News Americas, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tues. Dec. 2, 2014: Distinguished Caribbean tourism journalist and Montego-based writer, Janet Silvera, has been named Jamaica’s 2014 ‘News Journalist Of The Year.’
Silvera, who has made an indelible contribution to Jamaica’s tourist industry in the past 25 years, on Friday night, Nov. 28th, walked away with the Hector Bernard/Theodore Sealy Award for the “Best News Journalist – Print – for the second time, at the Press Association of Jamaica Awards dinner held in Kingston, Jamaica.
She shared the honor with Adrian Frater, a news editor at The Gleaner Western Bureau, for breaking the Mario Deane story earlier this year. Deane was killed while in police custody after being arrested for a small quantity of marijuana.
Silvera won the same award in 2009 for the thought-provoking piece ‘Dad Raped Us.’
Last night’s win brings to 15, the number of awards and accolades Silvera has won in recent years.
The University of the West Indies Media and Communications graduate made history in
June 2012 when she became the first Jamaican to be honored with the Marcia Vickery-Wallace award for Travel Journalism by the Jamaica Tourist Board and in 2006, she was presented the American Express/Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) award for ‘Excellence in Tourism Reporting.’
In commenting on the latest award, Silvera said: “Of all the awards I have received over the years, this has been one of the most gratifying, because of the amount of attention the Mario Deane story garnered. It not only revealed the abuse of the police in this country, but also showcased the horrible condition that inmates face in our jails.
“There are many Mario Deane’s in Jamaica. The loss to his family can never be justified. However, his death may prevent similar occurrences in the future. Most importantly, the spotlight has been placed on the laws governing small amounts of marijuana and the impact it has had on the lives of young men in this country.”
It was the Mario Deane incident that forced lawmakers in Jamaica to fast track the rules governing the quantity of ganja that one can be arrested for.
“Even the bail act has been impacted, while persons who have been charged in the past, found guilty and had a police record have had those charges expunged from their names,” Silvera added. “To say, I am honored to share this award with my colleague, another award-winning journalist, Adrian Frater is an understatement. He is an excellent writer, who worked tirelessly ensuring our readers were kept abreast of this historic case.”
ABOUT JANET SILVERA
Janet Silvera began her career with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in 1985. She is a first class honors graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona-Western Jamaica Campus, where she studied Media and Communications.
She has spent the last 20 years with The Gleaner, mainly as coordinator of the island’s sole tourism-trade publication, Hospitality Jamaica.
Silvera is also president of the Western Jamaica Media Association (WJMA), a director of the Press Association of Jamaica and has served as a former director of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Kiwanis Club of Providence.