Post Cabinet Press Briefings to be Discontinued


Prime Minister Bruce Golding has said that the weekly post-Cabinet press briefings at Jamaica House would be discontinued; instead, his administration would be tabling a Ministry Paper in Parliament from Cabinet proceedings.
Addressing journalists at the (September 17), post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Mr. Golding said he believed that the House of Representatives should be briefed on the decisions of Cabinet before the media.
“We believe that it is important to keep the Jamaican people fully informed. We know that there was a practice in the past administration for weekly post-Cabinet press briefings, and we appreciate that that provided the media with an opportunity to know what transpired out of Cabinet and to raise questions and so on,” Mr. Golding said.
“While not wanting for one moment to elasticize the media’s access to information, one of the things we feel strongly about is restoring the supremacy of Parliament and strengthening Parliament. Therefore, we feel that we have a duty before calling press briefings, we have a duty to report the decisions of Cabinet to Parliament,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that what he proposes to do instead, is to “lay a Ministry Paper in Parliament on Tuesdays outlining the decisions that were taken by Cabinet the day before, and then use that as a basis on which the media can then approach the relevant Ministers whose portfolios may have been affected, or may have been involved in those decisions, for those Ministers to expand and elaborate as much as possible”.
Mr. Golding said that he has instructed the Ministers to make themselves available to the media after Parliamentary proceedings on Tuesdays. “I instructed the Ministers today that once that Ministry Paper is presented to Parliament, they must make themselves available to the media for such expansion, elucidation, clarification as may be necessary,” he informed.
He noted that he too would make himself available on a scheduled basis to the media, to “sit down with the media maybe once a month. whether on the record or off the record, I am open,” he said.
In the meantime, Mr. Golding told the journalists that he has asked the Cabinet Secretary to reduce the size of the 12 committees of the Cabinet. “Under the previous regime there were some 12 committees of the Cabinet, which I found to be burdensome, to be in some instances representing what I thought was a duplication of responsibility,” the Prime Minister said.
“Therefore we have asked the Cabinet Secretary to look at reducing the number of Committees, expanding the scope of some and we hope to be able to take a decision on that, but we want to reduce the number of committees to perhaps no more than five or six,” Mr. Golding added.
Also participating in the press briefing were Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry, Warren Newby.

JIS Social