to have their freedom of expression without regulation.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:15 PM on a motion moved by President Benjamin.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Minutes General Meeting October 29, 2013

Minutes of the General Meeting
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
New Kingston Conference Centre (NKCC)
New Kingston Business Centre, 30 Dominica Drive, Kingston 10

  • Mr Christopher Benjamin, President, Consultant
  • Mr Rohan Powell, VP Membership, RJR
  • Ms Maxine Francis, Assistant General Secretary, King's House
  • Mrs Janneth Mornan Green, Past President, Media Central Ltd
  • Ms Cheryl Smith, Ministry of Finance and Planning
  • Mr Durrant Pate, Institute of Jamaica
  • Mr Ellis James Laing, Bureau of Standards
  • Mrs Gwyneth Davidson, General Secretary, Cabinet Office

  • Past President Dayner Azzellino
  • Ms Meris Haughton, Tax Administration of Jamaica
  • Ms Karelle McCormack, Jamaica 4H 
  • Phillip Hamilton, International University of the Caribbean
  • Dr Carrole Guntley, Ministry of Tourism
  • Dr Carroll Edwards, University of the West Indies
  • Ms Camille Taylor, PCJ
  • Mr Oludie Brown, auto trader
  • Mr Richard Brown, Student of Business, University of Technology 
The meeting was called to order at 6:17 PM by President Benjamin.


Janneth Mornan Green, Cheryl Smith, Durrant Pate,
visitor Utech student, Richard Brown

Avoiding Bad News
The meeting discussed current public affairs and President Benjamin noted the quote by UK publicist Max Clifford, "Hiding from people is never a solution."

Others in the meeting endorsed that trying to maintain an information vacuum is not good as it leads to speculation. It was also generally agreed that any information officer who sought to encourage executives to take the initiative and inform the public could be punished.

Views on National Mass Media Content
The ongoing challenges of having stories that do not have an "exciting" lead or events that may not win over an audience carried in main stream media was discussed.

There was also discussion on the struggle that some producers have to attempt as they try to replicate what is offered in US markets and they ignore indigenous material. The TVJ programme All Together Sing was commended for being a programme with local content and focus that was of high quality.

Rohan Powell, visitor Oludie Brown, Maxine Francis


2013 Communicator Conference
President Benjamin advised the meeting that factors including the change in the exchange rate was behind the decision not to have a main presenter from overseas. The current model of the conference is to have a series of six panels of business experts across various industries and professional disciplines.
The objectives of the conference are:
Facilitate professional development of ideas through sharing experiences
Lift the profile of the society
Fundraising for the society.
J Mornan Green suggested several persons who had stories to tell of outstanding PR experiences; she also noted the need to attract the interest of practitioners in the 25 to 40 age group.

The registration for the conference was being targetted for $10,000 for non-members and $8,500 for members. J Mornan Green suggested that the society raise sponsorships and keep the registration fee at no more than $6,000 per person.

Christopher Benjamin, Maxine Francis, Ellis James Laing

Christmas Event
It was suggested that the society host an event on December 15. R Foster and D Pate to investigate the possibility of having the event at the Press Association of Jamaica.

There was general discussion on several matters.

Personal Mentions
The meeting received the welcome news that Past President Dayner Clarke had given birth and wished her every happiness.
The meeting extended condolences to Executive Member Rohan Powell who recently buried his mother.
The date of the next meeting is, 5:30PM November 19, 2013, NKCC.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 PM on a motion moved by President Benjamin and seconded by M Francis.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Minutes - General Meeting June 25 2013

General Meeting
Wednesday, June 25, 2013
Valencia D - Spanish Court Hotel

  • Christopher Benjamin, President, consultant
  • Durrant Pate, IOJ
  • Gwyneth Davidson, Cabinet Office
  • Leo McEwan, Ministry of Transport, Works, Housing
  • Maxine Francis, Assistant Gen Sec, King’s House
  • Maxine McDonnough, Touchstone Productions
  • Phillip Hamilton, IUC
  • Rohan Powell, First VP, RJR Group,
  • Karelle McCormack, 4H Clubs
  • Durrant Pate, Institute of Jamaica
  • Gwyneth Davidson, General Secretary, Cabinet Office

Apologies for absence
  • Analisa Downes Allen, SLB
  • Alison Christie Binger, Illuminarte
  • Dayner Azzellino, Trustee, Marc Astuta
  • Janneth Mornan Green, consultant
  • Kathleen Johnson, consultant
  • Meris Haughton, VP Membership
  • Clea Mayne, (UK)
  • Claudette Myers, PIOJ
  • Opal Davis, NSWMA
  • David Brown, Ministry of Transport, Works, Housing
  • Patrice Tomlinson, Citizen’s Security and Justice Programme (CSJP)
  • Leroy Porteus, CSJP
  • Peta Gay Hodges, consultant

Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 6:0PM by President Benjamin.
Prayers were said by Maxine Francis.

