September is a special month for the nation of St Kitts and Nevis, both at home and abroad, as residents and citizens around the world, celebrate National Heroes day on the 16th and Independence Day on the 19th. It’s an occasion that marks the history and achievements of the nation through state recognition, as well as by commemorating individuals who have contributed to the nation’s development by, in the words of the country’s motto, putting “Country above Self”.
This year September was a special month for WMG too. We were privileged to play an active part in showcasing these special events on behalf of Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris. With communications at the heart of key messaging, in the written form, through images and video, everyone across the Federation, along with Kittitians and Nevisians abroad, were able to feel inspired and uplifted. They shared and took part in a number of events, speeches, parades, dinners, church services, presentations by students, community and hospital visits that demonstrated the Prime Minister’s genuine commitment towards nation building where everyone has a stake in and benefits from, its growth and development.
We started on the 9th when we visited, McKinght’s Community Centre where local residents took part in “Discussions for Prosperity”. The event was attended by the Prime Minister, the Premier of Nevis the Honourable Vance Amory, the Honourable Ian Liburd and was chaired by His Excellency Ambassador Jonel Powell. It was live streamed enabling both attendees the opportunity to ask questions, as well people who could not attend but watched the event online and on television. They made their contributions by calling in.
On the 12th we announced the appointment of Les Khan as the new CEO of the Citizen Investment Unit at their conference “St Kitts & Nevis Redefining Global Citizenship, Leading the Way Again!” Developers, service providers and agents were able to hear about the reforms which the CEO had initiated and heard how, under his leadership, the Citizenship by Investment Programme would be of a platinum standard. The Prime Minister’s opening address can be seen here: PM’s address to the CIU conference
That evening, across the water in Nevis, we attended the Inaugural Independence Day Lecture presented by Larry Quinlan, CIO with Deloitte, who highlighted both the benefits and risks of social media.
Later on that week students from a range of schools attended the Nevis Preforming Arts Centre and took part in conversations about independence including asking perceptive questions about the state of the nation. The event gave young people, who would not normally have the chance, the opportunity for their voice to be heard by the PM, the Premier and other key influencers and decision makers.
The celebration of National Heroes Day took place at the specially designated National Heroes Park. We paid a visit there the day before to see how the final preparations were going and colleague Rondon Carr took the opportunity to capture the PM’s invitation to the nation to attend the ceremony. PM’s invitation to National Heroes Day ceremony
The highlight of the month’s celebrations was the spectacular Independence Day parade at Warner Cricket Ground. Once the PM had undertaken his inspection, the uniformed services for national security such as the police and armed forces paraded with the very young members of the scouts group against a backdrop of compelling foot tapping marching music.
After the ceremony we visited the JNF Hospital and very movingly saw the dedication and hard work of nurses and doctors there. Although there were no Independence Day babies, the PM revealed his softer side as he took the opportunity to meet some new born babies.
The month concluded appropriately with the National Consultation on the Economy at which stakeholders from across a range of organisations were able to actively consult and participate in discussions on the priorities for the next budget. It really was an example of participatory government at its best.
Political communications is more than ensuring your message is received loudly and clearly. In an era of citizen journalism, it’s about enabling society to participate in democracy well after polling day, helping their elected leaders to deliver the promise of yesterday, as well as to meet the emerging needs of the future, in a dynamic and responsive way.
Bringing your website to life through the use of YouTube video enables prospective customers to have a multi-sensory experience of what your services and products can do for them. This visualization captures their emotions, thoughts and engages with them more readily than printed material does.
When looking at user stats for YouTube, we can see that visual is clearly a channel of choice. Quoted figures indicate 4,950,000,000 videos viewed every day, with an average number of YouTube video views on mobile per day at 1,000,000,000.
The content needs to be engaging, relevant to the targeted audience and should speak to them in a way that makes them feel as if they are part of the story. Aligning yourself with another strong brand that supports how your services work can assist in building your credibility and reputation.
As with all marketing collateral, time should be taken in planning the content, storyboarding, undertaking pre-location checks and of course for outside shots, getting a weather forecast! Wessex Media Group were able to do all of this for Paris Smith who wanted a video showcase piece for their Planning Services. By using the example of The Ageas Bowl, the home of Hampshire County Cricket, Paris Smith were able to demonstrate the close partnerships they develop with their clients, leading to the achievement of their business goals as seamlessly as possible.
Meral Akinci, First Lady of Northern Cyprus, was visionary when she established the women’s charity KAYAD. The charity supports women dealing with domestic abuse and also provides them with essential skills. Thanks to funding from the European Union, project leader Mine Atli was able to put in place essential training for those public agencies that come into contact with domestic abuse victims and survivors.
