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Newbold has been quiet since Christmas

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Anthony Newbold

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRESS Secretary Anthony Newbold has not hosted a press briefing in two months, raising questions about the purpose of his role.

There were high expectations in 2017 when Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, promising unprecedented openness in government, appointed Mr Newbold as press secretary.

In a press statement announcing the appointment on May 18, 2017, the government said: “This appointment is the beginning of the resolve of newly-elected Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to make transparency one of the watchwords of his new Free National Movement government. (Anthony Newbold) will conduct media briefings on Cabinet decisions after Cabinet meetings and coordinate media appearances and press conferences for the prime minister among other duties.”

Nonetheless, a press briefing has not been held since before Christmas.

Reporters have long been frustrated by Mr Newbold’s limited ability to get substantive responses to queries.

Sources in the government, speaking anonymously to The Tribune yesterday, blamed civil servants and a political culture which, for all the rhetoric, struggles with transparency.

Some also criticised Dr Minnis, saying he never sent a directive to senior civil servants ordering them to respond to information requests that come from senior communication personnel like Mr Newbold.

Mr Newbold declined to comment about the matters when contacted.

However, Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell said he recently wondered what happened to the role of press secretary.

“I found it interesting,” he said when contacted, “that it was (Communications Director Erica Wells Cox) who issued the statement about the gaming tax agreement between the government and operators (on Wednesday) and I thought, ‘where is the press secretary and BIS?’ We indicated before that there are three different people, the press secretary, the communications director and BIS director and usually such a statement would come from the BIS director. I also wondered what happened to the press secretary and the interactions with the press that were supposed to take place. It begs the question. No one has a quarrel with the government for having its public relations machinery but people must have work to do. It doesn’t seem that there is sufficient work being generated out of this government to generate the three different positions that it has, so something has to give.”

Mrs Wells Cox was appointed to her new post last month.

The administration also pledged Dr Minnis would hold quarterly press conferences in a bid to boost transparency and accountability, but this too has amounted to little. As the third anniversary of the May 10 general election nears, the Killarney MP has yet to host such a briefing, although he does occasionally take questions from reporters at various events.

During an event yesterday, reporters sought to ask Dr Minnis about the substantive chief justice role which has not been filled and the opposition’s calls for National Security Minister Marvin Dames and Health Minister Dr Duane Sands to resign because of their involvement in the Frank Smith bribery trial.

Rushing away, Dr Minnis did not stop to answer reporters’ questions, saying he had a flight to catch.

Comments

ohdrap4 3 years, 11 months ago

he is a bahamian who needs to eat and sleep.

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TalRussell 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes, or no - Besides head propagandist Comrade "Sister" Eric and demoted "Acee', there are some 40 other warm bodies up in PMO - all on PM's personal propagandist sucking off payroll, courtesy PeoplesPublicPurse, yes, no?

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pingmydling 3 years, 11 months ago

Anthony Newbold, the Bahamian Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and just as smart!!!!!! Dah!

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 11 months ago

doc is a stranger to the TRUTH. doc LIES a lot.. Only a real fool would believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

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pingmydling 3 years, 11 months ago

I was a patient of Doc. He told me I was just fine and healthy. I died the following day.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 11 months ago

What is Newbold been paid to do this job???? .......... and now the Wells-Cox woman?????

And BIS??????? ............... and ZNS?????? ............ All 4 to sing the praises of the PM????

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 11 months ago

On the PR front ......... this Government deserves an "F" grade ......... Minnis is the most press-unfriendly PM that we have had .......... at a time when transparency must be a priority for the FNM to be re-elected ........ Bad PR move on the part of the FNM hierarchy & Minnis

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Clamshell 3 years, 11 months ago

Oh, good ... another high-ranking government official being paid a big salary to do ... nothing. Too bad The Tribune could spend 5 minutes researching his salary and publish it here.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 11 months ago

Yep .......... like the union fella at Water & Sewerage ....... 60 grand for doing nothing plus union perks ..... Fella collected 6 figures a year and doing NOTHING ........... Maybe Ace is in this same category ...... While the majority of private sector working class Bahamians make no more than $400 a week on their jobs.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 11 months ago

Ace current annual compensation package paid by government:

Base salary $80,000

Bonus $20,000

Health insurance $15,000

Pension benefits $15,000

Total $130,000

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