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‘We’ve been thrown off message’

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Anthony Newbold

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

PRESS Secretary Anthony Newbold yesterday acknowledged the Minnis administration has not been communicating its agenda effectively, noting the government has been struggling to get back on message since the passage of Hurricane Irma.

Mr Newbold was asked to respond to the recent poll from marketing and research firm Public Domain, which flagged poor government communication and indicated the number of Bahamians generally dissatisfied with the administration has increased by 28 per cent since last May.

“Things happen that throw you off,” Mr Newbold said, “any number of things have happened, beginning with the hurricanes. So you get side tracked because things happen. There is always an agenda. Are we communicating that as best we can, no. I don’t think anyone thinks that we do, and its all of our fault for doing that.”

The poll was conducted from March 15 to April 7 and relied on a random, weighed sample of 1,000 Bahamians. It comes as the administration prepares to mark its one year anniversary on May 10. 

The poll shows the number of people generally satisfied with the administration has declined by 18 per cent, and that a substantial per cent of people surveyed now believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Mr Newbold said: “The prime minister is aware of the concerns of the Bahamian people, always aware, that is one of the reasons why he decided to get into frontline politics. And he will always take the concerns of the Bahamian people into consideration, and again five years (is the full term).

“It’s 11 months in,” he continued, “that’s what he’s focused on trying to address some of those concerns of the Bahamian people, that won’t happen overnight and some of the methods he’s going to have to use will be painful, but he’s committed to addressing the concerns of the Bahamian people, whatever they are.”

Dr Minnis and a delegation are currently in London, England for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Last week, Dr Minnis and a government delegation were in Lima, Peru for the eighth CEO Summit of the Americas. Some observers have criticised the travel and the size of the delegation.

Responding to a question on who bears the travel costs of minister’s spouses for such trips, Mr Newbold said: “The policy is for the spouse of the prime minister and foreign minister, they will travel on the government’s tab always. For other ministers there is one travel on the government’s tab per year - any other trips will be the responsibility of the respective minister.

“I don’t say that this government is sending ‘gussie mae’ delegations, but that’s a matter of some people may think that.

“We are telling you specifically why they (delegation members) are there and they will do some other reports when they come back. Hopefully the idea is you go through these meetings, you’re not going there to be seen but you’re going there on behalf of the Bahamian people.”

The delegation to CHOGM and related meetings in London includes Dr Minnis; Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield; Minister of Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira and State Grand Bahama Minister Kwasi Thompson.

The prime minister’s senior policy advisor, Joshua Sears; Sharon Brennen-Haylock, director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Candia Ferguson, director of investments at the Bahamas Investment Authority and Viana Gardiner of the Office of the Prime Minister/Deliverables Unit are on the trip as well, along with High Commissioner to the UK Ellison Greenslade and other officials from the Bahamas and London.

The delegation returns home Sunday, April 22.

Comments

Socrates 4 years, 9 months ago

there is never an excuse for inadequate communication. they say they will be open and keep people informed, so just do it. hurricanes, etc., have no impact. government is full of people with different responsibilities, so no storm should have the entire gov't occupied to the extent that nothing else can happen in the country.

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TalRussell 4 years, 9 months ago

Ma Comrades, there's no needs making up fake when the PM's own propaganda section headed by "Acee" and staffed by some 20 on public purse paid propagandist - does has balls comes right out admit how they have become the party that all during the 2017 general election told voters that the government doesn't work..... and then they accidentally got's elected and set out prove it day after day. It's the one and only red shirts truth told during entire 2017 campaign. Did it not register "Acee' that you just can't threatened the poor and near poor among the 91,409 who trusted their X's with 35 red man's and woman's red shirt candidates on 10th May 2017 - to be sending the corned beef policeman's knock down front doors their simple dwellings.. what manner man's and woman's would dare threatened cans corned beef with extinction by passing in the peoples Honourable house of assembly a Endangered Cans Corned Beef Act,

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 9 months ago

Not surprising that the Press Secretary who Minnis appointed to hide behind readily admits the Minnis-led FNM government is unable to effectively communicate with the Bahamian people. Could it be that the Minnis-led FNM government is failing the Bahamian people and therefore only has its own failures to communicate to us?!

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DDK 4 years, 9 months ago

Hurricane Irma? Do we REALLY need a press secretary?

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DDK 4 years, 9 months ago

Is that TEN people to London in the list? What about the "other officials" from the Bahamas? We pay for all of them? Do we pay for their shopping in Harrods as well? A whole fricking week? ASTOUNDING! Could be one of the reasons these ant-corruption people are descending upon us. They should be made to publish their expense reports on ZNS Television. Pass that bill. See how you like me now!

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 9 months ago

Can ACE tell the Bahamian people how soon will the office of the spouse be opened and she be awarded ten thousand dollars just for tea.?? It's the peoples time and they should enjoy every minute of it.

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John 4 years, 9 months ago

If you go into the streets after heavy rain, you will expect to find flooding. Likewise if you rate a government after it has went through some turmoil and was involved in some unpopular decision making, it would have poor ratings. And the fact that the Minnis' government is not sugar coating or even polishing anything tends to make their ratings more volatile, especially when the ratings negatively affected. Yes their presentation including the press secretary's is lack luster and mostly without excitement And whilst there seems to be nothing on the radar that will cause the Minnis administration to get positive ratings that are off the chart, many expect that more could have been done to ease the economic downturn and get more Bahamians employed and working. Some retail businesses are reporting that their sales are down by as much as 40 percent since December Yes FORTY PERCENT. The VAT returns due this weekend may not reflect this since there has been a boost in tourist figures and most hotel still have healthy occupancies. Persons are growing wary of hearing about the corruption and mis-management of the former government and how much money is being borrowed to fix their missteps. Next month makes a year since Minnis has been at the helm, and with thousands of students expected to come out of school over the next two months and hit the pavement searching for jobs, Minnis would be be wise to speed up his infrastructural works projects both in New Providence and the Family Islands This may be a much needed stimulus to get the economy moving, especially sine there are no major projects in the pipeline. Smaller but consistent projects will help drive the economy.

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 9 months ago

We DON'T CARE about an "agenda" - we want to know what is actually happening on a month by month basis. How much money came in - from where - for what - and how much went out - from where - for what - and how much was borrowed - from where - for what - and how much is the starting balance and ending balance each month of the infamous "consolidated fund".

Of course, we know better than to ask - peasants aren't allowed to get this info from their masters.

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 9 months ago

Newbold is to blame ....... there are some entitled Cabinet Ministers who really do not care what Minnis Agenda is ........ and they are not all competent Ministers ....... the loudest of that lousy bunch is the Minister of Education and Minister of Transport.

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killemwitdakno 4 years, 9 months ago

There's only a few people in this country who actually follow everything properly and recall the background of the issues. I would sample them, the pundits.

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