“We goofed!” was Karl Samuda’s open and honest response to the Government’s recently proposed $22b tax package, while speaking on Nationwide 90 FM earlier today.
His was the fourth response we have had so far.
Darl Vaz, Minister of Information, had his own version.
Peranel Charles, Minister of Labour, had his own spiel.
Andrew Holness, Minister of Education, also had his own spin on the situation.
Of the four, who are we to believe?
I am inclined to believe Mr. Samuda, a man who never beats around the bush… but like to tell it straight and to the point.
Yet still, we have one more version, and hopefully, the truth and final version of what the true situation is. That is what we’ll be expecting from Prime Minister Bruce Golding when he addressed the nation on the main elements of the revised tax package at 9 p.m. tomorrow night.
To my mind, this is a clear indication the government do not have a communication’s policy in place. If there is one, then, no one seems to know where it is, or plain and simple, it is being ignored.
One key element of any communication’s policy is the built-in provision to deal crisis situations.
In a crisis situation, you have got to first select a spokesperson to deliver any given message in a consistent manner. That person needs to be articulate, poised and have a strong grasp of the facts of the situation to be communicated on.
The spokesperson also needs to be briefed on what to expect from the news media and how to respond.
And during a crisis, no one is authorized to speak to the news media other than the spokesperson(s) so designated.
The question I want to ask is: “Who is the Government’s spokesperson?
As far as I am concerned, no spokesperson has been designated. If one has been, then who is it? Is it Daryl Vaz? Is it Peranel Charles? Is it Andrew Holness? Is it Karl Samuda? Or is buck stops with Prime Minister Golding?
As it relates to finding someone who is articulate, poised and have a strong grasp of the facts of the situation to be communicated on, leaves some unanswered questions. Articulate, poised – no problem there. Where the problem lies is in grasping of the facts to be reported on. In this case, it has to do with the circumstances surrounding the recently proposed tax package.
Were the person(s) speaking to the media briefed on what to expect from the news media and how to respond in this crisis?
I think not.
They were all caught flat footed.
They were all off message, and have caused or exacerbated the crisis.
However, the only exception was Mrs. Samuda.
“We goofed,” he said on a radio programme earlier today.
And instead of caused or exacerbated the crisis further, his “admission of guilt” now paved the way for Prime Minister Golding’s nationwide address tomorrow night – an address we now awaited with bated breath as it relates to the revised tax package.
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