Gaffe after gaffe from ministers… Is Cuffie on the job?

Spread the word

It was Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday.

There would be more deaths at Mount Hope, the country’s primary maternal hospital, the minister blandly declared.

There were no assurances of measures to prevent such fatalities.

The day before, Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe sought to censor social media’s coverage of the killing fields that Trinidad and Tobago have become.

A few days earlier, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley proffered an almost bizarre take on the crime scourge, stating that the government is only aware after the fact.

“Planless PM” a daily newspaper retorted in response to Rowley’s absence of effective proposals to counter the scourge.

This, of course, sharply contrasts with the exact prescriptions he enunciated exactly a year ago when he was campaigning for the job he now holds.

The measures are detailed in the PNM’s general election manifesto.

Now, a nonchalant Rowley deadpans that the government cannot “flick a switch and turn it off.”

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon is seemingly throwing total responsibility for crime prevention on senior police officers.

Attorney General Faris Al Rawi is persisting with his near buffoon approach to the erosion of citizen’s constitutional right to privacy.

Previous public gaffes by Al Rawi, Deyalsingh, and other ministers have been well documented.

If the people’s trust is essential in leading a nation, as commentator Michael Harris intoned this week, these self-inflicted government injuries are hurting their cause of building public faith.

And it leads to widespread anxieties about the performance of a government popularly elected less than a year ago.

All of this raises relevant questions about the government’s communication, the tone and context of its messages, the quality of its interaction with the masses.

It is an understatement to note that Maxie Cuffie, a career journalist, has been disappointing as Minister of Communications, with ineffective messaging.

Probably even more important in the current context is that Cuffie has seemingly not counselled his ministerial colleagues on their public statements and exchanges.

Is Cuffie, the first super-minister of this administration, on the job as Communications Minister?

Development and smoothening of the communication skills of ministers may be an appropriate area in which to start in expunging the growing image of a gaffe-prone government.

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