President Benjamin welcomed the attendees and received apologies for absence.


UWI Singers Benefit - June 9
Vice President Leo McEwan expressed disappointment on the lack of support from members and appealed for better support in the future. The reconciliation is not yet complete, and all persons with returns are asked to do so. DPate noted that not enough time was given to sell tickets.

C Benjamin noted that the benefit was for collaboration and members to socialise more than as a fund raiser.

2013 PR Conference
C Benjamin gave an update on the plans for the conference. He noted that there were attempts to have a conference over the past four years, and with the guidance of Dr Carroll Edwards of UWI, plans were now well underway.

September 19 - 20, 2013

Proposed Speakers
The overall theme is crisis communication, and local experts on the topic of crisis communication to cover social media, sports and entertainment..

Featured speaker to be Leading USA crisis communicator, Judy Smith. Consultant for the political thriller ABC TV series, Scandal.
Ms Smith’s speaking fee is being negotiated down from US$12,000 to US$10,000 per engagement. The plan is that she would speak twice. At the main conference and to students of PR from comms faculties of UWI, UTech, IUC, ICC, and NCU.

Fundraising and Sponsorship
The proposal is in its final stages of preparation. Advances have already been made to the Minister of Information and national media.

The meeting suggested that the conference also facilitate booths.

The audience expressed a preference to have the conference at a conference facility on the North Coast.

Registration Fee
The meeting suggested that the cost not exceed the equivalent of US$150 with a consideration for members. It was suggested that a hotel package also be pursued.

What the PRSJ can do for Me - Discussion
The gathering suggested that the PRSJ should facilitate vibrant networking so that members can collaborate profesionally; also that the society should facilitate and promote ongoing professional development. D Beckford noted that practitioners should consider membership essential for their career credentials and seek to be part of a community and not “out there on their own”.

D Pate said that persons like himself coming in from other professions see the society as a place to grow professionally. The relevance of the newsletter was discussed, and D Beckford noted that it was useful and actually motivated her to attend the meeting.

It was suggested that the meetings could be structured so that it has a learning component so that members have an opportunity to improve skills.  M McDonnough suggested that public speaking could be one such skill, where meetings would allow coaching in this area.

K McCormack suggested that the society undertake a social cause. The gathering was reminded that the society had supported educational causes (MoE pre schoolers book drive, Ostend special school toy drive, and Allman Town Primary labour day projects).

M McDonnough noted that the society could donate time and expertise to assist a charity organisation that needed PR support.

L McEwan called for the creation of a register of professionals who would be expected to meet standards of skills and conduct.

It was agreed that each general meeting does not need a guest speaker, and that this would be reduced to once per quarter.

To improve enjoyment at meetings, the giving of small tokens as prizes for attendance, good conduct and carrying a guest will be done.

Members were reminded:
Twitter: PRSJm
Facebook: Jamaica PRSJ and Public Relations Society of Jamaica 

Permanent Office
This matter was not advanced at the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:16PM by C Benjamin on a motion seconded by Leo McEwan.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tribute to Walton "Wally'" Zinc

Walton "Wally" Zinc
Pioneer in Local Government PR
The Public Relations Society of Jamaica marks with respect the passing of Jamaican Public Relations pioneer, Mr Walton "Wally" Zink.
Mr Zinc was the first PR Manager for the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and was a very prominent, popular and well-respected figure in the profession.He was among attendees at the seminar conducted by Professor Albert Walker of the University of Chicago which led to the formation of the PRSJ in 1981.Mr Zinc was recognised by his peers as performing an outstanding job in giving the KSAC a social and community-oriented (not political) face and was an excellent conduit between the public and the Corporation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Speech - Information Minister Sandrea Falconer at PRSJ General Meeting Aug 2012

Address by
Senator the Honourable Sandrea Falconer
Minister without Portfolio (Information)
Office of the Prime Minister
To the
Meeting of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 6:00pm
PCJ Auditorium, Kingston
Theme: The Communicators' Imperative: Capitalizing on the Glory of Jamaica 50
• Mr Christopher Benjamin, President of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica
• The PRSJ executive and members
• Media colleagues
• Members of the media

