Can a media conference without the presence of the media actually pass as a media conference?
Such actually happened last week when Transport Minister Lawrence Scott held court for the purpose of delivering information regarding the status of the cruise ship and airline industries relevant to Bermuda without any local media outside of Government Department of Communications staff present.
According to an individual who witnessed the proceedings, the situation took on bizarre status when Minister Scott made an act out of opening up the conference to questions, while knowing full well there would be none, as there was no audience.
“So, I’m watching Youtube and I’m watching the news conference and Lawrence Scott comes on and he speaks for five minutes about the cruise ships,” said the individual. “About how great it was, this and that, which is irrelevant.
“At the end of it he’s at the podium and he says, ‘I will now take all questions. Any questions from the press I will be happy to answer.’
“Five seconds goes by and then he says, ‘As there are no questions we thank you and good-bye.
“So, I’m scratching my head as to why there would not be a single question regarding the airlines, the TA, the cruise ships turning around.
“So I called The Royal Gazette and I asked: ‘Who did you send to this news conference?’
“And they said that there had been a miscommunication and they hadn’t sent anyone.
“I called BBC and asked Jasmine (Patterson) who they had sent to the news conference and the response was, ‘What news conference?’
“So I called Nia Talbot, who’s in charge of communications for Government and I told her the story of what I had seen.
“She was very nice, very professional and said: ‘Well, we had an in house person.’
“And as she said it, she must have realised how ridiculous and stupid that was. So she said that they would edit that part out.
“This man lied to the public and made every journalist in Bermuda look like they’re ignorant, because everyone else that heard that would have thought the same as me, ‘How could there have not been a question asked or answered?’
“But what many would not have known was that there were no press there.
“I followed up with the Gazette and they said that they had arranged an interview with the Minister, but they were not going to call him out.
“Anywhere else in the world he would have to step down and resign. He lied to the public.
“He stood there looking at empty seats and gave this grandiose gesture and performance that was a lie.”
Indeed a major question TNN would have had and has for the Minister revolves around the potential for a repeat of revenue guarantee payments having to be made to airport leaseholders Aecon, a bill footed by the Island’s taxpayers.
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