Wednesday, August 25, 2010



Kingston, August 25, 2010

Director of the anti-corruption group, the National Integrity Action Forum, Dr Trevor Munroe, says that the country had pulled back from a tipping point on the matter of corruption as state agencies are making progress.

Speaking at a meeting of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica in Kingston on Tuesday, August 17, Dr Munroe said “what we are seeing now, we have not seen in many, many years”. 

He noted the 100% success rate by the Contractor General to have all Ministries report on the contracts that they have issued; the establishment of a Corruption Court at the Supreme Court level and the rejection of 170 police personnel on suspicion of corruption as compelling proof of progress.

Dr Munroe said, “The fact is by 2008, by plan as well as fortuitously, a number of public officials were in positions of importance who, clearly by their deeds, were demonstrating a determination to come to grips with this issue of corruption, and not least of all were the two whom I mentioned at the beginning of our talk: Danville Walker of Customs and Greg Christie of the Contractor General.”

Dr Munroe, who is also Professor of Government and Politics at the University of the West Indies (UWI), said that investigating and convicting high ranking officials for corruption was not uncommon in developed regions of the world, but the last such conviction in Jamaica happened 20 years ago. He said that the recent conviction of a senior police officer (now under appeal), the current trial of a Member of Parliament, and the recommendation of another Member of Parliament for charge were signs that law enforcement officials were prepared to deal with the most powerful in the land.

Noting the upcoming legislation regarding regulations for political parties, which he called private clubs, Dr Munroe asked public relations practitioners to remain alert.

“We need to plug the legal loopholes….I am asking you to keep your eyes very focused to the next few months on this issue of proposals to register political parties and to develop a regime of political party funding, and later on, of campaign financing….The proposals that are likely to come will represent a historic first step, but given the magnitude of the problem we face, I believe the proposals are likely to fall short of what is required in terms of disclosure to the people – who is giving how much to which political party.”

Dr Munroe said that by the end of the year, a Jamaica chapter of Transparency International, a global watchdog on corruption, will be established. He said that this Chapter will be able to develop a systematic approach to outreach and public education on the necessity of combatting corruption.

The Public Relations Society of Jamaica is dedicated to the practice of public relations in Jamaica, an expanding dynamic area that is now merging with commodity and social marketing, advertising, event planning, the business of sports and entertainment and corporate strategic decision making. 
CONTACT: Delmares White
President, PRSJ

Friday, August 20, 2010



Kingston August 20, 2010

Leading academic in the field of government, Dr Brian Meeks, says that the forces on the ground for change in Jamaica are positive. He was giving his views at the inaugural Kingston 360 lecture in Kingston on August 20. The lectures are sponsored by the Mona School of Business and the Spanish Court Hotel.

Dr Meeks, who is the Professor of Social and Political Change at the University of the West Indies (UWI) said, “I think that there are real social forces on the ground favourable for a renewal of Jamaica’s civil society, the State and the birth of moral culture.”

The professor went on to say that he and fellow political scientists have the duty to “identify who and where they are and to assist the process of giving them voice in the cacophony of despair, extremism and nihilism that characterises the present moment.”

Professor Meeks’ views come three days after his colleague, Professor of Government and Politics, Trevor Munroe, told the Public Relations Society of Jamaica that there was tangible progress being made in the fight against corruption. Both Professors are associated with the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies.

Guest Speaker at the 360 Lecture, Professor of Political Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Dr Obika Gray, added that the country was ready to shake off spontaneous order which occurs naturally in Caribbean societies. He described this as a form of co-operation where people organise themselves on the basis of shared interests and common understanding without formal hierarchy or leadership.

Professor Gray said, “What we are doing today is to try to put back in place those formal rules, those regulations those codes of conduct so that the modern bureaucratic and rational State be respected and not give way to the rituals and values of spontaneous order.”

He went on to prescribe short and long term objectives towards building a society that respected modern bureaucratic rules.

“What we need is a double move; we have to help police catch the criminals, and we have to stabilize the political system and work with the Parliamentarians and the people that we have. But the other part of that double move is that …we have to not fix power, we need to dismantle it; that is the long run project,” Professor Gray said.

