Letter

Years ago, one of my mentors advised me that as a then-public relations professional, I could not separate my private life from my public persona, so I had to be on my guard at all times.

There is timeless value in this advice, and it is even more important as we live our lives under the microscope of social media in a deeply divided small state.

The recent post by the head of corporate communications at taxpayer-owned Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) was unfortunate and unnecessary. Professionals know actions on Facebook often end up in traditional media, so they must be wary of what is intended for public consumption.

Even as it is reported that Miss Ligoure said “it will be unpretty when I start to pelt out facts and quote some of yuh high ranking officials”, she is reminded that the approximately 350,000 taxpayers who contribute to her salary voted for the United National Congress, and like the People’s National Movement supporters, there is an expectation of neutrality.

This expectation of political neutrality for public servants and persons employed in publicly-funded organisations is a long-standing tradition.

In one action, Dionne Ligoure has brought attention to a deep flaw in our political system, which is the reality that some people believe when their party is in charge, they can do anything without consequences.

We have become accus­tomed to party supporters being appointed to boards, but some of us still hope executives and employees find their way into State corporations based on merit, and that they keep their jobs based on performance.

The reality, though, is that the long arms of politics reach into the bowels of organisations, resulting in some employees feeling the need to spout their partisan support for the world to know.

Had this exact situation occurred in the private sector, I assure you she would have had to explain herself to her supervisor, as Amy Cooper, former employee of US firm Franklin Templeton has found out, though not for political reasons.

Spouting your political views on your personal page is neither a smart nor strategic move. Bosses and others take note, and wait for the opportunity to use your statements against you. They apply labels which are hard, if not impossible, to remove.

They may even actively prevent you from benefiting from certain opportunities. Carrying the title “head of corporate communications” has tremendous responsibility. The incumbent plays a key role in shaping the perception of the company in the minds of shareholders, employees, customers and the general public.

The reporting relationship is often to the chief executive officer and the board of directors. The communications professional is expected to help the company craft key messages and keep on the cutting edge of communications.

These are not responsi­bilities to be taken lightly. They are responsible for building customer loyalty, growing brand awareness and engaging stakeholders at different levels.

In one rant on social media, Dionne Ligoure has diminished her role and reputation amongst a large section of the population. She will be labelled as being anti-UNC with an agenda to use information which she probably got because of her formal role to throw shade or even cause reputational damage to unsuspecting citizens.

Communications professionals develop trusting relationships with their stakeholders to foster mutual understanding. To act otherwise is to destroy countless years of hard work by persons who have gone before. We must do better.

Dennise Demming

Diego Martin

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

As expected, the Government has responded to the ­explosion in Covid-19 infections and deaths by imposing a state of emergency with a 9 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew effective from midnight last night.

DR ROSHAN Parasram, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), and Dr Avery Hinds, Technical Director—Epidemiology, are trusted persons. I have said so more than once. It is from the facts, truth and science which they respectively deliver that I may raise issues about the Government’s management of the pandemic.

AS THE spike in Covid-related infections and deaths rocketed almost exponentially over the past three weeks or so, leaving many citizens stunned, people who sought guidance and leadership from politicians were assaulted with a cacophony of discordant notes that sounded like the praying of a pack of ancient jackasses.

LAST WEEK, I wrote of “our nation being undone” and the sense of “terminality” now hovering over Trinidad and Tobago. We were heading there before Covid which is hastening our demise. The Government irresponsibly dropped the ball with the pandemic, now spreading like wildfire.

THE SITUATION in our country is dire. What we had feared most during this pandemic, and had viewed as occurring in other countries, is happening in our beloved Trinidad and Tobago.

“We need to solve our problems without causing a civil war that can be a danger to our existence.”

—President Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel

In 1963, Martin Luther King was imprisoned in a Birmingham jail for leading a non-violent demonstration against American segregation.

As he sat in that jail, he responded to the concerns of eight white religious leaders who condemned his participation in that struggle for justice.