There are no set rules for Trinidad and Tobago politics. Whichever party is in power will find itself on the downside of public opinion simply because of the undeniable fact that bad news sells more papers.
Trinidadians and Tobagonians thrive on a diet of pure, undiluted “bacchanal”.
Fact—innuendo and outright lies are stretched to their furthest extent in the race for financial dominance of all arms of the media. This is “we” culture. Denying this thirst for bad news is like denying the popularity of doubles, KFC, callaloo, pelau, Chinese food, roti and macaroni pie on a Sunday.
It is unfortunate that the sitting government feels hard done by what it terms “excessive reporting” of negatives above the positive material with regard to its many accomplishments. This immediately translates as “the Partnership ‘fraid’ to look at the truth”.
The Partnership, with an overwhelming 29 seats in government, should be exuding confidence in itself. It is my personal opinion that the communications arm of the Government has not been correctly advising either the Prime Minister or the Minister of National Security in particular about damage to their personal image when uttering certain statements.
It is humanly possible to believe the Government communications department is supplying “rogue advice” in dealing with sensitive issues.
No government, worldwide, can ever say it is “squeaky clean”. Much more can be achieved if there is careful, professional handling of media relations when defending policies that are confrontational and reported in the international media. It is not about who is right and who is wrong. In Trinidad and Tobago, it is not about who is wrong and who is right. It is about who says what, how it is said and when it is said.
The collective media have the power to sway public opinion. This is what the media are about. You can be dead wrong and still come out smelling like roses if your communications specialist is serving up value for the money you are paying.
The competent communications adviser, to any government, is required to be a political communications Houdini.