BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 16th July 2021)-Opposition Senator Dr. Joyelle Clarke has criticised the public communication approach of the Harris-led administration in her questioning of “optics versus substance”.
“I don’t know what is the motivation behind this ‘wait wait wait’ approach to communicating with the people of St.Kitts and Nevis.Why do we always have to go to someone’s social media status, someone who we know is in the know to determine if Monday, for example, is not an lockdown day. Why should the Prime Minister come tomorrow to tell us that Monday is not a lockdown day. We have nothing else to plan for? We’re just waiting locked up in our homes waiting waiting on a government to decide what it’s going to do with its people?”
Dr. Clarke, who is also an educator, made the disclosure while appearing on a virtual panel discussion-via Zoom technology- organized by the opposition St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party held on Friday 9th July under the theme ‘Living Under A COVID State of Emergency (The Right Direction).’
The other guests panelists were medical doctor and SKNLP Chairman Dr. Terrance Drew; educator and social and political commentator Glenroy Blanchette as well as social and political commentator Dwyer Astaphan who is a former SKNLP government minister.
Dr. Clarke has also shared her opinion about the government’s weekly Leadership Matters programme aired Tuesdays on ZIZ.
“I have always had a problem with the use of Leadership Matters to communicate official information. It is not right so that’s a huge communication flaw here, and we accept it here in St.Kitts and Nevis,” she stated.
Dr. Drew pointed out that the government has communications issues.
He recalled that the first type of briefing that took place regularly on COVID-19 in 2020 involved himself and other doctors including Dr. Patrick Martin, Dr. Caroline Lawrence and Dr. Dwain Archibald.
“And in those settings we asked that the government really look at communicating with the people on a regular basis and the NEOC [National Emergency Operations Centre] came in after and so I’m happy that they took the advice with respect to that. However, based on how it was constituted, they had issues with communication from the beginning even up to now that they have been communicating sometimes information that is false. [And also for example] where the Prime Minister and the Attorney General would have been seen in total contradiction to what the Minister of Tourism and Minister of Port Authority Lindsay Grant was saying with respect to forced vaccination and so forth.”
He added: “We have seen where you are told one thing and then the Prime Minister try to say he did not say that. The Prime Minister was the one who said to companies to insist that their workers  take the vaccine and then he tried to backtrack it by saying he did not say that but luckily enough we had the tapes and both tapes were circulated and the Prime Minister was caught in a lie…”
The Opposition Senator accused the government of politicising the management of COVID-19.
According to her: “The politicisation of the management of COVID-19 in 2020 has been a big part of the electoral results from last year June, and it’s quite unfortunate. We realize that every strategy was used not to protect us [and] to ensure that we didn’t have community spread but rather to push the government’s agenda, and that agenda was getting back into government,  and I say now because we know that the SKNLP was polling and leading, and it is their (the government) wicked management  of COVID-19 then, the politicisation  of the management which resulted in where we are now  and now everybody has now realized that this is the case because of their hesitancy when they were supposed to be proactive and simply close the borders or simply put us into 24-lockdown or go into Cabinet and do the State Of Emergency in March… but they delayed, and did they delay because they had their own agenda.” 
Dr. Drew talked about the government’s refusal to involve the opposition and members of the opposition in the management of the pandemic. He also mentioned the government’s condemning his rapid test kit donation to the Ministry of Health and personal bashing.