Government’s performance with regards to informing the public of the status of the causeway has been downright abysmal for Tropical Storm / Hurricane Bertha and has earned it a failure rating in the eyes of this blogger.
- No advance notice was given prior to the closure of the causeway.
- An update made at 10:20am on the Gov.bm web site suggested that the causeway was unlikely to close, followed by an update at 12:45pm that the causeway was remaining open.
- No further update was made on the Gov.bm site despite the causeway actually being closed at 4:45pm.
- No updates of the causeway status were provided by the Bermuda Weather Service’s web site.
- The Royal Gazette, typically a reliable source of updates, had none with regards to the causeway. If this is been a product of the Government’s boycott against the RG than it is terribly sinister of our leadership to put their own personal vendettas ahead of the safety of our people.
- The Bermuda Sun was the only reliable source of information, even though it was sporadic at best due to the lack of uniformity of the various government sources, some who said it was closing, others who said it was not.
Supposedly the only frequently informed public relations outlet has been the radio stations which, if you’re stuck in an office without access to a radio, is absolutely useless. Government’s FM 100.1 Emergency Broadcast Service is not streamed online, though it certainly should be and links to Hott 107.5’s feed don’t appear to work.
This situation is absolutely pitiful and serves as a very poor reflection on the performance of government. Their lack of preparedness, lack of foresight and failure to preemptively announce a closure based upon weather forecasts suggests gross incompetence and presents a dire view of the risks we shall likely face should a more dangerous storm approach in the future.
While I’ve focused on what hasn’t been done, I note that I haven’t made any suggestions on how things could be improved for next time. So here are some suggestions:
- If the government is contemplating whether they will shut down the causeway it would be helpful to send out a notice of such. For example, there were posts today on the Bermuda Sun around 3pm that suggested government was meeting to determine whether they’d close the causeway. It would have been helpful if the government, at 3pm, had sent out a notice that they would be meeting to consider closing the causeway and that it is recommended that those from the East End who could be stranded should make their way there in case.
- Government could and should post updates to their website far more regularly. A twitter feed would be excellent for quick updates as a full press release each time is complete overkill.
- Government could offer an RSS feed on their website for news and press releases to make it easier to stay informed
- Government could establish a list of contacts including radio, papers, as well as blogs and send out updates to that contact list so they can have as many places updated with information as possible
- Government could make consistent releases to all departments so that there aren’t the consistencies of one saying different from another when you call.
- An initiative undertaken by a previous consultant to the Ministry of E-commerce should be followed through with: that being to establish an emergency RSS feed that bloggers and Bermuda based websites can host that can be used in times of emergency for updates. This way the government can get the msg out quickly.
I’ll post more if I think of them. Feel welcome to post your own suggestions, especially if you’re frustrated after having gotten stranded on the wrong side of the island.