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Ministry of Information no more?

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According to this, it looks like the good lady has had her way.

The Ministry of Information & Culture neé Ministry of Information has now transformed into the Ministry of Culture with the information part devolved into an authority under the leadership of Shaikh Fawaz Al-Khalifa, the ex president of GOYS. Shaikh Fawaz will also inherit the main departments of the erstwhile MoI: Radio & TV, Artistic affairs (?), Foreign Press, the Bahrain News Agency and Press & Publications subdivided under new sections headed by assigned director generals. Although not named yet, if these DGs are the old undersecretaries (who effectively ran the ministry) then we can safely say that no real change will be forthcoming. Sites will remain to be blocked and the freedom of information will continue to be at their whims.

But, let’s wait a few weeks to find out how the chips will fall in that erstwhile ministry.

Another thing which will be closely watched by those inside and outside BRTC; however, is what will happen to those very highly paid Lebanese “experts” who were inducted in droves by Shaikha Mai Al-Khalifa at the complete chagrin of everyone there. Will they remain in their vaulted towers to continue to dictate how “the locals” run their affairs by forcing in obsolete and expensive methods and incomprehensible technologies at odds with the broadcasting world norms, or will they, like her excellency be given the boot?


Ah, “reshuffle” announced

Two new faces replace old and bedraggled ones after being “harassed” by an Islamist-led parliament. In other countries this kind of “harassment” would probably be classified as nothing more than a gentle tickle, but hey, some good things are happening and we should be positive.

new cabinet ministers join - Faisal Al-Hamar and Jehad Bukamal

I don’t know much about Al-Hamar, other than being the brother of the previous Minister of Information and majority stakeholder in Al-Ayam newspaper as well as being the special media consultant to his majesty the king. Mr. Faisal Al-Hamar has been in the Ministry of Health for 32 years, most recently he was tasked with the deanship of the College of Health Sciences so he had some managerial history under his belt, whether he will be able to tame the beast and turn it into even a scowling and bad-tempered tom-cat remains to be seen, an outcome that a lot of Bahrainis would be rather satisfied with. Such is the reputation of the Ministry of Health which he has taken over which doesn’t need resuscitation but major invasive surgery to get it to a station at which Bahrainis would not tend to kiss their loved ones goodbye and hand them a shovel before entering its hallowed halls.

Jehad Bukamal takes over the Ministry of Information. Now that could be a breath of fresh air. Let me tell you why, Bukamal is first and foremost a businessman, a member of the Chamber of Commerce and an ex-member of parliament. He is also a moderate, so maybe – it is my fervent hope in any case – that he will drag that ministry from the dark ages and bring it to the real world, and maybe he will break the Islamist’s hold on that throbbing organ and let it release its creative juices which has been suppressed for ages, most certainly since it’s departed MP sat on it.

Maybe now – I hope once again – we will see less of the useless pre-packaged religious programs (especially those presented and chaired over by sitting members of parliament! Talk about conflict of interest!) and change them with community-centric ones and maybe we will actually get some entertainment out of that very important edifice. Who knows.

Oh, maybe we will even get to hear the myriad of beautiful different accents from all over Bahrain and see their faces, and not get presented with just one “type” for a joke or be presented exclusively in degrading situations.

Maybe we will finally get rid of that stupid and inappropriate slogan of “The Arab Family TV” and replace it with a much more appropriate “Bahraini Family Fun Channel”!

Maybe also now hotels will collectively exhale!

Maybe now the tourism department will actually change into a real tourism-encouraging catalyst rather than continue to be nothing more than thinly covered Religious Police with a political drive.

One continues to hope.

One also hopes that this rather limited reactionary change in cabinet is an aperitif and not the entrée. There is at least one more who has sold Bahrain and Bahrainis that still needs to be removed, to save what is left of our face.


Ministerial changes

The king returned back to the kingdom healthy and strong after recuperating from an illness. We thank God for his successful recovery and welcome him back.

During his recuperation period he must have done some thinking about running the country better and the rumours abound since his return of reshuffling the cabinet some, some say in the next few days and most certainly before the reconvening of the parliament.

The names imbue some trust, if they were to be correct, and we shall see the disappearance of a number of faces who have been nothing but a heavy anchor around Bahrain’s throat.

In preparation for this pending announcement, it is said that a number of ministers who have been enjoying their holidays abroad have been ordered to cut their own recuperation periods short and come back to Bahrain. Of those who were out and ordered back are

  • Abdulla bin Salman Al-Khalifa (Minister of Electricity who was undoubtedly enjoying a summer uninterrupted by power cuts wherever he was),
  • Mohammed Abdulghaffar (Minister of Information),
  • Dr. Majeed Al-Alawi (Minister of Labour),
  • Dr. Nada Haffadh (Minister of Health),
  • Ahmed Attiyatallah,
  • Dr. Nezar Al-Baharna (Minister of Foreign Affairs) and
  • Dr. Fatima Al-Balooshi (Minister of Social Affairs).

The news suggests that the new positions will be rotated among old and new ministers thusly;

  • Dr. Mohammed Al-Ghatam as Minister of Electricity,
  • Nabeel Al-Hamar returns as the Minister of Information and Cabinet Affairs,
  • Hind Al-Khalifa will finally be promoted to be the Minister of Social Affairs,
  • Dr. Majeed Al-Alawi (moved to be Minister of Health from Minister of Labour),
  • Dr. Nezar Al-Baharna will become the Minister of Labour (he currently heads the Labour reform initiative)
  • and Haya Al-Khalifa returns from heading the United Nations to take up the position of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

So we finally get rid of some personalities who have been described as hindrances to development and progress and some who have also been described as Muslim Brotherhood stooges and all are replaced by what look like new dynamic leadership.

About time too.

Good to have you back your Majesty!

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