(CMR) Premier Juliana O'Connor-Connolly has promised to look at the budget to see how to better fund Radio Cayman and Government Information Service, the government's news outlets. The comment was made during her first of two media appearances exclusively on Radio Cayman since taking over the premiership of the country.
O'Connor-Connolly did not feign any objectivity but instead made it very clear that she would give them more funding, and she had purposely chosen Radio Cayman for her first public appearance because “I don't think there's any other deserving media.”
“I've made it no secret that this is my number 1 choice, Radio Cayman. It is the lifeline in good times and bad times for the Sister Islands,”
She said, adding that she was ecstatic to be in charge of Radio Cayman. Her comments have raised eyebrows for many in the media industry who are well aware that government communications entities have struggled with reaching people and conveying government messages across various platforms. On average, their daily media reach on their YouTube channels is often just a hundred people per video.
Annual media survey results have stated that Radio Cayman and, in particular, the morning talk show, has lost some significant listenership share in recent years.
Despite this independent information, the premier shared that she wants to ensure that the government entities have the necessary infrastructure to compete on a level playing field. She noted that although she would have to convince her colleagues “to support more funds,” she was also the finance minister, “so that adds an added benefit.”
“We have to reach all the people as much as possible…if that means more personnel or more equipment, it's my job and duty to convince my colleague to support more funds,” she said during an interview on Radio Cayman on Monday.
In an interesting twist, Alden McLaughlin once answered a question from Radio Cayman news manager April Cummings, where he affirmed that the media had to figure out how to be competitive and innovate in order to survive. At the time, he was responding to a question on whether or not they would assist the Cayman Compass financially. He noted that:
“Any media that is reliant on government to survive is not really not independent media.”
While she is the Minister of Finance, O'Connor-Connolly said she would not produce a deficit budget, she will keep fiscal responsibility as she does not intend to go to the UK for a temporary budget.