The Government of Montserrat has engaged a communication specialist to lead on the “strategic convergence of the Government Information Unit (GIU) and the Broadcasting Services (ZJB) into a single operating entity.”
According to a GIU release Change Manager, Reudon Eversley arrived on Tuesday October 10 to undertake this organisational development exercise for an initial period of three months.
The government has been searching for a consultant for some time to lead its plan to merge the two entities. ZJB Radio Montserrat has been operating as a community radio station since 1952. Its operations were turned over to the government in 1957. While it is fully funded by the government, its role has been to present the views of all, including the Opposition. The station has come under pressure over the past few years to better manage the airing of the voices of dissenting opinions on shows such as What’s on Your Mind which was taken off the air earlier in 2023.
The GIU provides oversight for ZJB, and both sit under the Office of the Premier. They share resources such as the production studios and offices in Davy Hill and staffing to deliver information services for government ministries and departments. However, the GIU is woefully understaffed which limits the amount of government information which is delivered to the public for proper education and transparency.
Eversley is expected to offer recommendations on the best “approaches for developing a cohesive structure inclusive of resource requirements for the entity to operate more efficiently. Additionally, he will support the development and implementation of media policy documents in line with international best practice,” the release stated.
The consultant is also expected to meet with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, non-governmental organisations, the media, civil society, and members of the public to help inform a common vision for information and broadcasting services in Montserrat. Stakeholder meetings will be organised to facilitate the consultations.
The release noted that the consultant who is based in Barbados “has both the academic background and practical experience in media and communication change management. His core competencies span the areas of media and journalism, strategic management, and political management. Additionally, his professional experience includes media and communication consultancy roles for the Governments of St. Lucia and the Cayman Islands, and he has served as the Director of News and Current Affairs for the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and the Caribbean News Agency (CANA).