Minister promises to work on ‘institutional strengthening’ for press queries
While Elrington is of the firm belief that commanding officers often misspoke during interviews, he also agreed that information channeled to the media via the press release is ineffective. In fact, the flow of information has been difficult to come by from the police press officer. Elrington says that there is a dire need for institutional strengthening.
“I would almost want to argue that there is a complete breakdown in terms of the communication and the flow of information from the police department to the media. We both serve the Belizean public and there have been times where the media have been asking questions that are pertinent to happenings and events around the country where we have not been acknowledged, in terms of the questions being asked, let alone being answered. I know that that would be tantamount to micromanagement if you were to get involved to the nitty-gritty of it, but in terms of what can be done, in terms of either a directive or a call for coolers heads to prevail and for everybody involved to return to the table and be able to negotiate something that is mutually beneficial. Where would you stand on something like that?”
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Home Affairs
“I think that it requires institutional strengthening, which is something that we are going to be big on. We are trying to ensure that the people who have responsibility to interact and interface with the press or with the police are more extensively trained and we urge them to be more efficient in responding to queries. The public has a right to know what is occurring and whenever members of the press are making inquiries, it is my view that they are responded to as quickly as possible.”
A meeting with officials from the Ministry of Police has been scheduled for later this week.