Categorized | Local, News

The budget review team press conference cancellation

by Bennette Roach

Following the announcement that the recent visit by the Department for International Development, (DFID) budgetary aid mission team would hold a press conference, (as is normal), the new Information and Communications director Mike Jarvis on Feb. 24, dutifully issued a notice for the press conference due to be held February 26, 2014 at 2.00 p.m. That press conference was to include, ‘members of the visiting team from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and representatives of the Government of Montserrat.”

An experienced but  disappointed Jarvis on February 25, at 3:22 PM wrote: “Regrettably, I have to advise you that the press conference with the DFID team that was scheduled for Wednesday February 26th, has had to be cancelled. This is due to the fact that their meetings with the various government ministries and departments have been  running overtime.”

Recognising the surprised let down, Jarvis, at the same time encouraged , “Please feel free to make your own arrangements,”  following up the following morning with an invite to a press conference, “arranged with the Honourable Premier, Mr Reuben Meade in which he will report on and answer your questions regarding the outcome of meetings with the DFID delegation.”

Prior to this however, I had reacted immediately to the cancellation, while in sympathy with Mr. Jarvis, I wrote: “Thanks for advising. You have no idea how many people are looking forward to hearing what comes out of this press conference. I recall what I told a couple of DFID people who sought to not cancel but cut short press conferences.

That is very much insulting to the people. I am sure they could not or would not dare do that in the UK. The matter of them not having one the last time was raised at the last Governor’s press conference. They said that there wasn’t much to tell last year when they did the same thing, left without having the press conference.  James very correctly noted to them that they should not decide what is nothing to tell. (The people are entitled to the information however simple it seems to them). It doesn’t matter if they have it at 8 o’clock at night. I recall coming out one holiday morning to a press conference. This couldn’t happen in Brandt’s day.”

 

Other invitees to the press conference also reacted. “Actions like these show disrespect for journalists and the role they are expected to play in the dissemination of timely and accurate information to the general public,” one wrote, adding, “Further this does not speak to transparency in Government. In my opinion the journalist should have been given the opportunity as was done in the past to hear directly from the DFID officials and like wise  get the views from the Government side.”

Another wrote: “Déjà vu.  Seems Montserrat public often last to know, if ever. Thank you for the early cancellation notice.  But still wondering why the press conference was cancelled rather than re-scheduled.  Did DFID close its Montserrat office?”

The following morning following Jarvis’ invitation to a rare Premier’s press conference, I wrote to Jarvis and all invitees, declining the invitation to the press conference with the Premier. “Hi folks: So sorry, I am not interested in this press conference. The premier could have made the press conference happen – even at ten o’clock last night or 7 a.m. today. (note my earlier remark on time). I might consider if Dr. Kimbugwe or some DFID rep is present.”

Later still, I wrote: “Mike – Thanks. The press conference with the Premier is of no consequence whatsoever, at least not to me anyway. On what will I base my questions, On what he reports? The two press meets with DFID two years ago were very instructive about what goes on, and the fact that they ran over time in their discussions makes all the more we needed to hear from them, also. I will remind colleagues who attended any of these, that there were supposed to be follow up with the Premier, which he promises. I am still waiting. The same has been true with the Memo of Understanding of 2012 and others. Again, in the absence of Kimbugwe I see no value.”

The press conference according to a report issued by the Government Information did take place. It was attended only by ZJB reporters who were not in a position to do otherwise.

Meanwhile Director Mike Jarvis informed that Mr Kimbugwe, has assured that a DFID press conference reporting on the meetings will be arranged to be held in a fortnight’s time. He informed that Kimbugwe said “On my return (two weeks) we should have an aide memoire which I would be glad to discuss in a press conference.”

 

(See: Premier: ‘Hitting 90% of the target’ for its Strategic Growth Programme)

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Bennette Roach

Following the announcement that the recent visit by the Department for International Development, (DFID) budgetary aid mission team would hold a press conference, (as is normal), the new Information and Communications director Mike Jarvis on Feb. 24, dutifully issued a notice for the press conference due to be held February 26, 2014 at 2.00 p.m. That press conference was to include, ‘members of the visiting team from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and representatives of the Government of Montserrat.”

An experienced but  disappointed Jarvis on February 25, at 3:22 PM wrote: “Regrettably, I have to advise you that the press conference with the DFID team that was scheduled for Wednesday February 26th, has had to be cancelled. This is due to the fact that their meetings with the various government ministries and departments have been  running overtime.”

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Recognising the surprised let down, Jarvis, at the same time encouraged , “Please feel free to make your own arrangements,”  following up the following morning with an invite to a press conference, “arranged with the Honourable Premier, Mr Reuben Meade in which he will report on and answer your questions regarding the outcome of meetings with the DFID delegation.”

Prior to this however, I had reacted immediately to the cancellation, while in sympathy with Mr. Jarvis, I wrote: “Thanks for advising. You have no idea how many people are looking forward to hearing what comes out of this press conference. I recall what I told a couple of DFID people who sought to not cancel but cut short press conferences.

That is very much insulting to the people. I am sure they could not or would not dare do that in the UK. The matter of them not having one the last time was raised at the last Governor’s press conference. They said that there wasn’t much to tell last year when they did the same thing, left without having the press conference.  James very correctly noted to them that they should not decide what is nothing to tell. (The people are entitled to the information however simple it seems to them). It doesn’t matter if they have it at 8 o’clock at night. I recall coming out one holiday morning to a press conference. This couldn’t happen in Brandt’s day.”

 

Other invitees to the press conference also reacted. “Actions like these show disrespect for journalists and the role they are expected to play in the dissemination of timely and accurate information to the general public,” one wrote, adding, “Further this does not speak to transparency in Government. In my opinion the journalist should have been given the opportunity as was done in the past to hear directly from the DFID officials and like wise  get the views from the Government side.”

Another wrote: “Déjà vu.  Seems Montserrat public often last to know, if ever. Thank you for the early cancellation notice.  But still wondering why the press conference was cancelled rather than re-scheduled.  Did DFID close its Montserrat office?”

The following morning following Jarvis’ invitation to a rare Premier’s press conference, I wrote to Jarvis and all invitees, declining the invitation to the press conference with the Premier. “Hi folks: So sorry, I am not interested in this press conference. The premier could have made the press conference happen – even at ten o’clock last night or 7 a.m. today. (note my earlier remark on time). I might consider if Dr. Kimbugwe or some DFID rep is present.”

Later still, I wrote: “Mike – Thanks. The press conference with the Premier is of no consequence whatsoever, at least not to me anyway. On what will I base my questions, On what he reports? The two press meets with DFID two years ago were very instructive about what goes on, and the fact that they ran over time in their discussions makes all the more we needed to hear from them, also. I will remind colleagues who attended any of these, that there were supposed to be follow up with the Premier, which he promises. I am still waiting. The same has been true with the Memo of Understanding of 2012 and others. Again, in the absence of Kimbugwe I see no value.”

The press conference according to a report issued by the Government Information did take place. It was attended only by ZJB reporters who were not in a position to do otherwise.

Meanwhile Director Mike Jarvis informed that Mr Kimbugwe, has assured that a DFID press conference reporting on the meetings will be arranged to be held in a fortnight’s time. He informed that Kimbugwe said “On my return (two weeks) we should have an aide memoire which I would be glad to discuss in a press conference.”

 

(See: Premier: ‘Hitting 90% of the target’ for its Strategic Growth Programme)