Gov’t comes in for heavy criticisms; admits to breakdown in communication structure

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Director of Public Information, Imran Khan and Executive Member of the GPA, Denis Chabrol. [Chris Chapwanya Photo]

By Fareeza Haniff

Director of Public Information, Imran Khan and Executive Member of the GPA, Denis Chabrol. [Chris Chapwanya Photo]
Director of Public Information, Imran Khan and Executive Member of the GPA, Denis Chabrol. [Chris Chapwanya Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Three months as a new government and the APNU+AFC is still struggling to deal with its growing internal communication challenges and shortcomings to disseminate information to the public via the media.

As a matter of fact, Director of Public Information, Imran Khan, has admitted this much during his appearance on ‘Hard Talk’ aired on 90.1 Love FM on Sunday, August 09 after he was heavily criticized by veteran journalist and Executive Member of the Guyana Press Association (GPA), Denis Chabrol.

According to Chabrol, the government has been “fragmented and slow” in getting its information to the wider public.

“It allows its opponents, particularly the People’s Progressive Party now to dictate the news agenda and does not respond in a timely and efficient manner,” Chabrol noted.

He made reference to the fury surrounding the increase in salaries for government ministers and other officials; an issue in which the government took days to provide an appropriate response.

Instead, several Ministers gave interviews on the topic with the Prime Minister even confirming that the increase would take place.hard talk

“We had the Opposition speaking for days on end about proposed hikes and salaries for government officials, government ministers and it really took them a while for the government to come with a concerted, definitive position. In the meantime, we had various responses from different Ministers at different times, telling us different things and in some cases, even confirming what the PPP had originally said and for us as media personnel, we had no clear indication, much less the public.

“I think this is where the government fell down; it failed to respond in a timely and efficient manner to say exactly what the position was,” a passionate Chabrol said.

Additionally, host of the programme, Chris Chapwanya was armed with his information, pointing out to Khan that on August 03, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo in the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper stated that Ministers need to be paid a respectable salary and a few days later President David Granger told iNews that the salary increases are meant to “differentiate” between officials.

But according to Chapwanya, on August 05, Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman told a post cabinet media briefing that there would be no salary increases for government officials, which confirmed reports that there is indeed a breakdown of the communication structure in the APNU+AFC government.

Khan in response accepted the criticisms and agreed with Chabrol and Chapwanya, noting that the government is not doing as good a job as it should when it comes to the issue of communication.

“I agree, I accept the criticisms of Denis and his colleagues… I believe that they are valid and I believe that we have listened. I will be the first to say, put my hand up and take responsibility that we have been behind…there’s no question or doubt about that. We have not done as good a job as we ought to have been doing,” Khan said.

While he claims not to be offering an excuse, Khan said upon reflection, the public got accustomed to getting efficient information from the APNU+AFC coalition during the time of the campaign and therefore it was a reasonable explanation on the media and the public’s part that the information will be forthcoming in a similar way “but unfortunately the campaign communication structure and the government communication structure is vastly different as you know.”

“We are taking baby steps in trying to improve that situation but we also have to deal with the reality of what we’ve inherited in terms of the structure and the systems of communication in government,” Khan said.

In this regard, Chabrol made it known that statements and bulletins from the Government Information Agency (GINA) are not as forthcoming as they used to be and that access to government Ministers is at its all-time low.

But Khan did not take this criticism too lightly.

“I think Denis is being a bit harsh… and a bit unreasonable. I understand his frustration; they are real that advisories have not been coming out as proficiently as they ought to have been…it has affected his work and the work of other media persons…The structure that was in place was designed for propagandizing and that’s not the structure we are intent on continuing with.”

At this point, the discussion got heated and Charol reiterated that there is indeed limited access to ministers and most times, they do not answer their phones, while others are selective with whom they speak to.

“I believe that the government has to put in place a system where they monitor what’s going on both locally and internationally so they themselves can react, can respond in a timely manner and not wait for us to get off in a fury on a Whatsapp group and express our frustration at the Manager of that group, Mr Imran Khan.”

Meanwhile, Khan also took some flak for the poor dissemination of information as it relates to the feud between Guyana and Venezuela, which he agreed with.

