Johnny in Westend cast of Hamilton!

Johnathon Bishop

Several years ago FirstCitizensSportsFoundation selected Demming Communications to coordinate their Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  Karen Da Silva and I collaborated and dreamed up the idea of a young singing MC as opposed to the traditional announcer type.

It took some doing to convince the client but we did and found Jonathan Bishop who must have been about 10/11 years old at the time and overflowing with talent.  He sang, danced and engaged a Hall of more than 300 persons, the youngest of whom must have been at least twice his age.

He gave us a “Cabaret type/Michael Jackson ish” evening of entertainment while still managing to call out the names of the inductees.

Soon after that experience and him being cast in the late Geraldine Connor’s “Carnival Messiah”, his mother moved to London with him because she believed that her son had no future in the land of his birth.  She and Jonathan had a big dream and did what was necessary to achieve that dream.

Several years later, homeboy, Jonathan Johnny BISHOP, Dancer, Singer, Songwriter, Artist, Actor will soon be in the Westend cast of Hamilton – the Musical.  This is big!

His post on Instagram reads: “bishoptheartistAhhh so grateful 🙏thank you Jesus #hamiltonmusical #emsemble thanks Ben @boxartistmanagement

One of his followers Miniwillets commented: “Your talent is limitless and you truly are a star. The West End and Broadway Need to know who you are! Its time! This is just the beginning. I couldn’t be more happier for you Bishop! Xx”

Another example of the enormous talent springing from Trinidad and Tobago. Whether in the Arts/Academia/Science/Sports our country has enormous talent which is being recognized elsewhere but not at home.

Help me to be patient!

Moving on!

During the month of May, I mourned the death by assassination of Dana Seetahal.  I remember her as embodying the spirit and best example of a patriotic T&T citizen.  I remember Tribute to Danaher struggling to finish the Marathon.  I remember her gentle yet ferocious spirit.  I remember her relentless struggle for justice and I am still asking, “Where is the justice now for her?  What is the status of the case in the Criminal court?  Will the persons responsible for this heinous act ever be discovered?

Our nation is in a deep, dark hole where the judiciary is in chaos, the party in power is blatantly supporting misbehaviour in public office and the opposition, though known to be significantly less than suitable is looking like an attractive alternative.  But then we are not quite at mid-term in this political cycle and there is still time for a breath of fresh air to emerge.  I look to the horizon in the hope that enough young people will take their place in this county of their birth and wrest power from my generation who have made their fair share of imperfect decisions.

For now, I move on from Dana hoping for justice.  RIP!

 

Jammin de Culture …

Dear 3Canal

jamming-de-culture-montageYou caused me PAIN this carnival.  Pain for the arts, the artistes and my country.  I remembered John, Astor, Beryl, Saldenah, Mc Williams and several other names of artistes of my youthful days.

Our politics and political system continue to “mash up” the place.  Every new administration throws out the institutions of the former because if we are red we can’t embrace the good things of the yellow and if we are yellow, we just can’t see red.

In spite of the chaos and backwardness of our leaders, 3Canal has survived in the space and you continue to thrive.  Congratulations on your 20 years and “blue up the place to cut this blight”.

Some Naked Truths about Tourism

We continue to tip toe around the problem with our tourism product rather than confront the fundamental issues.  Here are some facts:

  1. As long as the THA continues to be the major employer in Tobago, productivity and customer service WILL not improve.  “ah we boys” have no reason to change their behaviours.
  2. Until we stop the “double dipping” by the THA in the pot to advertise the destination and parade at travel markets etc. we will continue to have no advertising presence in any outlets.
  3. Unless we invest in supporting the dive shops we will continue to lose market share in the diving business.
  4. Unless we level the playing field and ensure that all potential investors in the tourism market are treated equally there will be no expansion of the industry.

There are few quick wins in this market.  What is required is openness, transparency and some tough action to communicate to our people that Tourism is a real mechanism for diversification.

This Yvonne Baboolal article in the Trinidad Guardian speaks some truths which the Prime Minister and his Ministers need to hear.

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Do It … Fix Crime

Facebook has been angrily buzzing with commentary about the crime situation and the rampant murders throughout the country.  There is also commentary about citizen action suggesting that we should not cower and hide in a corner.  Fixing crime is a multi-dimensional, multi-layered challenge and we all have our part to play.

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May 2007 – Inspection of the MILAT/MYPAT Academy .. The late Senator Martin Joseph is seen with current MP Fitzgeral Hinds and current Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon! 

 

Our current Prime Minister was part of the PNM administration which allowed SAUTT to be established without the necessary legislative framework to legitimise its operations.  This same gentleman, I am certain, is very aware of the plans drafted under the leadership of the late, former MP, Senator and Minister of National Security, Martin Joseph. I am sure he is aware of the key players and the fact that they are not being utilised at the moment.  He alone knows why he has not taken the action necessary to begin the recovery process.
The only approach to reducing crime is a long term, multi-sector approach. It is not only about police or the death penalty. We need short, medium and long term plans, and a vision which can best be lead by the Government, but only in proper consultation with organizations which are in positions to understand the genesis of criminal activity.  At the moment, however, our foundations and our non profits are too small and underfunded, and because of the economic downturn, our private sector is not positioned to produce jobs, so how can anyone imagine that this inappropriate combination will produce a solution to crime?
While we tackle the long term solutions, there are some quick-win solutions which might make citizens feel more confident that the Prime Minister who applied for, was screened, interviewed and selected, is in fact doing the job.
Here are three things the Government can do:

  1. Either confirm or fire the Acting Chief of Police. If the latter, we must put a capable person to replace him as Chief.
  2. Provide a status update on the following:
    * the Dana Seetahal murder,
    * the case regarding the cocaine in the juice and
    * the case of the doctor who removed cocaine from a patient’s stomach.
  3. Ensure that charges are laid against public officials who have participated in the inappropriate spending of public money.

