Government responds to call for PM to give more press briefings

Government responds to call for PM to give more press briefings

The government of Jamaica says it intends to hold press briefings next year and will commence the exercise “in the first quarter of 2017” as it responded to a claim by the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) that Prime Minister Andrew Holness had failed to hold press conferences since assuming office in February this year

The PAJ in a letter, urged Holness to talk more with journalists in the New Year for the benefit of the public.

The PAJ said it was very concerned about media access to ministers of government, and particularly to the Prime Minister.

But in a response, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said it wished “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”.

It said these interviews covered 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 OPM said in its response to the PAJ’s letter.

The OPM said it was also inviting 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.

“The PAJ noted that Mr Holness, since assuming office in March, had yet to hold a comprehensive press briefing in the capacity of prime minister, which all media representatives could attend and ask him a range of questions, for the benefit of the public. The PAJ urged Mr Holness to remedy this deficiency as early as possible in the New Year, and to make these briefings a regular staple on his schedule.”

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