"Liberia has an image problem" - Says JWI
March 28, 2001
Editor's Note: After having received information from our sources in Liberia that a Washington based public relations firm, Jefferson Waterman International (JWI), has signed a PR contract with the government of President Charles Taylor, we contacted JWI. Below is excerpt from the discussion between George H. Nubo of The Perspective and Ken Yates of JWI.
We have received some reports from Liberia that your company has signed a PR contract with the Liberian Government and we were calling to find out if it is true.
Ken Yates: No, it's not true. We do not have a contract with the Liberian government. We have a contract with [an] American company that works in Liberia. So that places the connection. We work with American company.
A PR contract with American company?
Ken Yates: No, it's not a public relation contract. It is a consulting contract.
Which company is it?
Ken Yates: ...Who do you represent?
We published a Liberian magazine called The Perspective.
Ken Yates: Is it Liberia only?
We mainly cover Liberia and Africa
Ken Yates: Is it Liberia based?
No, it's based here in Atlanta.
Ken Yates: What is your circulation? You circulate here in the US, Africa or where...?
It's mainly in the US. Our print edition comes out quarterly. It is mainly Internet circulation. Our web site is: thepersepctive.org.
Ken Yates: theperspective.org?
Ken Yates: Look, what I can tell you is we work for an American company, RDV Corporation.
Ken Yates: RDV Corporation - look us up at the Justice Department where we have registered. They are involved in Liberia in investing in variety of projects, their records speak for themselves. But what we are doing - we are helping (as we can) Liberia in terms of its communication problems but as part of the contract with the American company.
What is the communication problem?
Ken Yates: I am not sure. You are more familiar with it than I am. Liberia has an image problem here...
So, is this not a PR for the Liberian government?
Ken Yates: No, we do not work directly for the Liberian government. We work with them!
Is the RD[V] a PR firm?
Ken Yates: We are Jefferson Waterman International. We have a number of international clients - variety types of businesses and some governments. We do variety of work for clients. That is all available the Justice Department which is true for any company like ours...
Does RDV have a web site?
Ken Yates: Yes, check us on the internet.
No, I have already checked your web site. I was asking about RDV.
Ken Yates: RDV Corp? I don't know. I never looked.
May I ask how much money is involved in this?
Ken Yates: All that is available through the Department of Justice.
Can I call this an indirect public relation contract?
Ken Yates: No it is not an indirect public relation contract at all. We have a direct contract with RDV Corp.
You have direct contract with the RDV Corp. But is this
an indirect contract with the Liberian government?
Ken Yates: No. No such thing as indirect contract. It has no meaning.
What I'm saying is that - you don't have a contract with the Liberian government, your contract is with RDV Corp but your effort is to improve the communication image of Liberia.
Ken Yates: That's correct.
Is it the responsibility of the RDV Corp to contract people to work on the communication image of Liberia?
Ken Yates: We do variety of things. We provide consulting, advice, help, and we give assistance to whatever the company feels we should. We don't discuss our client's business with any body. I can tell you all about Jefferson Waterman until you are full, but I will not ever discuss the client's business.
Where I am confused is the fact that you signed a contract with RDV Corp to improve the communication of Liberia.
Ken Yates: We will work on anything we feel the client needs so we can help the client We work with the client in terms of what their needs are. And again, we don't discuss our business with clients and that is the policy for all our clients. Because we are international organization, all our connections with clients are listed with the Department of Justice. So that's public information. You are free and welcome to check that out. However, we do not discuss individual business that we do for clients.
May I ask What RDV stands for?
Ken Yates: It is name for a company. We work for the RDV Corp. It's listed with the Department of Justice.
Is the RDV part of Jefferson Waterman International?
Ken Yates: No. They are client.
Okay Sir, that's all we wanted.
Ken Yates: It is not very helpful, but that's the way it works.