This country’s Attorney General, Dale Marshall believes that his Government has done a reasonably good job in disseminating information simplified to clear up any “grey areas” in the current Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Curfew) (No. 7) Directive.
Speaking during a nationally televised press conference at Ilaro Court last night, the AG said he fielded many queries over the weekend from the retail sector and other interest groups.
As a result, Mr. Marshall said the Department of Public Affairs had been putting out a “number of snippets so as to be able to express in simple language, what is the status quo”.
“As you know…we have not run from the public face in terms of coming out and interfacing with the press. I’ve certainly gone on call-in programmes. So, I think we’ve done an awful lot. I believe that the error tends to be though, and I don’t want to be critical of anybody. I think in some instances, as the Prime Minister is saying, people need to look at what is there and I am even having to explain the Directives to attorneys, and I ask them, “have you read the entire Directive”, and they say, “No”. So, I think we have to walk with each other and hold each other’s hand,” the Attorney General underlined.
He argued that Government had bent over backward to talk with people and disseminate information and where there were grey areas, information was disseminated via the Barbados Government Information Service and other agencies in simple terms, to reach the wider public.
Mr. Marshall stated: “We remain available to the public. I get scores and scores of emails per hour…I know the Prime Minister does. Sometimes, she bumps them up to me. But that’s what we do and that’s who we are. So, I’m sorry that there are entities that find the Directives confusing. But let me finish by saying this; this current Directive has changed very little from the last Directive. And, therefore, if we went through the last Directive, with some reasonably good understanding of what obtained, it is a little bit puzzling that in a situation where all we’ve done is to give an extra hour in the day, that there’d be this confusion that persists.”
He suggested the confusion could be attributed to an expectation of tightening of measures in the new Directive that was issued and this led to widespread rumours of a total shutdown.
Mr. Marshall added that rather than having a shutdown, there was “more flexibility than ever before”. “Sorry that there’s confusion. I’m sure that as a Government, we can always do better, we can always improve. But I’m reasonably satisfied with the efforts that we’ve made to make it clear. And, you know, we talked to the Social Partnership and other people just to let them know, in simple terms, what’s happening,” the AG added.