Yesterday King Hamad met with the Duke of Westminster, otherwise known as Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor. The two discussed Bahrain and Britain’s historic bilateral relationship and the need to ‘enhance it’. There was also talk of ‘bolstering cooperation’ in all fields – whatever that means. Cryptic Bahrain News Agency jargon aside, it is interesting that the King of Bahrain is meeting with the Duke of Westminster. As well as being the richest British person, Grosvenor is chairman of G3, a strategic advisory firm hired by Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority in 2011 to develop a “media campaign to support Bahrain’s position in the international community”. What the contract involved was not quite clear, though Lt Gen Sir Graeme Lamb, who worked as a ‘special adviser’ to G3, wrote a number of pieces in various news outlets that focused on Britain’s important military relationship with Bahrain.
Clearly 1.5 million pounds will buy a lot more than some PR in the form of a few sketchy articles. Indeed, the fact King Hamad gets to meet with G3’s chairman suggests that Bahrain plumped for the company’s platinum package. King Hamad has also met with Gerald Grosvenor on a number of other occasions over the past two years. In April and May 2011, the two met at the King’s palace where they once again discussed Bahrain and Britain’s historic trade relations, and the subsequent need to ‘bolster’ them. Grosvenor also visited the Bahrain International Circuit where, judging by the photo, he refused to sit on the outlandish sofas.
The two also met in August 2012 when King Hamad visited the UK. As you may have guessed, their discussions revolved around Bahrain and Britain’s historic bilateral relations. Whether or not the word ‘bolster’ was mentioned is unclear, though it should not be ruled out.
Incidentally, the tender for G3 was awarded in July 2011, and Grosvenor and Hamad met back in April 2011. I presume Grosvenor had a few interesting suggestions about how to boost trade between the two countries…and maybe G3 too.
Given the upcoming Grand Prix and the recent announcement of dialogue between government and Bahrain’s political parties, this is hunting season for PR companies, who will no doubt be seeking a windfall for their role in atoning for the government of Bahrain’s sins.