Thank you for extending the invitation to share in your meeting this evening.
Let me begin by acknowledging and congratulating the members of the Public Relations Society for the work you continue to do in servicing the information needs of your organisations and the public good through professional execution of your responsibilities.
You have asked that I share some perspectives on ‘capitalising on the glory of Jamaica 50' which is very much a concern all of us share, especially given the spectacular d├ęcor, the memorable events and the sense of pride which was engendered both at home and abroad, by the staging of these spectacular Golden Jubilee celebrations.
As someone whose work and background is in media communications and public relations, I know the level of work that goes into conceptualization, planning and execution of events such as these.
I know the work is outside of the glare of the limelight which is one of the paradoxes of public relations - if I can term it thus, as the work is not about you - the practitioner and professional, but about bringing that sense of occasion to the event for which you have responsibility.
I regard the communicator as a skilled storyteller, someone with the requisite competencies to not only tell a story, but a professional with the range of experiences and capacities to tell that story beautifully and with impact.
And how beautiful part of the story of Jamaica 50 was told by the various practitioners, designers and artists through the use of our national colours and decorations at such places as our airports, corporate offices and the many public and private spaces around the country.
These wonderfully creative expressions did so much to evoke the spirit of Jamaican nationhood and pride.
Patriotism was also on show at the National Stadium as Jamaicans claimed every available seat to celebrate our 50th year of political independence and to witness an amazing feast of the finest of our cultural expressions.
Thousands of miles away in Diaspora centres in Canada, the United States of America and in the United Kingdom and continental Europe and so many other places where Jamaicans live, a similar story of pride and achievement was being played out as the world watched in admiration.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is no denying that Jamaica is punching well above its weight class in terms of global popularity.
This naturally easy and uniquely Jamaican style and personality remain the qualities that distinguish us as a people and is the bedrock of our world-class tourism industry. It is reflected in our cuisine, our art forms, our music, our expression - we are Jamaica to the world.
We pride ourselves in the fact that Jamaica has more churches per square mile than any other country but Jamaica also boasts the largest number of recording studios per square mile worldwide.
Our irrepressible culture, as expressed through our creative industries in music, film, fashion and sports, especially track and field athletics, continues to capture and dominate global attention.
There are those practitioners among you who would with justification, ask the question: with a product such as Jamaica, why are we not able to capitalise on the tremendous potential and goodwill? Afterall, effective public relations embrace having a good product - one that appeals to an audience.
With this in mind, one of the strategies employed by administration to capitalise on Jamaica 50 was to undertake a joined-up government approach to strategically positioning ‘Brand Jamaica' at the London 2012 Olympics.
Jamaica House at the North Greenwich Arena at the O2 venue in London was the focal point to project all the positive attributes of Jamaica, not only to our Diaspora, but to entrepreneurs, international dealmakers, the travel and tour operators - indeed to anyone on doing business with Jamaica.
JAMAICA HOUSE 2012, conceptualized and created in just over 3 months, stood as a powerful example of what is possible through a ‘joined up' Government approach to showcase the nation's journey over the past 50 years on one a single platform.
Therein too lies an important part of the strategy - that of bringing attributes together into an integrated whole and delivering that across a common platform to a captured and targeted audience.
A powerful part of the strategy was having one collective space for the coming together of Jamaica next great moments and a declaration of direction for the next 50 years!
It was in this spirit of collaboration that three executing agencies of the Government - the Jamaica Tourist Board, JAMPRO and the Jamaica 50 Secretariat - under the tri-ministerial leadership of Tourism and Entertainment, Industry, Investment and Commerce and Youth & Culture, came together to produce JAMAICA HOUSE 2012.
This high level of inter-agency partnership ensured that Jamaica was well established in the heart of the biggest global event of 2012, in a way that was befitting of our 50th anniversary and the historic achievements of our athletes.
The result is we were able to leverage unprecedented and positive international media attention focused on our athletes and things Jamaican and use that platform to promote the attractiveness of Doing Business in Jamaica. That, in my view is effective strategy in capitalizing on Jamaica 50.
Many times, media attention on Jamaica is focused on the ‘less than positive' activities and events, but in this instance, we took centre stage and had captive audiences to which to sell the achievements of Jamaica, laud the successes of international investors and exporters, and promote the business opportunities that exist in multiple sectors.
The media exposure and feedback data are still being tallied, but let me share with you some preliminary information on the USA, Canada and Latin America Markets to point to some amazing media coverage that we just could not begin to quantify in dollar terms.
• Jamaica House O2 Coverage between May to August in terms of Circulation and Audience Reach is estimated at 258 million
• General Olympic Coverage between August 1 and August 13 in terms of Circulation and Audience reach is estimated at over 770 million
• Total overall reach 1.035 billion people worldwide who heard something positive about Jamaica.
We can therefore all agree that August 2012 was a red-letter period for us in terms of international media coverage.
The big question that now faces all of us is how do we capitalize on this net positive publicity to:
1. Build further national goodwill
2. Brand our respective initiatives in our various businesses and organizations to offer better service to our customers and stakeholders
3. Lead the national conversation on how we can establish a permanent, highly coordinated programme of country branding and positive portrayal of the nation to the world; and
4. Build case studies from our experiences of August 2012 to train and prepare upcoming communicators to continue a tradition of positive storytelling that effectively brands the nation to itself, and then to the world.
In one of the recent editions of your excellent newsletter, political scientist, Dr Hume Johnson cited other countries, which regularly develop face-to-face programmes in influential markets to embed positive perceptions of their nation on others. There is nothing stopping us from doing initiatives such as these and I look forward to hearing your own ideas and thoughts as to how we can develop initiatives like this going forward.
I know I am speaking predominantly to communicators with a firm appreciation of the importance of branding, as part of the marketing communications and public relations thrust. Whether we are talking about a country, or a product, effective branding must be part of the national development imperative, if we were to capitalise on Jamaica 50.
I believe there is an important role to be played by the wider cadre of communicators in both the public and private sectors developing functional models and private/ public partnerships (PPP) to secure a solid country reputation.
The truth of the matter is that Jamaica's ambition to be ‘the place of choice for citizens to live, work, raise families and do business' and to achieve developed nation status, must begin with a positive perception of nation-hood and belief in ourselves.
We need the skills and expertise of all the nation's communicators in the public and private sectors alike and the conversation must be broadened with private sector communications professionals with a view to exploring pathways for collaboration as we pursue the national development objective.
My central message to you therefore, as the Public Relations Society, is that there is a seminal role for you to play in Jamaica's journey into its next 50 years and beyond.
I challenge you to become bolder in your expressions. Let your voices and opinions be heard as part and parcel of the process of the development of our society. It is no longer enough for communications people to remain in the background and be the ‘moving hand' in the shadow of your organisation.
Jamaica 50 gives all of us a solid platform to emerge with the ideas and actions that can project our nation on a path of developed nation status and prosperity.
You - our storytellers, must believe that we can do this, and the moment is yours, to use your unique skills and talents to capitalize on the Glory of Jamaica.
Use your pens, your ipads, blogs and all forms of social media to tell the amazing story of Jamaica- a Nation on a Mission with Vision!
Thank you for the opportunity and my best wishes as you continue in your professional endeavours for personal success and that of our beloved nation.
I thank you!

