Chief Minister due to face the media today

THE Chief Minister is today (16 April) due to face questions on the government’s Covid-19 response at his first press conference appearance for two and a half weeks – with his lack of presence being branded a ‘flouting of public duty’.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré (28021482)
Chief Minister John Le Fondré (28021482)

Senator John Le Fondré has been criticised for updating Islanders through a series of pre-recorded videos released on government social-media channels, rather than facing regular press conferences.

The Chief Minister last attended a full press conference, with questions from the media, on 30 March, and the last time Health Minister Richard Renouf appeared at a press conference was more than three weeks ago, on 24 March.

Both were due to appear before the media today, after comments from multiple politicians and members of the public over a lack of public presence from the Island’s leader.

Senator Le Fondré’s appearances before the media are in stark contrast to other jurisdictions, where leaders have been appearing for questioning and scrutiny on a regular basis.

In Guernsey, Chief Minister Gavin St Pier has been appearing alongside the island's director of public health around three times a week and, in the UK, either the Prime Minister or a member of his cabinet is facing questioning at conferences every day.

Senator Kristina Moore wrote to the Chief Minister last week asking for open and regular public briefings, but her letter has gone unanswered.

Making reference to Senator Le Fondré's two-and-a-half-week absence from government press conferences, she said: 'Those figures show a staggering flouting of his duty to engage properly with the public.

'The public are quite rightly expressing their frustration with a lack of information. Someone has said that a lack of information in this way is just fuelling suspicion and it is also fuelling rumours about the situation.

'People go and look for their own information because there aren’t proper opportunities for questions to be asked of the Chief Minister.'

Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Health Minister Richard Renouf are due to appear at the press conference at 3.30pm – available by visiting the government's Twitter page or its Facebook page.

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