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Thursday 17 October 2019
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Deyalsingh: Brexit twisted UK like a pretzel

Terrence Deyalsingh
Terrence Deyalsingh

THREE days after the Prime Minister alleged the BBC was an agent of British government policy, the Health Minister said the United Kingdom has become twisted like a pretzel due to the Brexit brouhaha. Terrence Deyalsingh spoke on Wednesday at UWI, St Augustine, at the launch of the book, Health Communication: Principles and Practices, by Prof Godfrey Steele.

Saying clear communication is vital, he said by contrast when internet technology is added to a mix of fact and fiction it creates a soup of misinformation.

“The classic example is Brexit. The great United Kingdom is twisting like a pretzel to get out of Brexit.” He reckoned that country did not really want to leave the European Union.

Deyalsingh attributed the success of the leave campaign over the remain campaign to "brilliant communication by propagandists."

He remarked, “A whole country is in turmoil now because of it.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to keep his vow to Conservative Party members who elected him to take the UK out of the European Union by October 31 even with a "no deal." He has suspended Parliament, ejected about a couple dozen anti-Brexit MPs from his party and threatened a snap election. Fears remain Brexit could economically hurt the UK and raise tensions over any new customs border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (part of the EU.)

The minister said modern society now faces a threat of misinformation and propaganda that would cause a blush in Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda.

Deyalsingh said poor communication can cause deaths. “It is the way the wrong limb gets amputated.”

Deyalsingh said a simple initiative to improve communication between successive shifts of midwives/nurses had led to a big drop in maternal mortality in TT. “I instituted a simple handover book from one shift to another.” This would list patient details like blood pressure. “A simple communication tool, never used before in TT, saved lives. That was what it took to save lives – communications.”

Deyalsingh related having to visit two families to apologise for the mix up in names of a women who had died, to fix a case of initial bad communication.

He said he now faces a big communication challenge in trying to encourage people to take simple steps to live healthier lives, namely to drink more water, exercise and eat fruit and vegetables.

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