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Pressing need for press secretary


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ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS the new Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Administration announced following its sweeping victory in the May 24 General Election last year was a number of measures to enhance transparency, which has become one of the Government’s catchwords.

There were high expectations of unprecedented openness in Government, especially following the previous administration when an unimpeded access to a free flow of information was not always widely embraced.

The new administration promised to appoint a press secretary and there was also a commitment to hosting of regular post-Cabinet press briefings.

This was a welcome promise since the role of press secretary had disappeared under the Freundel Stuart Administration and post-Cabinet press conferences were very rare.

The new BLP Administration quickly appointed a director of communications in Charles Jong, a very competent and affable individual. But there is still no press secretary and the post-Cabinet media briefings have all but disappeared.

There are issues which often require a quick response and it is not always possible to get a minister, but certainly a press secretary should be able to get the required information and give a response.

A press secretary is necessary since that individual would interact with the media and should be able to get the message over to those career public officers who dodge the media, and give the facts so that their side of any story can be fairly and accurately reported.

The public wants more, not less information.