Sun | Jul 21, 2019

Post-Cabinet press briefings to resume shortly

Published:Tuesday | June 25, 2019 | 12:24 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

After more than four months without a post-Cabinet press briefing, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has indicated that they will resume in short order.

Cabinet meetings are held on Monday and are usually followed by a press briefing on Wednesday.

“We will resume shortly. We have been maintaining an open-door policy in terms of responding to media queries. We have, case in point, maintained communication, had regular press briefings concerning updates on the planning and execution of the state funeral for former prime minister, the Most Honourable Edward Phillip George Seaga, and we have a comprehensive communication plan that from time to time changes,” said Naomi Francis, press secretary in the OPM.

“We have also been examining the numbers in terms of looking at the attendance of media, the interaction of media, and see if we need to tweak our strategy,” said Francis, referring to a scorecard on media attendance and questions fielded that the OPM has been publishing in newspapers since last year.

The last quarterly prime minister’s press briefing was held last year.

Press Association of Jamaica President George Davis indicated yesterday afternoon that he would be writing to the OPM to voice the association’s concern about the lack of post-Cabinet briefings.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Peter Espeut, sociologist and development scientist, said that he was not surprised about the trend of non-engagement.

“It’s true to form. Remember he’s (Prime Minister Andrew Holness) not too big on consultation … . It seems as if the Cabinet and the prime minister don’t like to share information with the public. They don’t like to consult, so the fact that there have been no post-Cabinet press briefing for months is true to form.”

He added: “This is not a transparent Government. Either they don’t know how to do it or they don’t like it.”

Following the March sacking of Ruel Reid as minister of education, youth and information amid a criminal investigation, the various portfolios have been under the OPM.

Karl Samuda has been given oversight of the education and youth portfolios. It is unclear whether the information portfolio will be assigned shortly.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com