Jul 12, 2009 Letters
It was with great disbelief that I read a letter in the letters column of this newspaper’s Thursday Edition entitled ‘Pumps for sewerage system expected third quarter’.
The letter was purportedly written by Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) Public Relations Officer, Rawle Aaron, and blatantly inferred that I wrote an article about the Georgetown sewerage system based on figments of my imagination.
The article in question was published in the last Monday Edition of this newspaper under the headline ‘Pumps for sewerage system not expected until year end – Gafoor’.
I personally attended a press conference two Fridays ago along with representatives from other media houses and I have absolutely no reason to misrepresent the information that was disseminated by Acting Director of Capital Investment and Planning, Altaf Gafoor.
In fact I was the lone reporter waiting in the water company’s boardroom at 09:00hours which was supposed to have been the starting time of the press conference that Friday. The press conference did not commence until about one hour later.
I sat and waited, admittedly with some impatience, as Aaron, via cellular phone, appealed to other media representatives to also provide coverage to the event.
And I can say that I am very thankful that several media houses did in fact turn up to cover the press conference because like me, I know they also recorded what was said.
I am appalled and saddened by the statements detailed in Aaron’s letter which clearly underscored that what was said at the press conference was taken out of context deliberately.
The Director at the press conference said, and I have a digital tape recording to back this, “we hope that by year end latest we should have those pumps in the country so that they can be installed.”
At no point in time did the Director make mention that the pumps will be in Guyana by the third quarter of this year. The other details of the article in question were based mainly on the recordings of what was said by Gafoor at the press conference and in the same order.
It must be noted, too, that there was no speculation other than in the first sentence which suggested that “the integrity of the sewerage system could remain in a compromised state for another few months.”
I have always tried with fairness and accuracy to report on GWI issues though not always to the approval of officials at the water company. I must add that I would be been willing to admit to any errors on my part.
However, having carefully re-listened to the tape recording of the press conference I can safely say that I stand by every line of the article I wrote and would advise Aaron to also listen to the recording and to continue to do so in future before making rash statements.
Was Jagdeo honest when he made those promises?
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