Wed | Sep 18, 2019

RJRGLEANER salutes long-serving staff

Published:Wednesday | September 11, 2019 | 12:15 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Awardees at yesterday’s RJRGLEANER Communications Group annual long-service and pensioners’ luncheon pose for photographs at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
After 45 years with the group, Jeffrey Brown says he has no regrets.
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Thirty-five current and former employees of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group were yesterday toasted for their sterling years of service to the multimedia organisation.

The function, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, was the first combined long-service awards and pensioners’ luncheon across the group since the 2016 merger of the RJR Communications Group and The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited.

The 35 have racked up a combined 600 years of service, with Jeffrey Brown’s 45 years with the group being the longest among the 2019 awardees.

“I have no regrets ... ,” Brown told The Gleaner as he reflected on his journey. “The kind of freedom you have, you don’t get that in any other job. It was like working with family.”

Brown revealed that he had applied to the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, RJR and Dynamic Sounds when he left high school. After attending interviews at all three companies, he chose Dynamic Sounds because of his love for music. He was laid off after six months and went back to RJR to seek employment.

“They said the position that was vacant [in engineering] was no longer there, but there’s an opening in the programmes department for an operator. I could apply for that, and then after, I could come over to engineering,” Brown said. “I went to programmes and that was it. No looking back. I did a lot of travelling. I went all over the world because of programmes.”

MOVED UP RANKS

Over the years, Brown’s work ethic would propel him up the ranks in radio programmes from operator in 1973 to supervisor broadcast technician in 1990.

He had a one-year stint in the RJR newsroom, but his love for programmes remained.

Now on his final lap with the RJRGLEANER Group, he is preparing for retirement next year.

“If I should start all over again, to get a job, I would go into the same profession after learning so much,” he said.

Also among yesterday’s awardees were Althea Gayle and Derrick Long, who were recognised for 25 years of service. Judith Silvera and Melvis Cummings were saluted for 30 and 35 years, respectively. Nine other staff members were honoured for racking up 10 years, 14 had 15 years under their belt, and seven were with the group for 20 years.

Guest speaker Asif Ahmad, British high commissioner to Jamaica, urged the media workers to rediscover the hunger for investigative journalism and exercise their freedom in this regard.

“The human capital that is in this room, you represent expertise and talent ... . I congratulate each and every one of you who have gone through these milestones, years of service – decades, in fact – and I truly want to add my admiration to the pensioners,”Ahmad said.

He noted that a daunting challenge the industry faces is monetising news and information that people want for free, but encouraged the group to continue producing wholesome content as a chronicler of history both locally and regionally.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com