PRESS Secretary Clint Watson. (File photo)
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune News Editor
CLINT Watson is expected to step down as press secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister to become the new general manager of ZNS, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
One source said the change would be confirmed as early as Thursday.
In January, Mr Watson told reporters he was working with the state broadcaster as it goes through an “improvement and upgrade” in its news department.
He would replace current ZNS acting general manager Andrew Burrows.
The reason for the leadership shift has been the subject of speculation among some.
One ZNS board member, who declined to speak on the record because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said the Davis administration wants someone at the helm of ZNS who has a close relationship with Mr Davis and administration members and who could help ensure the government’s message reaches the public. Some board members are said to be concerned about the station’s declining status in The Bahamas and want to see it reformed for the digital era.
Mr Watson served as director of news at Eyewitness News before joining the Davis administration. Before that, he was a reporter and editor at ZNS.
As press secretary, he helped formalise the role, making it a more public position and accessible to reporters.
Previous press secretaries had rarely engaged reporters or taken questions from the press –– though Anthony Newbold did so for a short time at the start of the Minnis administration.
Under Mr Watson, pre-Cabinet interviews with ministers have also become more formal, though some reporters have complained that the new process gives them less access to ministers than before.
The OPM now hosts a weekly press briefing. It is unclear who will host the briefings when Mr Watson leaves.
In February, the OPM announced that Keishla Adderley was appointed deputy press secretary.