Information Minister urges PR practitioners to tell the amazing stories of Jamaican achievement

President Benjamin welcomes Minister Falconer
August 29, 2012
One billion people saw something good about Jamaica, build on this -
Information Minister to Public Relations Practitioners

Minster with responsibility for Information, Senator Sandrea Falconer, urged public relations practitioners to build on the positive images of Jamaica that were broadcast across the world during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Breaking news on the media coverage achieved, Minister Falconer said, "Preliminary information on the USA, Canada and Latin America Markets point to some amazing media coverage that we just could not begin to quantify in dollar terms. Jamaica House O2 Coverage between May to August in terms of Circulation and Audience Reach is estimated at 258 million. General Olympic Coverage between August 1 and August 13 in terms of Circulation and Audience reach is estimated at over 770 million. Total overall reach 1.035 billion people worldwide who heard something positive about Jamaica."
Speaking yesterday (August 28) at the General Meeting of the PRSJ in Kingston, Minister Falconer said that the country's communicators had a unique opportunity to capitalize on the awareness of Jamaica and said that she would shortly be inviting public and private sector PR practitioners to Jamaica House as a way to prepare for upcoming international initiatives, and also to build internal communications.
Minister Falconer was at home with practitioners
Cheryl Smith (left) and Meris  Haughton
"We need the skills and expertise of all of the nation's communicators....My central message to you therefore, as the Public Relations Society, is that there is a seminal role for you to play in Jamaica's journey into its next 50 years and beyond. I challenge you to become bolder in your expressions. Let your voices and opinions be heard as part and parcel of the process of the development of our society. It is no longer enough for communications people to remain in the background and be the ‘moving hand' in the shadow of your organisation," Minister Falconer said.
The Minister said that a joined-up government approach had been used to create the Jamaica House platform in London which created an enabling environment for entrepreneurs, international dealmakers, tourism interests and other persons wanting to do business in Jamaica.
Treasurer Mark Thomas welcomed Minister Falconer