“We should have been far ahead of where we were in terms of being aggressive on the public communication front,” the Director of Public Information said.

The APNU+AFC government has several State media entities at its disposal to gets information across to the public directly, which includes the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper, NCN TV, NCN Radio and GINA.

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. There is no breakdown of communication. There is very tight control by NAGAMOOTOO of what is leaked or what gets out or not. IMRAN kHAN, the AFC chief PR operative has to function within the Stalinist culture of Mr. Nagoomootoo and Katty Hughes – where he originated. One liberal, the other Stalinist. How does one marry the two diverst communication culture. Giving also that Imran Khan is arrogant and self opiniated.

  2. A bunch of idiots with no idea of where and how to start,a raise of pay within three months in office and nothing to show except a hike in crime and an economy in recession,when will they start to admit that the economy is dying?no one is buying anything except a little food to eat,this is the change we voted for .

  3. Very distasteful comment to Maharanee. If you are so educated you would not classify her as ppp prostitute. No decent and educated person would be so abusive. She is entitled to her own opinion and so is everyone else including you. But there is no need to address her as that.

  4. Do they mean that they should have better liars and scamps than those they have now? Regardless of how skillful they are in propagating their lies, truth will out some time or the other. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Not all Guyanese are fools.

  5. They don’t deserve any increase !!! And for what may I ask ? They can’t even run their own home much less a country. …The only run they will run is running it down to rice flour

  6. you are nothing but a ppp prostitute and you seriously lack education. the ppp have uses for you and those like you because ,you are willing to subject yourself to shame and humiliation on its behalf. you are nothing but a lowly 50-center who sts back doing nothing but spew propaganda on these forums and the reason you took the job is not because of you are qualified but because you like to prostitute yourself for the ppp.

  7. I made the exact observation Denis makes here that the coalition needs to get its act together in the information war with the PPP.

  8. Unresponsive ministers. Probably lazy. And they’re looking for a raise and increase in fringe benefits. We the people say, NO!

  9. The Government needs to listen to their aggressive Communications persons. Yes they need a team of persons who can and will constantly be proactive and reactive to ensure their agenda and information is disseminated. Time to change some people from some seats they have allegiance issues. You cant ask me to speak for or about something I don’t believe in.

  10. What I find amazing is that your opening statement was ” Three months as a new government and the APNU+AFC is still struggling to deal with its growing internal communication challenges and shortcomings to disseminate information to the public via the media/” The PPP who were in power for 23 years DID NOT get anything right, and you guys lived with that. Jobs these days have trial period of six months to a year. Three frigging months and you complain. Do you understand what our new leaders have to learn. Christ cut them some slack. How long has iNews been writing articles for public consumption? You still have not gotten your writing skills perfected because I always see serious errors that should have prevented articles from being posted. So for me this is like the pot calling the kettle black. This is the only Guyana News that I read but check yourself first before me so hard on the new government. There is a learning curve here.

  11. IT’S NOT A BREAKDOWN IN COMMUNICATION STRUCTURE. THEY PLANNED TO HAVE A HUGE INCREASE IN SALARIES BUT BACKED DOWN AFTER A BIG PUBLIC OUTCRY PERIOD.

  12. Loose Lips Sink Ships!

    There are some officials within the David Granger administration behaving like the American politicians.

    Some of them talk too much, out of turn, and contradicts president Granger sometimes.

    This is becoming an embarrassment, and something MUST be done to streamline ALL official announcements to the commonweal or to the press.

    And ONLY certain individuals show be allowed to speak for or on behalf of the government OFFICIALLY.

    Otherwise, they should specifically say they are voicing their own personal opinions.

  13. Where are the regular commentators on Inews who are always ready to defend the coalition? It would be good to have their take on this article.

  14. Mr Denis Chabrol is one of the (youngish) Guyanese Journalists who I greatly admire. As a professional, he is not above listening to others and to take whatever corrective actions might be needed to improve on performance. Bravo. He has spoken openly to his Media colleague, Mr Imran Khan, who also seems willing to listen and to take good professional advice. Bravo. The Future seems bright. Best Wishes. God Bless Guyana.

  15. Seems to me like APNU/AFC have all become disoriented. By the time they awaken from their slumber the PPP/C would be back in power.

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