14 August, 2007


Publicising Cabinet Discussions. A correspondent has sent me the following 2005 news story from Cayman Islands. It provides the basis for understanding their weekly post-cabinet meeting press conferences. It indicates how far they are ahead of us in government transparency. It demonstrates the extent to which we in Anguilla by comparison still live in the dark ages of communication. Our government ministers have repeatedly promised us more transparency and openness. Their secrecy and lack of transparency cause crisis after crisis. Every time there is a crisis they promise things will be different. Nothing changes. Read this and weep for Anguilla:

The weekly Cabinet press briefings, a fixture since the People’s Progressive Movement took office in May 2005, will air live on Radio Cayman and CITN starting in September.

The briefings, which will be limited to one–hour in length in the future, will also move to Thursday at 10am instead of Friday at 10am.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said the changes would improve the press briefings.

“Members of the public will have the opportunity for the first time to hear questions being asked of the ministers by the media, and the ministers’ unedited responses,” he said.

The press briefings will also be rebroadcast on both Radio Cayman and CITN later in the day.

In the past, all five Cabinet ministers would attend the press briefings if they could, even if they had nothing new to report. Under the new arrangement, however, ministers will rotate their attendance at the briefings so that only two or three will make statements at each briefing.

Mr. Tibbetts said the PPM fulfilled a campaign promise and became the first government in the Cayman Islands to meet regularly with the media when it initiated the weekly press briefings.

“This move further demonstrates the PPM Government’s commitment to openness and transparency, to good relations with the media and to communicating its messages accurately and quickly to all segments of the community,” he said.

Copyright © 2004,2005 Cayman Free Press Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Only Hubert Hughes showed us how a leader of government can use the media to communicate his vision and programme to his people. No other administration has ever attempted to follow his lead. He did, in the views of some, abuse his privileged position, when he was head of the government and Minister responsible for the island’s sole radio station. At the time, he seemed to enjoy using the radio to threaten and browbeat those whom he perceived as his enemies.

I can well remember how relieved we all were when Osborne took power, and he promised not to repeat that mistake.

But, has it not gone too far in the opposite direction now?

What would we not give to be told regularly what it is that government is discussing about our affairs and our future!


  1. CM Fleming announced proudly in the House of Assembly several years ago, "We don't have time to talk to the people."

    The Ministers have time to attend countless mind-numbing ceremonies and other stupidness, but can't be bothered to tell us how they are attending to our affairs.

  2. Everything about Anguilla is a show, every aspect, so why are people so surprised. Ceremonies and voter's gratification is the order of the day. Let us not be surprise.


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