Kudos to Premier Andrew Fahie for holding regular press conferences in recent months, and to opposition members for hosting similar sessions fairly frequently as well.
We hope this practice will continue after the next election and become standard for every sitting government.
Meeting regularly with the press is a crucial responsibility for the leaders of any democracy. It allows them to provide updates on their work and gives the media a chance to hold them accountable by asking questions of public concern.
Too often, however, VI premiers and other government ministers have neglected this responsibility. Mr. Fahie’s predecessors — Dr. Orlando Smith and Ralph O’Neal — both promised repeatedly to hold monthly press conferences. And at times, they followed through for a few months. But eventually, they always appeared to lose interest, often going for many months without meeting the press.
After Mr. Fahie’s government came to power in early 2019, he got off to a poor start in this regard. During his first two years in office, he held precious few press conferences.
But in recent months he has turned over a new leaf, meeting with the media every two or three weeks — typically on a Friday.
Even better, he sometimes brings along different ministers so that they can field questions related to their portfolios. The premier should keep it up, implementing a regular rotation of government members.
Opposition members should do the same, upping their own game to help motivate the government side.
Other senior officials should come on board as well. We see no reason why the governor shouldn’t meet with the press monthly — and along with the deputy governor at times.
And in this digital age, United Kingdom officials who wield power here should also make themselves available on occasion.
When Amanda Milling, the UK minister responsible for overseas territories, visited the territory last month, it was disappointing that she did not schedule a press conference. But thanks to digital technology, it’s not too late. Especially as the Commission of Inquiry report release looms, the VI media surely should get the chance to question UK officials about the decisions they make that affect the territory.
It is good to see the premier finally setting a positive example in this regard. We hope he and other leaders keep it up for a long time to come.