The government has expressed its disappointment over what it has called “deliberate attempts to distort and misrepresent important aspects” of the press conference hosted by President Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday.
The press conference focused on matters related to Clico, Hand in Hand Trust, and the financial sector generally.
There were separate occurrences in two newspapers that were misrepresentative of aspects of the press conference hosted by Jagdeo, the Government News Agency said.
The Guyana Times stands accused by GINA of omitting references to statements made by Jagdeo that he had briefed the Leader of the Opposition, Robert Corbin, on the government’s intention to move to the Courts to help resolve the situation with Clico.
The President was reportedly disappointed that the statements made by the Opposition on this matter sought to create the impression that the Opposition was not aware of the action which was being contemplated by Government. They were briefed in advance.
GINA stated: “By omitting this information, the Guyana Times contributed towards the spreading of this misinformation by the Opposition.”
Stabroek News quoted the Alliance for Change (AFC) saying that “the move to the Courts by the Government came in the wake of statements by the President that the economy of Guyana was sufficiently insulated from the effects of the global financial crisis, and that Clico (Guyana) would not be affected by problems in the Clico Group.
GINA cited this statement as a “blatant distortion of all previous pronouncements made by the President on the matter”.
The President, reported the information agency, has been widely quoted, when he returned from the Middle East some time ago, as explaining the potential for mismatch between asset and liability maturities in the event of a run on any financial institution, including Clico.
GINA cited another report in yesterday’s Stabroek News that reported Jagdeo saying at an earlier press conference that “the only problem he could envisage in the short term is a mismatch between liabilities and assets in the event of significant changes of the company’s investments abroad”.
In regard to this, GINA maintained that the President’s earlier statements could not be interpreted as suggesting that Guyana was fully insulated.
The information agency further probed the reports in yesterday’s Stabroek News which said that the President was “clearly irate” when asked certain questions.
GINA passed this off as Jagdeo’s exasperation and impatience due to the “redundant, repetitive, and clearly uninformed questions being asked by certain reporters, including the reporter from Stabroek News”.
Fault was found in the same Stabroek News article, where it was indicated that the President had suggested that if the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) were to lose its investment of $6 billion, the Government would not be bound to provide the lost sum of money.
“The President never made such a statement, and that discussion did not take place in the press conference. A reporter asked if the law required the government to cover losses on NIS investments; the Head of State said that he did not think so.
“Jagdeo went on to say that if there are financial shortfalls at the NIS, such as might be indicated by an actuarial review, the Scheme would normally be required to reverse this deficit either by increasing its investment returns or raising its contribution rates.”
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