Jamaica Open to Mutual Exchange with Botswana
Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, says Jamaica is open to mutual exchange with the people of Botswana, particularly in the area of government information and communication.
Ms. Falconer was speaking with members of the Botswana delegation on Wednesday, September 18, during a meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister.
The delegation arrived in the island on Tuesday, September 17, to embark on a five-day communication benchmarking visit with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
The members include: Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of State President, Botswana, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo; Director, Information Services Department, Russ Molosiwa; Managing Editor, Botswana Daily News, Charmaine Revaka, and Chief Information Officer, Daphne Motsakae.
Ms. Falconer welcomed the group, noting that there was much to be learned from Jamaica’s experience.
“We are very happy that you feel that Jamaica, and what we do here, is something that you can look at and emulate,” she stated. “We are very happy to share with you and we hope that, some time in the future, we might have a chance to come and look at what you are doing in Botswana and to learn from you too, because we can all learn from each other,” she added.
Ms. Falconer informed that there are many aspects of Jamaica’s government communication policy, which is world class and can stand up to international scrutiny.
She cited the Access to Information (ATI) Act, which was passed in 2002, noting that it encourages openness, and is in keeping with the government’s policy on transparency.
Ms. Falconer said the weekly Jamaica House press briefings are also to be lauded, as they continue to provide the media and the country with updates on Cabinet decisions.
The Minister further informed that the Government is currently working on its communication policy to further guide the way it interacts with the public.
“The (document) will also regulate how the Ministries communicate, the role of the Minister, the role of the communications staff within the Ministries and how the Ministries are branded. It will also look at how it is that we communicate with the different segments of society, whether they are educated or not educated,” she stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kaboeamodimo said his delegation hopes to learn more about the structure and processes of the JIS and how it carries out its work.
“We recognise Jamaica’s long experience in this field of government information. We are similar in many respects. We have a population of just about two million people in Botswana and we hear that Jamaica has a population somewhere in that region too,” he stated.
Mr. Kaboeamodimo said the JIS plays a similar role as that of the Department of Information Services in Botswana, which has a mandate to disseminate information on government programmes, policies and services.
“From what we have read, we think you are very much advanced and we thought we would come and benchmark with you to see how the JIS relates to the rest of the media industry. We would also like to observe what set of laws and policies regulate or guide how you do your work,” he remarked.