Communication breakdown

Deep into the age of the internet and social media it is appalling to read this regarding the trash issues yesterday:

Asked if the ministry would be able to inform the public about delays in trash collection more quickly, Mr Cannonier said the nature of the mechanical problems often made it difficult.

We have access to cheap abundant communications technology like twitter, facebook, websites, cellphones and yet the government still doesn’t seem to have a handle on it.  If we had no budget dedicated to communications this might make sense, so maybe we should check that.

Oh, ok then, it seems we only spent just over $6 million on IT, $2.4 million on “Communication” and $1 million on “E-Government”.  For $9.4 million dollars you certainly couldn’t expect that there’d be any resources for someone to post a tweet now would you?   Of course not.

The really sad reality is that this writer tried to explain social media to our government and opposition back in 2006.  The lack of movement was actually the catalyst for this blog.  Then e-commerce minister Michael Scott was wholly supportive of the ideas presented and eager to see them spread through government.  However a meeting with the top civil servants in the Telecommunications and E-commerce ministry resulted in proclamations that they were already working on pretty much every idea presented and no help was required, thanks.

A similar presentation was done to most of the UBP of the day outlining how blogs work as well as evangelizing social media.  While people liked the ideas, no one took any of it on, including then shadow for communications Jahmal Simmons.  Later in a meeting with Michael Dunkley, who has now become Premier, attempts were made to convince him the value of social media and how one can reach the people with it.  He was adamant at the time that face to face was the only viable means of communication. “Elections are won on the doorstep” he said, not too long before he lost his seat in parliament when he challenged Patricia Minors.

Thankfully Premier Dunkley has since embraced facebook, twitter and other social media as have many other members of parliament and island leaders.  The question remains however, why can’t they use it to tell us our trash won’t be picked up, and better yet, why?