Last week we told you about the unwelcome change in the police –media relations. The media has been doing just fine with the existing arrangement – where the commanders for various formations freely gave us interviews on crimes in their area. But under the new arrangement - they won't be able to speak with us at all anymore, the media will have to forward all questions to public relations officer Raphael Martinez. That unilateral decision unleashed a storm of protest from the media and a letter of protest.
And that led to a meeting and luncheon today between the police and the ministry top brass and the media at Old Belize. The idea was to hammer out a workable arrangement which will not fetter the free flow of information. Minister of State Elodio Aragon discussed it:…
Hon. Elodio Aragon - Minister of State, Home Affairs
"Today we call this meeting, I think we have a reunion with the members of the media, this is just to streamline the way police information is passed on to the media in regards to information that is needed by them for their newscast. Today I think we had a good sit-down with the media and their personalities along with the police commanders from Belize City and of course personnel who work in the media office of the police department. This was in an effort to ensure we streamline how information is passed on from the police department to the media and vice versa. I think it was a very productive meeting and I think at the end of the day all our media personalities understand, media houses understand what we are trying to do to look at the way forward in ensuring that we have a good working relationship because at the end of the day the media is our partner and we want them to understand how important, how much we value them as a part of society we live and we want to continue to have that good working relationship with the media."
At the end of the 90-minute session, a compromise was worked out where the Police Press Office, with added staff will provide information on a timely basis, and permit formation commanders to speak after they get the OK from the Commissioner. It's a little convoluted, but the system will be reviewed at a meeting in six weeks' time to see if it is working.