Mine Atli, Meral Akinci & Lena Samuels
The police received a two day course which helped them appreciate the rights of women not to live in an environment of fear and violence. They were able to see the difference they can make in changing perpetrator behaviour and in protecting vulnerable victims.
Police delegates receive their course certificates.
Following on from this, health workers to include psychiatrists, G.P’s, nurse and ambulance workers, received training where common principles of handling cases of domestic abuse were covered with the specific emphasis on knowing how to spot signs, as well as how to develop support.
The training programme was completed with training for lawyers which explored the reasons why women stay in abusive relationships, how to develop safety plans and delivering the best possible justice.
Lawyers taking part in the course.
Some of the cases provided during the three courses were harrowing and challenging, providing delegates with the opportunity to explore attitudes, beliefs and the cultural challenges that prevent these key services from meeting the needs of victims. Delegates left committed to protecting women from ongoing and further harm and each public service could see how they could make changes to improve the service they give to women.
Political and police communications requires strategic horizon scanning and an astute sense of the mood of the public, in order to build reputations, but also to divert and manage crises.
Wessex Media Group (WMG) has been using some of these skills to support the Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr Timothy Harris and the government of St Kitts, as well as The Royal St Kitts and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) in their drive to reduce crime and increase public confidence.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr Timothy Harris in his address to the nation.
WMG has developed the Communications Strategy for the RSCNPF, as well as a set of Media Guidelines which enables the police to engage more effectively with the public in partnership with media partners. Work with the government, and the police, has established the important role that the media plays in supporting cultural change and in creating inspiring, and aspiring behaviours, as opposed to undertaking destructive crime.
The media can also either support effective crime detection, or inadvertently undermine it by revealing information that harms an investigation. This is why it is essential to have a protocol and code of ethics that guides how both the police and the media can effectively work together. The UK knows this only too well following the case of Milly Dowler.
When it comes to political communications, there is a tension between keeping the public informed and preventing a perception that the announcement of good news is simply a cynical measure undertaken in order to achieve re-election. Authenticity and objectivity therefore are key.
WMG has extensive experience of community engagement in the UK with hard to reach communities. They have been able to achieve high intervention rates, and this experience has helped them to shape the PM’s speeches with the focus on community at its heart. The key messages align with his real desire to create a more harmonious nation. Connecting in a meaningful way with all stakeholders in the communities we serve, provides the bedrock for behavioural change and communications is at the heart of this. It needs to be sustained and it needs to be consistent.
Formal course opening with the Honourable Minister Castico
With the support of UNICEF and on behalf of CORAM Children’s Services, Wessex Media Group (WMG) with Bramshill Policing Advisers (BPA) delivered a two week child protection and gender based violence workshop. The delegates comprised the police, representatives from the criminal justice system, Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA), Save the Children and Action Aid.
The course was officially opened by the Honourable Minister Castico, Ministry of Labour Empowerment, Elders, Youth, Women and Children supported by the Deputy Commissioner of Police for Zanzibar, and a representative from UNICEF.
Lena Samuels in conversation with dignitaries
The workshop focused on taking a child and women focused approach, putting them at the heart of every investigation in order to protect and uphold their human rights and to ensure that the highest principles of justice were met. Topics included identifying child abuse, exploring conflicts between the law and harmful traditional practices including FGM, child marriage and gender based violence. The delegates had challenging discussions and enjoyed undertaking the role play in discovering how to protect the crime scene as well as undertaking interviews of vulnerable children and witnesses.
Honourable Minister Castico was so committed to developing positive outcomes that she took time out of her schedule to visit and observe the workshop. The timing was perfect. At that point Steve France-Sargeant of BPA was highlighting the tragic case of Victoria Climbie as an example of wide scale systematic breakdown resulting in the failure to protect the life of a child when there were many opportunities to do so.
Steve said “There’s always a danger that everyone thinks that someone else is doing what they should do to protect a child and that therefore one’s duty is discharged. We see from Victoria’s case the devastating consequences this had for her life. We should never assume but always confirm and not take on face value what we are being told.”
The Minister was visibly moved. She heard from delegates the frustration they experience in progressing cases of gender based violence through the criminal justice system. She spoke about how she will take these matters forward and in fact later that week raised the matter with the House of Representatives. You can read more about this The Daily News
The course had a formal dignitary closure with a representative from UNICEF in attendance. Delegates were presented with certificates and left inspired and motivated to make a difference.