Brison praised for approach to communication in crisis

~ St. Lucia Prime Minister calls presentation ‘On Point’ ~

PHILIPSBURG–“On point” was how Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Chairman Allen Chastanet described St. Maarten Tourist Bureau head Rolando Brison’s presentation at the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference in Merida, Mexico, last week.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Tourism on Saturday, Brison was invited to participate in a panel discussion on Best Practices for Crisis Management.
The discussion utilised the vantage points of both cruise executives and destinations, examined best practices for handling natural disasters and crises and providing an all-encompassing plan from preparation to proactive reaction, including housing and relief, evacuations, public relations, and communications with partners to supply resources.
In his initial presentation Brison talked about the importance of communication in crisis management. He highlighted having communication redundancy as one of the things he thinks St. Maarten could improve going forward. “One of the strategies that was employed in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma was ensuring that we are not naïve about the fact that no communication does not mean the media will not get the information that they want,” Brison said.
The three pillars of crisis communication he highlighted were being open, being factual and being realistic. Other cruise executives also chimed in regarding what cruise ships expect from destinations in the immediate aftermath of a crisis. Chastanet stressed that he believed Brison was “on point” and had outlined the correct communication strategy that all islands should roll out in a crisis.
Brison was asked during the question and answer segment of the discussion what he foresaw as the situation post-Hurricane Irma in the mid to long term as it relates to crisis management. He focused his answer on the evolution of crisis management strategies.
“Crisis management is constantly evolving. If we look to 1995 and what we learned from Hurricane Luis, much of our electrical infrastructure was placed underground, we mitigated flooding with larger, concrete trenches, etc. Irma has taught us about handling communication in a social media age.
“There is a constantly evolving mechanism when it comes to disaster management and as tourism professionals we have to be realistic about the fact that there will always be learning points, there will always be things we need to improve upon. The key is to identify and be honest with the fact that those things exist and implement them in a timely manner in future disaster management plans,” said Brison.

Source: The Daily Herald