Public Relations. I don’t know how many of you heard the Chief Minister on Elkin Richardson's “To the Point” on Monday. I missed it myself because I was stupidly looking at a movie and missed the start time of 7:30 pm. I have been around town Tuesday morning. Everyone was talking about the show. Some of the comments are quite revealing.
One person told me, “I thought he acquitted himself very well. If he had done this once a week for the past seven years, and simply explained what they are doing and why, they could have prevented much of the criticism they've received. It is a mystery to me why all of the Ministers have such a poor understanding of simple public relations -- simple communication, actually. They should dump Curtis and hire Elkin to do their PR.”
Someone else told me that the CM commented that he doesn't like to come on the radio because he prefers to discuss issues with people face to face. In a community of 13,000 people this is either bogus or stupid. I don't know which is less worthy. The CM has to ensure that his plans, programmes, and activities are broadcast and widely publicised. It is simply not possible for him to have a personal chat with each person on the island.
It is not hard to give an example of what can go wrong if he fails to do this. I understand the CM said he was listening last week when someone [Haydn] called in to the radio programme accusing him of lying about working on the minimum wage regulations. According to Haydn, a committee had been appointed but had never met. Last night the CM corrected this and said they had met twice. But again, if the CM had told the people the committee had met twice, instead of keeping it a secret, this would never have happened. He isn't a victim of Haydn; he's a victim of his own secrecy. Meeting personally with a small clique of sycophants at breakfast at Nico’s Restaurant is not a substitute for talking openly and regularly to the people by broadcast on the media.
Congratulations are due to Elkin for prising the Chief Minister out into the public view. We all hope he can do it again soon. For the Chief Minister's own good.