Dear Mrs Jackson Miller,
The Office of the Prime Minister acknowledges your concerns regarding the staging of press briefings with the Prime Minister of Jamaica, The Most Hon. Andrew Holness.
We wish to point out that since his ascendancy, the Prime Minster has done more than 30 interviews with both local and international media on a wide variety of national issues. These interviews include several with your News Group and cover all major news stations in Jamaica.
We are of the view that there can be no conclusion that the Prime Minister has not been accessible to the media and the facts will show that he has been the most accessible Prime Minister is recent Jamaican history.
We ask you to alert us of any issues that the Prime Minster or the government has not responded to whether via statements, interviews, addresses or releases.
The Prime Minister’s approach to communication seeks to diversify engagement using a myriad of tools and several approaches over the short and long term, including but not limited to Social Media engagement, Traditional Media engagement and face to face interaction with the public.
The government has been consistent and proactive in responding to issues that affect the Jamaican people. We can confirm that no major issue has been unearthed without comment or a comprehensive response from the government.
We also invite members of the public and civil society to regular meetings with the Prime Minster to hear their concerns and suggestions in an effort to deepen the partnership needed to move Jamaica progressively forward. Since February 2016, the Prime Minster has had 15 such engagements with stakeholders at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Nonetheless, we continue to depend on the media in general and the Press Association, in particular, to alert us of challenges in government communication.
As part of our communications strategy, the Prime Minster mandated his Cabinet to complement their current engagement with the media with additional regular interviews and press briefings where possible as well as engage directly with the public through other portals.
This strategy also typifies our diverse approach to communications, which encourages engagement with the public through both traditional and non-traditional portals.
The Prime Minister will also host a series of town halls throughout 2017 as well as another media day at OPM.
The Media Day concept is to become a regular part of the Office of the Prime Minister’s Communications strategy and will be expanded to include other Ministries Agencies and Departments.
There will also be heightened engagement of the over 1 million Jamaicans on social media including almost 300,000 Jamaicans who are engaged via the Prime Minister’s and OPM’s social media assets.
We are very excited at the possibilities that social media provides for direct engagement with the public and are invested in ensuring that the significant gains we have made over the past ten months continue. This means more Social Media Town Halls, more social media interactions by the Prime Minster and other Ministers and more informative content served to the public.
We thank you for your considered intervention and wish for your continued partnership with us as we seek to diversify the manner in which the Prime Minister and the government communicate. We can assure you that it was always our intention to host press briefings and that will commence in the first quarter of 2017 as planned.
We commit to continued engagement with your organisation to enhance the communication efforts of the government.
With Kind Regards,
Robert Nesta Morgan
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Office of the Prime Minister
Tel: 872-9979 (m)