BUVO, a call to reorganize and revive the government’s central information bureau

MinPres announced great savings a few days ago. Our new government finally let the costly PR agency of the former government go. Good move, it’s a helpful start, every cent counts, but it is small change in the bigger scheme of things, and that alleviated financial burden alone, will not save us.

But anyway, the subject of my column today is information. And my suggestion is to bring back a central authority, disseminating official information, instead of every government agency hiring its own fancy, expensive mouthpiece, spewing out countless bulletins and videos.

Have some respect for your audience, and please don’t feed us crap every day, all day.

Flash-back: BUVO used to be the government’s spokesperson. It is today relegated to exile in Barcadera with an administrator and a coffee-maker. No cameras, no talent, no action.

All talent dispersed. Some went to other unrelated government agencies, some sit at home, waiting for a fresh assignment: Elnathan Hijmering. Some were let go: Ingmar Maduro. Some were shamed: Marco Espinoza.

A lesson in history: The MEP government started the trend a decade ago, hiring its own spin-doctors, then AVP took it to the extreme where everything became a PR opportunity and we were fed a steady diet of carefully canned and stylized news, Remember? Mike flicks a light switch, Mike rides a garbage truck! The news lost all credibility, every item generated was politically slanted and self-serving.

In walks the new government, and I am hopeful.

Then in December I started getting press releases by the MinJust distributed by a social media specialist and I sighed. Nothing changed. The steady diet of carefully canned and stylized news continued.

A few days into that misery, the sender’s name changed to reflect Fraccion POR in parliament. The name has changed but the phenomenon remains, every single government department now employs outside contractors in charge of disseminating their information. And some are louder and more repetitive than others.

Have some respect for your audience, and please don’t feed us crap every day, all day.

Get a group of good, young professionals together, equip them with decent technology, and you’re ready to rumba. Create a new BUVO, with real talent, it is available on the island, and share the cost.  Don’t bother to fire anyone, if you are simply going to replace them by other similar operators.

Enough with the incessant smoke in our eyes. Just keep us informed, we want honest, straight forward information.

I know, I know, wishful thinking.

And by the way, I understand the government has a FREE, 30-minute broadcasting privilege built-in the TV station’s legal permit, so you don’t even have to pay TeleAruba for the stuff you air. I find savings everywhere.


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February 08, 2018
Rona Coster