Sun | Apr 5, 2020

Reid: Post-Cabinet briefings outdated

Published:Thursday | July 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Ruel Reid

Information Minister Ruel Reid has again hinted that the weekly post-Cabinet media briefings, which have not been held since late last year, could be radically overhauled or even abandoned. He further questioned the relevance of the briefing and argued that it was introduced at a time when there was the absence of social media and limited means of communication.

"All the issues regarding post-Cabinet [briefing] are under review [as to] whether it is something [that] we think we should continue in its current format," declared Reid during an interview on the Power 106 FM programme 'Morning Agenda', yesterday.

"There is one format that I am looking at, and it is similar to what obtains at, the White House (in the United States). Instead of the minister of information responding to policies, that would be transferred to the OPM (Office of the Prime Minister), where the press secretary would be responsible, and we have an OPM press briefing," added Reid.

He was responding to renewed calls by the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) for the resumption of the well-established weekly briefings which provided public information to members of the media. PAJ president Dionne Jackson Miller, in a recent media release, noted that the Government had ignored requests to resume the post-Cabinet briefings, which allowed government officials to address pertinent matters facing the country.

But Reid said that a number of options were being considered that would make it more convenient for ministers of government and the media.

"... There are ministry papers that we send to Parliament very regularly on major decisions coming out of Cabinet that we can communicate on," he argued.

"You don't need a post-Cabinet [briefing] for issues relating to a particular ministers' portfolio. The individual ministries have their communication departments, they have their ministers, and they are responsible for having those press briefings," the information minister stated.