Tuesday, September 25, 2018



SEPTEMBER 24, 2018, KINGSTON JAMAICA:  It is with an immeasurable sense of loss that the Jamaican community of professional communicators says goodbye to our beloved colleague, mentor, brother and friend Errol K. Miller who, at the time of his passing, was the Chairman of the LIME Foundation.  He had previously held several executive level appointments in public relations and integrated marketing communications with the company.
Errol Miller was a communication professional of distinction.  As a founding member of the Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ), 'E.K.', as he was affectionately known, will long be remembered as a man who represented and lived the values of our communication code of ethics.  In today's world of changing communication values and practice, E.K. was a calming and pleasant presence, while remaining faithful to his commitment to truth and fairness.
The membership of the PRSJ heard recently that 'E.K.' had suffered a health setback and was hospitalized, and were concerned, but preferred to keep hope and mutual support alive.   We could almost hear his voice doing what he did best – soothing nerves and calming ruffled feathers in times of crises, while crafting practical solutions.  In our email discussion thread prior to his passing, we recalled and paid tribute to the man whose impact on us, individually and collectively for over three decades, was of immeasurable value.
Past and present members of the PRSJ regret the passing of this consummate communication professional, volunteer, mentor and family man.  PRSJ past presidents and veteran communication professionals, Keith Brown, Jean Lowrie Chin, Elaine Commissiong and Berl Francis spoke of 'EK' in glowing terms. 

'You can imagine my shock and sorrow when I learnt this afternoon of Errol's passing," said PRSJ Founding President Keith Brown. "He has, for decades, been a shining example of the consummate communications professional.

"A calm demeanor, sharp wit and disarming personality are some of the things I remember most about Errol and his post-retirement appointment as Chairman of the Lime  Foundation is testimony to the outstanding role he played as Communications head of that company. Our profession has lost one of the outstanding pioneers. My deepest condolences to his family."

Mrs. Lowrie Chin recalled that Mr. Miller was always "...so courteous in all circumstances".  According to Mrs. Commissiong, "Errol Miller was a consummate professional, and a good example of the levels to which a true communicator can rise; adjusting to the demands of the profession. His legacy will live on".  Berl Francis remembers him as a man who had  great wit, and never took himself too seriously, carrying out his professional duties with quiet humility and an unerring sense of purpose.

Integrated Marketing Communicator and PRSJ member, Gerrard, 'Gerry' McDaniel remembered E.K. as, "A sharp, warm hearted and generous soul";  while Convenor of the PRSJ, Deborah Hickling Gordon said Errol always operated with dignity, principle and poise. "He always had a word of wisdom and advice for younger colleagues, and was always willing to provide us with mentorship, guidance and encouragement", said Dr. Hickling Gordon.  

A family man, Errol Miller's greatest tribute came from his son Stephen.  In a June 2013 Gleaner article, two quotes from his Stephen captured the essence of the E.K. we know - disciplined and nurturing.  "It was interesting growing up with dad. He always instilled the fear of God in you". Stephen defined his work relationship with his father as "youthful exuberance tempered by wisdom."

Errol Miller's long and dedicated commitment to the building of the communication.profession, the development of the  professionals in the field, advocacy for the sector and the Public Relations Society of Jamaica will always be remembered.  The Steering Committee and membership of the PRSJ offer our sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues.

For more information contact:
Deborah Hickling Gordon, Ph.D.

Public Relations Society of Jamaica
876 817 2859
876 924 9421

Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ)
 PRSJ      @PRSJm

PR Brief Library shelf:

Monday, September 24, 2018

Kingston leads in BPO Growth

Excerpt - Jamaica Observer column  published Monday 9 July 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin

Image result for bpo jamaica

Kingston is now the Caribbean city with the fastest expansion of BPO services, copping the Nearshore City of the Year Award at the Nearshore Americans Illuminate Awards last month.  Kudos to JAMPRO, led by Diane Edwards and Vice President Claude Duncan for their role in this growth, resulting in an investment of US$22 million over the past year in building or renovating BPO spaces to accommodate 5,000 new jobs.   
Now, we have heard complaints about strict regulations and modest pay from some BPO employees, but they should know that there are great prospects in this field if they stick with it.
“Our future in outsourcing is pretty bright,” noted Ms Edwards. “We are embarking on a huge upskilling programme for our young people in the skills that are necessary; not just customer service and technology support but all types of digitally based services, such as healthcare, accounting, finance, legal, as there are a range of services in the outsourcing arena that we have not touched.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

