The OBA’s communication strategy is not inclusive


Premier Michael Dunkley shared a video on his facebook page regarding the airport titled “The Best Option”.  It is a good opportunity to highlight what I suggested in an earlier post that the OBA doesn’t do enough to involve people in the decision making process.

They must focus on educating people on the choices not their solution. Only then can they guide people on why their choice is the right one. The people need to understand why the OBAs choice is the best one, not be told that it is.

The video is a good attempt, but it glosses over the options and doesn’t explain the implications in layman’s terms.

Let’s start by assuming you can make it past the 20 second intro.  Then lets look at how the video is framed. In that vein, what is the context and overarching theme of the video?

Is it:

A. Here are the options we have to choose from.  Here is why each option is good, bad and the implications.  This is why we believe option X is the right choice


B. We’ve figured out the best option and here it is. The other options are bad because of �ßÆ.

Would you say the video takes an approach of A or B?  I personally see it as B and it frames the whole discussion that the decision has already been made.  The problem with such framing it that it lends itself to the view that the OBA can be pedantic and condescending. I recognize it as I can be guilty of the same.  The problem the OBA runs into is that this kind of framing isn’t inclusive and thus people tune out.

It takes until 9:36 into the video before the options are presented and sadly glossed over.

Ok, from a layman’s perspective I’m not clear with any of these why these options are bad. Why is it too expensive? Why can’t we borrow money? Why do we need to control cost and put up guarantees? What in the hell is a bilateral approach and what does quality beef have to do with anything?

“The first three options have huge risks.  Bermuda would have to increase the national debt and or guarantee the finances.  Bermuda’s credit worthiness could be impaired leading to a possible downgrade increasing the cost of paying the debt.  Bermuda would bear the risk of cost overruns and paying to fix any quality issues. It would delay the timeline which has happened frequently with past projects.

To a layman I suspect the above makes about as much sense as �ßÆ. What does it mean in plain english for someone who doesn’t think twice about running up high interest credit card debt?  Why does it matter if our debt and interest goes higher? What should I care about credit worthiness or a downgrade?  More importantly: how will any of this impact me, the average Bermudian?

Finally, what about the key point repeated over and over by the opposition that the project wasn’t put out to tender.  That isn’t explained anywhere.

The elements are there but the framing is backwards. It could do more to explain the good and bad of the options and the merits of each. By not doing so it makes people skeptical of why only the bad is pointed out. It could make the people feel involved in the decision making process. Telling people what the best choice is rather than helping them conclude it for themselves is nowhere as effective. The OBA’s approach could certainly be more inclusive.