JIS gets ‘a rose’

THERE was a collective sigh of relief in Jamaica’s media community on Monday after the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) announced that veteran journalist Enthrose Campbell had been given the nod to head the Government’s main communications unit, the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

Concern was sparked in the local media community when the Jamaica Observer first reported that after 13 years, Donna-Marie Rowe would not have her contract renewed as CEO of the JIS when it expired last March.

At that time there were fears that — as has happened in the past — the Government would appoint one of its known sympathisers to head the entity.

But in a mid-morning release on Monday, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for information, Robert Morgan announced Campbell’s appointment and hailed it as a forward step in the evolution of JIS.

“I feel excited at the prospects of further evolution at JIS with the appointment of Enthrose. The fact that the Public Service Commission was able to promote from within the entity is of positive significance and speaks to the quality of individuals we have working in the public service,” said Morgan.

He added that Campbell was selected by the commission from several people who had applied for the position. She has been appointed on a two-year contract, effective October 1, 2022.

According to Morgan, the fears that were expressed with Rowe’s contract not being renewed were unfounded as the political directorate had no role to play in finding her replacement.

“I did not really comment on those concerns because it was clear that the concern was generated because people did not know how the process works to select the head of the JIS,” Morgan told the Observer.

“Advertisements were placed in the national newspapers and the services commission made a decision. The Government was never involved,” added Morgan.

He argued that since the Jamaica Labour Party was elected to form the Government in 2016 it has worked hard to ensure a cordial relationship with the Jamaican media.

“The media have held us accountable and we have held the media accountable. We see the media as an important part of the Jamaican society and we appreciate the role that it plays. It [media’s role] is reflected in the international ranking of freedom of the press in Jamaica, which continues to be the best we have ever been ranked.

“As the new year begins we want the media to continue doing their job with professionalism and to hold us accountable, as they have done in the past. This appointment demonstrates our resolve to ensure the highest level of professionalism and accountability in the government information space,” declared Morgan as he reiterated his backing of Campbell’s selection.

Campbell, the former deputy CEO of the JIS, acted as head of the agency following Rowe’s departure.

In reacting to the appointment Campbell said: “I am honoured to have been selected to serve my country at this level. I look forward to leading Team JIS to even greater heights.”

Campbell has also served as editor in the Radio Department at the JIS from 1996 to 1998; senior copy editor, Television Department from 1998 to 2000; manager, Radio Department from 2000 to 2009; director of production from 2009 to 2017; and as deputy CEO from 2017 to March 2022.

She also spearheaded media management and coordination for State, official and national events. Campbell is a graduate of The University of the West Indies with a BA in History and Spanish and a Masters in Spanish Translation. She has pursued training courses in Venezuela, China, Cuba, and Spain as well as Colombia where she sharpened her management, language, and technical skills.

Last March sources had told the Observer that Rowe’s contract was not renewed as part of a shake-up of the Government’s communication agencies.

“I can confirm that Ms Rowe’s contract will not be renewed, but I can tell you that this has nothing to do with her as a manager of JIS. She has done extremely well in the role and has served different administrations in an unbiased manner,” one government source said at the time.

“What is happening is that the Government is changing the way it communicates with Jamaica, and you should expect to see changes in the leadership of other communication units,” added the source who said that the Andrew Holness Administration was moving to a faster, more nimble way of getting information out to the public and, after 13 years, it was time to make a change at the JIS.

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