So much to gain from CARICOM unity

Excerpt from column published in the Jamaica Observer - 9 July 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Photo: Dave ReidPrime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, addresses the opening ceremony for the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Wednesday (July 4), at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James. Pictured in the background are the Heads of Government of the Community. - from JIS News
It was really hard on CARICOM to be holding its 39th Heads of Government Conference during the World Cup.  There they were, discussing and signing off on life-changing issues, and there we were, glued to ‘the greatest show on earth’. Lucky for them, but to the sorrow of many, the great Brazil lost to a powerful Belgium on Friday, and so folks could drown their sorrows in some positive news out of the conference which ended the same day.

Were it not for ‘the big dance’ in Russia, we would have been all over the arrival of newly elected Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, especially as Jherane Patmore of WE-Change pointed out on Twitter, she was the lone woman among her colleague prime ministers.  No shrinking violet is this landslide winner, and so she stood up for the many brothers and sisters of CARICOM who have felt unwelcome in certain countries.

There would have been a buzz also around Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ assuming the Chairmanship of CARICOM.  He stepped up well-prepared, as our brilliant former Prime Minister Bruce Golding had chaired the Commission to review Jamaica’s CARICOM relationship, which produced a substantial report including 33 recommendations for strengthening CARICOM. JIS notes:

 “Among them is that member states should facilitate the full, free movement of people within CARICOM, except in cases of security and public-health risks. They should also push for the harmonization of customs laws, regulations and procedures, among other things.
“Another key recommendation is for Jamaica to seek a clear, definite commitment from all member states to a specific, time-bound, measurable and verifiable programme of action to fulfil all their obligations and complete other requirements for the CSME to be fully established and operational within the next five years.”
For too long we have overlooked the many opportunities and underestimated the value of synergizing our efforts for the greater good of the region. Thankfully, our PM signed three Instruments relating to education and security on the last day of the Conference as follows:
1.     Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement as an organ of the community and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security as an institution of the Community.
2. Revised Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Examinations Council.
3. CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty.
We cannot begin to measure the gains of families, communities and countries created by our coming together to establish the University of the West Indies.  Imagine if we were to take this to the grassroots level, how much more we could be learning from each other.  I am happy to hear that the citizens of Haiti, a member of CARICOM, will now have the right to stay in member countries for up to six months.  In Jamaica’s case, I believe we should welcome them to stay as long as they wish so we could pattern their gentility and have them instruct us in creating exquisite craftwork. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Practical preparedness from Craig Fugate

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published July 30 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin 

US Counselor for Public Affairs Jeremiah
Knight introduces Craig Fugate at the event
at Phoenix Central in Kingston.
 Former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, hosted by the US Embassy in Jamaica gave one of the most practical presentations I have ever heard on the subject of disaster preparedness.  

He shared with us ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Emergency Management’:
   1.    We plan for what we are capable to respond to. Instead, he said, we should be planning for the ‘maximum of maximums’.
   2.     We plan for our communities by placing the ‘hard to do’ in an annex – eg small children, elderly, pets. Instead, ‘plan for real, not easy’.
   3.     We exercise to success – unaware that the very responders, equipment that we are depending on, may be unavailable
4.     We think our emergency response system can scale up to manage disasters.
5.     We build our emergency management team around Government, leaving out voluntary organisations, the private sector and the public
6. We treat the public as a liability. He noted that the fastest response you can expect will be from a neighbour. In the Haiti earthquakes, the neighbours did the majority of rescues. 
Craig Fugate in front of a slide showing him touring New York
after the Hurricane Sandy event with then President Obama
7. We price risk too low to change behaviour – as a result, we continue to grow it.

Mr Fugate warned against building in high-risk areas.  He said that Moody’s has warned that climate change will affect us, so we must build resiliency into our projects. He advised that we must refrain from calling survivors ‘victims’ as this kind of language is condescending, not empowering – emergency management should be ‘survivor centric’. 

