Press secretariat announces end to weekly press briefings

POSTED: 12/30/14 12:16 AM

St. Maarten – In an effort to streamline, structure and professionalize the relationship with the media of St. Maarten, the Council of Ministers of St. Maarten has decided to work through an in-house press secretariat that reports to the prime minister, with integral support from the Department of Communications, the newly founded press secretariat states in a press release..

“Through the press secretariat, the media will have more of an open door to the individual ministers. It gives the media the opportunity to reach out with their inquiries and, subject permitting, receive replies in a timely manner. Ministers by nature of their schedules are not always reachable in time for media deadlines and seldom have the time to respond to emails from the media in a timely fashion,” the release notes.

The volume of work and country priorities that the Gumbs cabinet has to focus on in 2015 and beyond, “made the establishment of a press secretariat a necessity in order to maintain open communication with the media,” the release continues. The weekly Council of Ministers press briefings will no longer be hosted by DCOMM on a weekly basis, but rather “on notification by the prime minister.” Individual ministers can host press conferences to address a particular issue.

In the absence of these weekly press briefings, the media can still send questions to the press secretariat that will then confer with the relevant minister. The press secretary can host press briefings to relay information from the ministers when this is necessary.

The press secretariat claims in the press release that it  has “identified the key element that will shape its routines, organization, and responsibilities: Cooperation will characterize the relationship between reporters and the secretariat and is based on the need each side has for the other. It is a relationship that will be built on tacit understandings of what each side needs in order to accomplish its goals.”

Besides being a conduit of information, the secretariat will support DCOMM with the Prime Minister’s plans to bring the people closer to the process via production of informative programs using new approaches and technologies developed by DCOMM. A well-structured social media presence will also be put in place.

Former Daily Herald reporter Michael Granger leads the press secretariat with support from Alston Lourens who functions out of the Ministry of Education.


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