Photographers Michael Gordon (left) and Norman Grindley of the Jamaica Observer and
The Gleaner respectively, congratulate each other on their Press Association of Jamaica awards presented on Thursday evening (left) and Anthony Foster, Sports Journalist of the Year (right). - Ian Allen/Staff Photographe
THREE MEMBERS of The Gleaner team won awards at Thursday night's Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) annual journalism awards and dinner.
The function was held at the PAJ offices at East Avenue, St. Andrew, under the theme, 'Fighting Against Crime and Corruption'.
Deputy Chief Photographer at The Gleaner, Norman Grindley, won two awards. They were The Errol Harvey Award for human interest photography and the Aston Rhoden Award for news photography.
Sports reporter Anthony Foster won the Raymond Sharpe/Hugh Crosskill award for sports reporting. The Gleaner's cartoonist Las May walked away with an award, for a piece he did poking fun at the issue of Jamaicans needing visas to enter Cayman.
The Junior Dowie Award for Sports Photography, named after the veteran Gleaner photographer, went to Michael Gordon of the Observer.
The coveted Journalist of the Year' award went to Garfield Burford of CVM Television.
Speaking at the function, Desmond Richards, president of the PAJ, said that if democracy is to be preserved and the Jamaican media is to survive, its members must be more vigilant in probing public officials.
In delivering the keynote address, Oliver Clarke, The Gleaner's Chairman and managing director, said that corruption in Jamaica is still at an unacceptable level. This, he noted, exists despite the fact that the Corruption Prevention Act came into effect in 2003.
"Several pieces of legislation have been enacted to reduce corruption but are failing miserably," he said.
Under the Act, public officials who earn in excess of $2 million per year, or who hold particularly sensitive positions, are required by law to file an account of their assets and earnings annually.
Mr. Clarke noted that there is a high level of non-compliance with the Act in this respect. But he added that parliamentarians sought to exclude themselves from the rules of the Act, having established their own "parallel" body.
"I think it is entirely wrong that elected officials should be treated in a different manner than any other civil servant," he said.