KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Gleaner Company’s Janet Silvera was presented with the prestigious Hector Bernard/Theodore Sealy Award as “Best News Journalist” at the Press Association of Jamaica’s (PAJ) National Journalism Awards Ceremony held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel last month.
The Senior Reporter and “Hospitality Jamaica” coordinator received well-deserved praise for her articles on a case of incestuous sexual abuse. The panel of judges noted that “the relevance of the story can be measured by the type of feedback it received”.There were numerous letters of response to the articles from readers around the globe.
It was in the Sunday Gleaner of May 17, 2009 that Silvera broke the story of four sisters who were seeking justice against their father who they accused of systematically raping them from the tender ages of four years. The family migrated to the USA and it was while there that that the daughters initially filed charges against him. He fled the US in 1988 in the middle of the trial at the US Family Court in New York State, and moved back to eastern Jamaica. A report was made to the Jamaican police in July 2006 and he was arrested in 2008.
Silvera’s winning articles included poignant stories from the daughters of the accused which drew an outpouring of national and international responses from people who had suffered similar ordeals and from organizations that treat and support victims of sexual abuse. One such organization is the “Let Go, Let Peace Come In” Foundation, whose mission is to help heal and support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse worldwide.
In her letter to Silvera, its Administrative Director, Gretchen Paules, noted that “while the legislation in Jamaica is more forgiving when it comes to the rights of the survivor, only recently have laws been enacted in the US to help battle the statute of limitations rules that have been protecting the perpetrators of these crimes for years. By uniting survivors from around the globe we hope to show legislators and health care officials that childhood sexual abuse has grown to epidemic proportions and that positive changes need to be made.”
With a solid background and numerous achievements in tourism, Janet Silvera had been marketing officer at the Jamaica Tourist Board before deciding to change her pace. After ten years, in 1993 she resigned and joined the Gleaner Company Limited. Within months, the Gleaner saw her potential as a writer after her first published article ‘It’s ok to have two men’. This article brought her a lot of attention and the rest is history. Janet Silvera is constantly honing her skills in journalism and has become an integral part of the Gleaner team. She was appointed Co-ordinator of the exciting and innovative bimonthly tourism trade publication Hospitality Jamaica, five years ago; in addition to being appointed Senior Writer of the Caribbean’s historic Gleaner newspaper. She is president of the Western Jamaica Media Association (WJMA), a director of the Press Association of Jamaica, has served as director of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Providence. Silvera is also the 2006 American Express Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) awardee for Excellence in Tourism Reporting.