Mckenzie displeased with Hanover Municipal Council's media ban

Mckenzie displeased with Hanover Municipal Council's media ban

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie, is expressing “anger” at the decision of the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) to bar media access to its Committee meetings.

It is reported that Chief Executive Officer, David Gardner announced the decision yesterday, ahead of the sitting of the Physical Planning, Environment and Development Committee.

The decision was made after committee members received backlash for comments uttered at the September planning meeting which were reported in a newspaper article.

McKenzie, in a release from his ministry today, said the decision is unacceptable.

“I want to make it clear that there are only two Committee meetings to which public access, and therefore media access is normally restricted. These are the Human Resources Committee and the Poor Relief Committee. Every other Committee is open to the media. In other words, the meeting of the Physical Planning, Environment and Development Committee, must be exposed to the presence of the media and to the public. I have, since the publication of the story, spoken with the Mayor and the CEO and instructed that the media ban is to be reversed immediately.”

McKenzie further stated that: “If there are issues where Councillors say inappropriate things in meetings, those issues cannot be resolved by banning the media. It is the Councillors who have to regulate their behaviour, and raise the level of discourse in the Corporations to the point where all can admire the quality of the exchanges and the decisions that emerge from them.”

The ministry also said that the Government of Jamaica is “committed to press freedom and political actors at all levels will have to recognise this as a matter of policy.”

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