Fri | Aug 7, 2020

Holness blasts media over ‘unbalanced’ reporting

Published:Monday | July 13, 2020 | 12:08 AM
The Gayle Police Station and multipurpose centre.
The Gayle Police Station and multipurpose centre.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Friday blasted the media for what he claimed their biased projection of conditions in Jamaica, saying the good things happening in the country are not being given prominent spaces.

He was particularly harsh on commentators who he said, based on their commentaries, make it appear as if Jamaica is collapsing.

The prime minister was speaking at the official opening of the Gayle Police Station and multipurpose centre, built at a cost of $85 million.

“If you listen to the local media, if you listen to the commentary of those who have the privilege to have their views projected on to the rest of the population by virtue of their access to the media; if you listen to those who by virtue of their extensive knowledge and training, have become very influential in society, and you listen to what they project into the minds of the people every day; if you were to only listen to what they say you could easily draw the conclusion that Jamaica is collapsing,” Holness said.

“And this is not to say negative news should not be reported, but this is to say, if you’re going to give a balanced view of Jamaica, you must also report the positives that are happening in Jamaica.

The balanced and truthful picture of Jamaica is that, yes, we have problems; but yes, we are doing great things as well.”

Holness said if we as a people are going to overcome our problems, it is important to take a positive outlook at the future.

“It is important that you’re not just fed the negative news, but that you’re also fed a steady and consistent diet of the great things that are being done in your country.”

‘A great facility’

Holness described the new facility as one such great thing, saying it will provide amenities for the community and those who serve and protect them and dispense justice, all under one roof.

The initial phase of the project covered the renovation of the ground floor of the centre to house a police post; a renovated courthouse; conference and office areas; and a computer lab.

The prime minister said that over the past two years, the Government has spent $64 million on the construction and refurbishment of seven police stations in Jamaica.

Turning to the efforts to combat crime, Holness said Government’s crime-fighting plan is not unidimensional and does not rely “wholly and solely on states of public emergency and zones of special operations.

“That’s what you see; that’s where the plan meets the people. But the plan meets the people as well when you enter the police station guardroom, or station room, to give your statement; that when the people of Gayle come for whatever reason they need to access police services, they can access it in an environment that is conducive to reason in peace. And that is part of the crime-fighting strategy, and that is why we make the investment.”

Holness said such investments won’t bring peace overnight, but would impact future generations.

The facility was constructed through partnerships with the Citizen Security and Justice Programme and the Inter-American Development Bank and UK AID.

– C.G.