The unsatisfactory handling of government’s public relations by the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) has left the plenary of the House of Representatives with no choice but to send the officials of the Ministry for Public Relations 101 training workshops.
Minister Lewis Brown and Deputy for Public Affairs, Isaac Jackson and others are required by the House Plenary to attend some workshops to get what they described as “proper training in public relations and information dissemination in the public sector.”
According to the plenary mandate, the Committee on Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism, headed by Representative Richmond Anderson, a former Deputy Minister for Administration at MICAT and Chairman of the Department of Mass Communications at the University of Liberia (UL), is being asked to conduct a week-long seminar in various public relations basic courses in order to “strengthen MICAT to better represent the government at all levels of their work.”
Capitol Hill also wants MICAT officials to sit in these workshops and, in their words, “learn and understand the statutory functions of the Ministry as well as national information dissemination,” which lawmakers believe the current MICAT leadership has little or no knowledge of.
The House further believes MICAT’s leadership has performed its mandate inadequately, pointing to the Ministry’s incompetency in its primarily role of defending and promulgating the government of Liberia’s policies and programs and not a particular branch of government, as is being practiced at MICAT.
The call for urgent intervention to rescue what it called the “fast-growing and appalling situation at MICAT,” stemmed from an overwhelming decision by members of the House to provide expertise and guidance to the MICAT officials.
The decision to send the MICAT officials for training was prompted by a communication addressed to plenary by Montserrado County Representative Julius F. Berrian, in which he complained about the two officials for describing lawmakers as “counterfeit.”
According to Rep. Berrian, the constant outbursts from Jackson against members of the Legislature could no longer be tolerated, and as such, actions must be taken to remedy the situation.
Berrian noted that during a MICAT regular press briefing this week, Jackson referred to members of the House as “counterfeit lawmakers” which he (Berrian) described as counterproductive and a gross disrespect and abuse to the first branch of government.”
For his part, Representative Edwin M. Snowe revealed that Jackson was heard live on radio describing the House’s Press Director, Isaac Redd, as “a puppet.” Snowe took strong exception to that remark, noting, “If he does not respect our staff, it means that he does not have any regard for us as well.”
Snowe’s disclosure prompted lawmakers not only to hold workshops for the officials, but further to instruct its committee to demand a 9-month action plan from Brown and co-workers on the full operations of the Ministry.