TK Whyte remembered for establishing good relationship between police, media

The passing of TK Whyte, the former head of the Police Information Centre (PIC), has been described by Desmond Richards, a former president of the Press Association of Jamaica, as a vacuum created in the local journalistic fraternity.

Whyte died earlier this week at hospital.

"His death has left a vacuum in journalism in Jamaica. As a member of the constabulary, he was one of the pioneers in the setting up of the Police Information Centre and he played a key role in setting up a good relationship between the police and the media," Richards said.

"It was critical because TK made sure that the media had access to accurate and timely information from the police force. Prior to that the relationship between the media and the police was not good. TK's intervention as head of the PIC made sure those relations were repaired and he served both entities over the years. He was also influential in establishing the police newspaper, the Police Mirror, which was the voice of the police force. When he quit he maintained his journalistic career as he worked to provide information to several media outlets as a seasoned journalist," Richards explained.

Pete Sankey, a senior associate editor at the Jamaica Observer, shared that he and Whyte formed a good relationship while he was head of the PIC and that friendship continued after he was no longer at there. Sankey expressed condolences to Whyte's family.

"As a reporter at the Jamaica Record newspaper in the late 1980s, I had to interact with TK when he headed the then Police Information Centre, commonly called the PIC. The PIC, like its successor, the Corporate Communications Unit, was the unit of the constabulary that provided updates and statistics on crime. TK was usually helpful with the requested information. When he was promoted and transferred from the PIC, we kept in touch, of course, getting the latest crime update in his division, the last of which was Mandeville, Manchester," Sankey said.

"The Jamaica Record closed in 1992, and later a new daily, the Jamaica Herald, was born, and some of us from the Record were employed as reporters. TK, surprisingly, joined the team as a reporter for a short stint and soon after he left for the new kid on the block, the Jamaica Observer. We linked up again when I joined the Observer team in 1995 and had a good working relationship as he was a crime and court reporter until his retirement. We always had a good chat when we linked up, the last of which was at PriceSmart.

"He always asked about my family, and happily shared once how his wife told him about this bright little girl she taught at Glowell Prep School with my surname and wondered if she was my daughter. 'But, Sankey, mi never know you had a second daughter?' was how he posed the question when trying to find out if it was my daughter in his wife's class.

"I extend to his wife, children, and grandchildren my condolence on your loss. When death gets close it is never easy to deal with, but may our good Lord comfort you as you mourn. Sleep well, TK," Sankey said.

Jason Cross

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