As recently as December 16, the Express reported that the Prime Minister said the following in part:
“Some criminals believed they were winning the fight and this could not prevail. Instead, the vast majority of citizens must feel safer and it is the results of police work that could be felt that was important”.
Two months later we are staring down the abyss of an absolutely chaotic situation.  The report continued to quote the Prime Minister as saying that “certain types of crimes sparked the expectation that there would be accountability.  But there is no swift justice in T&T, he said, saying he himself doesn’t feel that there is. This goes beyond the work of the police”.  The words of the Prime Minister emoted weakness; and in the tone of an observer rather than of someone in charge.
This is a quote from the 2015 Manifesto:
“The PNM will simultaneously reform, upgrade, modernise and transform our Police Service and utilise the strength of partnerships through an inter-agency approach.  The new approach to fighting crime will focus on Regional Corporations and Municipalities. This will facilitate the establishment and operationalisation of Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs)”
On the hustings, the current Minister of National Security told us about a “security architecture” and the need to “flank” the country.  We need an update on this.  We need to know about the “architecture” and the “flanking”.  Citizens are ready to support and play our part but we need leadership.
We believed the then Leader of the Opposition when he said:  “In summary, we in the PNM envision a society where integrity and morality in public life is of the highest priority and the Government serves the public good above all else, and where decisions are made and actions taken by the Government in the best interest of all concerned”.
Sir, I WANT your actions!

Columnist Lennox Grant misquotes TEDxPOS!

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-09-32-51Dear Lennox Grant
As curators of the TEDx community in Trinidad and Tobago, we just don’t get your 4 references to TEDx in your recent article titled “Superhero PM rallies year-two apprentices” which appeared in the Sunday Express of January 8, 2017.  We are indeed surprised that a seasoned journalist of your standing would be so loose in your references.
You referenced TEDx 4 times. So, we are responding by giving you 4 reasons why you were dead wrong in making those references.

  1. Firstly, TEDx Talks are delivered in 18 minutes or less and the Prime Minister failed on that score. Additionally, we ask speakers to imagine that the TEDx Talk is the last talk they would ever give. Now surely our Prime Minister’s would have done a lot better than that.

  2. Secondly, TEDx Talks are about “ideas worth spreading”. The speaker is tasked with building an idea in the mind of the audience. Did the Prime Minister do that? The jury is still out. Chris Anderson, curator of TED, suggests that you ask yourself, Who does this idea benefit? If you are honest with the answer and the conclusion is that it benefits you or your organization then it is not a TED or TEDx Talk.

  3. Thirdly, the global organization TED is apolitical and license holders are required to ensure that their talks remain apolitical. You are clearly trying for a tenuous link to TEDx which just does not exist.

  4. Fourthly, TEDx Talks are curated, vetted and rehearsed for delivery and impact. The news conference you referred to was more of the same on the national agenda.

Ideas that make it to a TEDx stage do need to be new ideas, but they do need to have the potential to change our perspective or outlook on the world. For many people TEDxPortofSpain allows them to reset for the year. It gives them inspiration to continue on, to recharge or reset.

As part of our commitment to ideas worth spreading, we publicly offer you a scholarship – a free ticket, to attend the 2017 edition of TEDxPortofSpain which is tentatively scheduled for October 7th, 2017.

Yours in the spirit of “ideas worth spreading”

Dennise Demming
TEDxPOS co licensee

PR 101 Needed!

Today … these 2 advertisements caused me great pain. When a company resorts to inserting 2 full page advertisements to tell its story it is an admission that they have screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-10-48-59lost their way and are now being run by persons who need Public Relations/Corporate Communication 101.

I am further pained because I cut my “PR Teeth” at Texaco which is one of Petrotin’s predecessor companies.
With the Trintoc merger I then met a slew of local professionals steeped in the Shell philosophy of excellence.  How could such a rich history of professionals be diluted to this current reaction?

For the benefit of the PR Staff at Petrotrin, here are a few differences between Advertising and PR.

 

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  1. You can purchase an ad and be in control of how and when it will appear or you can engage the media so that they want to carry your side of the story.  Please note, your opponents in this case are using traditional media to their full advantage where all their nuances are being covered in various media.
  2. If John Public reads your advertisement, they know you’re trying to sell your story and is sceptical about your message.  On the other hand when someone reads a third-party article or views coverage on TV, they view it differently and are likely to pay some attention to your message.  In this case, after reading your advertisement, I asked myself how many persons in management can safely operate the refinery for an extended period?
  3. In advertising, you can be creative with your design and layout in the hope of catching attention while PR requires an intuition to pique  interest or create a buzz. In this case, social media is available and can tell the company’s story effectively.
  4. An advertisement can be used several times while in PR, the story is likely to be used once, unless you can refresh the angle.  Having decided to place an advertisement, you could have used an infographic because a text laden advertisement as in this case is guaranteed to bomb.

These 2 ads have Board, Lawyer and Politician stamped all over and simply represent the inexperience, disrespect and lack of understanding of governance structures which is rampant in our state corporations.  This situation is critical to our country and will not be resolved by a media war.  The key players need to communicate with each other and come to the public with a solution.  When I talk about the need for inspired leadership, this is an opportunity for us to experience a real leader talking action and changing the game.