The Kingston360 lecture series will be held quarterly and feature topical issues.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jamaica Observer News Article - Munroe: Lawyers should not be paid with dirty money

Munroe: Lawyers should not be paid with dirty money

BY ERICA VIRTUE Observer writer
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Professor Trevor Munroe
Photo: Cheryl Smith
Listen to Prof Munroe's address here - 32 minutes

PROFESSOR Trevor Munroe wants the Government to begin examining ways to make it difficult for lawyers representing persons charged with certain criminal offences to receive payments from the funds of their clients' ill-gotten enterprises.

"I would like to see in Jamaica a version of the law in the United States that lawyers, who are defending persons alleged to be engaged in money laundering, gun running and drug trafficking demonstrate that the earnings from that defence are not part of ill-gotten gains. I believe that is certainly a topic worthy of discussion...," said Munroe, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies and former senator.

He was responding to questions following his keynote address Tuesday night at the Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PSRJ) monthly meeting in Kingston.

His views, however, came in light of the recent court appearance in New York of alleged Jamaican drug lord Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, where lawyers made it clear that they would have to be assured that money paid to the defence in the drug and gun trafficking case was not tainted.

Coke's assets in Jamaica have been frozen under the Proceed of Crime Act of 2007, which provides for forfeiture through the courts of all properties and accumulated wealth, which cannot be explained by legitimate activity.

Under US laws, lawyers must demonstrate that they are not being paid with monies from a person's alleged criminal operation. However, there is no similar law here. According to Munroe, it was crucial for Jamaica to have greater anti-corruption mobilising efforts as surveys have showed that Jamaicans perceived that the country was tipping dangerously on the brink of being overwhelmed by real, as well as perceived corruption.

According to Munroe, professionals, particularly agents of law enforcement, were very crucial at given stages in the country's development to deal with the levels of corruption which Jamaica was experiencing.

He wants Jamaica to create its own version of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisationa (RICO) Act in the United States, which he said would go a far way in punishing wrongdoers, especially those charged with corruption-related offences.

"We need the Jamaican equivalent of the RICO statute in the United States, where the persons who don't pull the trigger, or the persons who are not on the front line of the corrupt and who hide in the back, can be brought within the purview of law enforcement. And that is a big deficiency in our system as well...," Munroe told public relations executives.

Thursday, August 5, 2010



Kingston, August 5

The Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) rejects calls for the immediate dismantling of the Constabulary Communications Network (CCN) but instead supports the findings of the Ministry of National Security Jamaica Constabulary Force Strategic Review, which proposes that the JCF “Undertake a thorough review of the mandate and functions of the Constabulary Communications Network to ensure they are aligned with future requirements of the police service and the public it serves”, (See recommendation 59).

We believe that the CCN is best placed to emerge as the professional Public Relations arm of the Force that will successfully nurture meaningful relationships with its stakeholders.

We wish to use this opportunity as a reminder that the PRSJ advocates for integrity and truth and not “spin”. The professional Code of Ethics of the Society puts it thus: “A member shall not engage in any practice, which tends to corrupt the integrity or channels of public communication; and a member shall not intentionally disseminate false or misleading information and is obligated to use ordinary care to avoid dissemination of false or misleading information.”

The PRSJ welcomes the new standards that have been adopted for the release of material by the CCN and commends its body of work under past and current leadership. It has broken new ground by providing timely information to the public on a range of issues, through a cadre of staff who have been trained with media skills. The PRSJ also commends the CCN for the important role that it plays in recording events and scenes that are necessary for police work. Journalists also benefit when CCN staff is stationed with them as they have special insights on security protocols.

The PRSJ considers the tape showing a shooting at Buckfield, St Ann involving members of the police to be truly serious. While the PRSJ supports the Commissioner and his team in subsequent actions taken, it relies on CCN to establish the relevant context of the incident so that hasty conclusions by misinformed sections of the public will categorically be avoided.

The incident in itself is a strong reminder of the power of the new and burgeoning "social media" and will keep the CCN on its toes.
Delmares White
The Public Relations Society of Jamaica
Cell contact: 399-1627

Gerry Mc Daniel
PRSJ Spokesperson
Cell contact: 564-2541
Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ)