The Summit makes for one hell of an interesting week

The Summit makes for one hell of an interesting week

Politics | Judette Coward-Puglisi

April 14, 2009


Prime Minister Patrick Manning will have many publics to satisfy this week as he plays host to 34 nation states representing the 84 million people that call the Western hemisphere their home. 

That’s a big number and a tall order.

 And it is going to take effective, skilled PR experts to break down the big geo-political messages in a way that makes sense to  the 1.3 million people that  Mr Manning governs.  Several of the vox populi conducted  this weekend by the 3 local dailies  showed a shift in opinion with almost 65 per cent  of those interviewed saying  that Trinidad and Tobago could benefit from the Summit. 

The shift is important since as a public, we  have had an impassioned almost knee-jerk negative reaction to hosting the  global meeting whose total cost and objectives  had  remained undefined. The shift happened only when  the central role of the Summit in improving civil society, creating business opportunities and even raising the living standards began to be properly and less painfully communicated.

There will be many complex messages  from the global meeting and Mr Manning’s  PR team will have to convey the information with the right context and in the right language. This will not be an easy task.  

Already there are spoilers. 

 Hugo Chavez has already  positioned himself as the voice to take on the Cuba issue. Many are betting  that the  Venezuelan President  will perform all kinds of pirouettes to grab the attention of the media and the world. Then there is the man himself, the President of the United States, Barack Obama,  and  the almost God-like reverence that follows the US President  and his wife, Michelle, who  attracts as much attention with her polished image  and her people charm as her husband does. President Lula of Brazil too is known for colourful language and his love of the limelight. His remarks at the G 20 Summit in London  about blond haired, blue-eyed men creating the mess the  world now finds itself in found lots of traction in the international press.

 Despite the big personalities , the Trinidad  Summit represents a real chance for leaders of the Americas to communicate and  engage in substantive discussion in  ways that only face to face interactions can permit.  

There are big issues on the table: the lack of a  special envoy to the Americas, the 11 undocumented workers in the US and their path to legalistion, a cheaper and more environmentally cleaner ethanol for the US  that Brazil, Central America and the Caribbean can help produce, and the impact of the global meltdown on the developing nation states that comprise the Americas. 

This is Mr Manning’s time to shine and our country to put its best foot forward. It will be riveting to see how the Prime Minister distills the messages over the next week and what role the local media plays in communicating and shaping those messages. 

One thing is for sure, this is going to be one hell of an interesting week for PR.


One thought on “The Summit makes for one hell of an interesting week

  1. Well, still G Summits are of great importance. Important issues are discussed, though not always any decisions are taken. I don’t like talks. I like deeds as many people on the planet. In my opinion the most ergent problem nowadays is the climate change. I’ve read a lot about this issue. I’ve found a lot of information that is worth reading on pdf search . It is a pity the biggest polluters refuse to take measures. I believe this should be the main point of any Summit.

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