“We need to do better” – PM Nagamootoo tells inaugural Govt PR Conference

Georgetown, Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo today charged public relations and communications professionals from the various Government Public Relations Departments to strive to improve their performance in the execution of their duties and in highlighting the work, policies, programmes and initiatives of their respective ministries, departments and agencies.

Delivering the feature address at the inaugural Government Public Relations Conference held at the National Racket Centre on Woolford Avenue, Prime Minister Nagamootoo related the government’s broad expectation of its public relations and communications officers and urged them work as a cohesive team in the highlighting the successes and achievements of the government.

While, the Prime Minister spoke about the traditional PR functions, he also alluded to the fact that the information landscape has undergone significant change and the departments need to adjust accordingly to meet the modern demands of communications and information dissemination particularly with regard to new media and social media.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes, Director of Public Information Imran Khan and Director of Communications, Ministry of the Presidency Mark Archer also made presentations on various topics during the five hour session.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo along with Ministers Harmon and Hughes all acknowledged that there have been constructive criticisms of government’s public relations efforts and that it has been operating at a less than optimum level.

Minister Hughes, in an energetic and comprehensive presentation on the role and functions of government public relations, implored the packed audience of public relations personnel to be bold and fearless in executing their functions while ensuring that they remain accessible to the media and the public at all times.

Minister Hughes reiterated that government allows PR officers to speak on behalf of ministries, departments and agencies, a marked departure from restrictions of the past.

She urged those gathered to seek out the interesting stories within their ministries and highlight them in as wide a range of ways as possible so that the information can reach diverse audiences.

The draft White Paper on Public Information was presented to the wide-ranging group comprising public relations personnel from all the government ministries but also inclusive of public relations officers from the Guyana Power & Light, Guyana Revenue Authority, the Guyana Tourism Authority and the Demerara Harbour Bridge, Guyana Post Office Corporation, Guyana Defence Force, Guyana Police Force among other government agencies and semi-autonomous organisations.

Several concerns were raised during the interactive session with regard to access to policy information and challenges in disseminating information to the public. A recurring concern which was raised was government’s seeming limited access to state media, particularly NCN radio and television which it was observed provided a dearth of informative programmes relating to government’s policies, programmes and initiatives.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo and Minister Hughes both acknowledged this and other concerns raised and committed to examining ways in which these matters can be addressed.