The purpose of journalists is to provide the public with verified information so they can make meaningful decisions about their lives and to hold those in power accountable for their actions. Not in Jamaica.
Earlier this year the evening news anchor for CVM, the secondary TV network, informed me via Twitter that she would read my findings and get back to me. She did not respond to subsequent queries and days later she interviewed the minister of education.
The new ombudsman for our local rag lamented that no one was writing him so I obliged. I have written to an ombudsman before but did not receive a reply. This one assumed duties on April 1 2018. He is a retired High Court judge, Justice Roy Anderson. A retired supreme court judge. The transcript is below.
Oct 9 2018
Hello Justice Anderson.
My name is Dr J Lennon and I am a British expat living in Montego Bay. I have written to reporters at the RJR Group and contacted TVJ from it’s website but replies were not forthcoming. I have a story that the people need to know – the economic viability of solar powered schools – and the RJR Group needs to investigate and report. Can I send it to you? Regards,
Thank you for your email of October 9, 2018. I should first point out that my remit as Reader Ombudsman of the Gleaner does NOT include RJR Radio or TVJ. It is limited to the Gleaner publications.
In that regard, could you clarify for me whether the submission to which you refer, was sent to the Editor of the Gleaner or to some reporter(s) at that institution or at TVJ?
You may with your response, attach a copy of the article so that I can pursue the matter depending upon whether your issue is non-publication or failure to receive a reply to your correspondence. Regards,
I wrote to at least three Gleaner reporters, the ombudsman and editor. The emails based on my findings were not answered. I expressed my concerns to numerous parliamentarians and government bodies but I did not receive any replies. I then related that information to the Gleaner and other news outlets but again, no one replied. I thought that the purpose of journalists was to provide the public with verified information so they can make meaningful decisions about their lives and to hold those in power accountable for their actions.
The findings are extremely serious so I’d expect action by the RJR Group. The parliamentarians are not just making a mockery of the Jamaican people but also the Sustainable Development Goals. Hence this is not just about Jamaica, it is about what the parliamentarians promised to deliver – or try to deliver – for global Vision 2030. We cannot allow the parliamentarians to renege on their promises in such an egregious and nefarious manner. Verification of my concerns is very easy and your journalists have a duty to do that. However, I have lost faith in Jamaican journalism.
From my conversations, the man in the street agrees with me – something must be done. That being the case I have copied in Mr A Clovis who is a human right’s solicitor practicing in the UK. Also included are Mr S Cutzach and Ms L Torchiaro of Transparency International, and also Reporters Without Borders RSF. RSF has misplaced Jamaica 6th on the World Press Freedom Index. Regards,
I am still waiting for feedback. Instead of investigating, the newspaper appeared to tamper with the page of a 2014 story about disconnections that I referenced, made a mess and had to restore the original (below). I don’t think it was a coincidence. I worked in IT and we never touched old libraries. A corrupt link? Why only that one?
My findings. Yes, some of it is familiar but I am now communicating with a fellow Jamaican, a man who sat in the supreme court. He should know about the plight of our poorest, the inequality of the education system.