“The public is a resource,” he declared, noting that while they were shipping in all kinds of equipment to do rescues in Haiti, the Haitians were doing a great job on their own, and it would have been more effective to engage them and spend funds on the resources being offered locally.
“Government can’t do everything,” said Fugate. “Be prepared – remember that earthquakes do not have a season.”

Celebrating Spain's Shining Representative Carmen Rives Ruiz-Tapiador

Excerpt from Observer column published July 30 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Carmen with her Dancehall style poster
at the event she hosted celebrating
Jamaican music.

She came to Jamaica as a fledgling diplomat in 2015, but little did Carmen Rives know that she would be placed in the role of Chargée d’Affaires after the sad passing of Ambassador Aníbal Jiménez y Abascal.  She tackled her role wholeheartedly, welcoming Spanish investors large and small, embracing Jamaica’s culture, and promoting Spanish education and culture through the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation.  She wowed the audience of the ‘Powerful Women & Men’ show by performing poems by Gloria Fuertes in Jamaican patois.

Carmen was particularly impressed with the Alpha Institute and the rich history of its predecessor, Alpha Boys School, cradle of Jamaican music. She saw the uplifting work being done at the Institute by Sister Susan Frazer, Margaret Little-Wilson, Dr Joshua Chamberlain and dedicated teachers, and supported them, helping to find jobs for graduates and holding a sizeable fundraiser with big-name artistes.

“Meeting Carmen in 2015 was serendipitous,” notes Dr Chamberlain. “It was a time when Alpha needed lots of help creating a foundation for the Alpha Institute. Carmen's tireless support and special ability to bring the community together from business and foundations to the diplomatic community has helped to create opportunities for current and future students. Carmen also shares our big vision…We look forward to maintaining our friendship and know she will do great things long into the future.

Ever for unity, Carmen held a Rae Town Tribute to celebrate Jamaica’s Independence and Emancipation in 2016. Downtown came uptown with a pulsating dance party, ‘Tribute to Rae Town’, inviting the mellow Classique Sound System and Sister Norma to delight guests of various walks of life. No wonder then that at a farewell dance organised by friends last Thursday, the legendary Ken Boothe created special lyrics for Carmen, most appropriately to his song, “Lady with the Starlight”.  Long may Carmen’s light shine, as she heads for her next tour of duty in Mozambique.

UWI celebrates 70 Amazing Years

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published 30 July 2018

by Jean Lowrie-Chin

The week started on a high note, with a Jamaica House Reception to launch a week of activities in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the University of the West Indies.  It is remarkable, as noted in a documentary by Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, that there are 15 current heads of Government in the Caribbean, who are graduates of the University of the West Indies.  These include Jamaica’s Prime Minister Most. Hon. Andrew Holness; our Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips is also a graduate. 
Professor Merle Collins gives the Reply on behalf of
Pelican Honourees

As for those of my generation, we were able to pay low university fees in the seventies, and I believe that we continue to feel a sense of responsibility to our country because of this precious gift. 

The citations for the seven recipients of UWI Pelican Awards, one for each decade, reflected this gratitude, a passion to give back, and so their distinguished careers have been marked by not only professional excellence, but also by their volunteerism and philanthropy.  The recipients, starting with the first decade were: Dr. Lloyd Stanford, Jamaica; Dr. Karl Massiah, Barbados; Professor Merle Collins, Grenada; Hon. Justice Dr. Irving W. Andre, Dominica; Ambassador Dr. June Soomer, St. Lucia; Dr Andre Haughton, Jamaica; Dr. Nicole Nation, Jamaica.

Legendary philanthropist Valerie Facey with Ryland Campbell
and Peter Williams
Phase Three Chairman Dr Marcia Forbes has sponsored the recording of interviews with the Pelican honourees, and related their emotional moments as they recalled their years at UWI. At the event, it was special to see two of my own amazing professors: Professor Maureen Warner-Lewis and Professor Edward Baugh. How blessed we were to be guided though the literary works of centuries and continents by these masters.

Congratulations to UWI Alumni President Jacqueline Sharp, Director of Alumni Relations Celia Davidson Francis and UWI Alumni Past President Cecile Clayton for pulling together such a meaningful week of activities for us proud Pelicans.