Apr 16, 2013 News Comments Off on Radio licences protests taken to OP
“…the protest will continue until Ramotar clears the air on this issue,” says Lall
By: Romila Boodram
Media operatives, backed by concerned supporters, took their protest to the Office of the President yesterday to demand the withdrawal of radio and cable licenses granted under questionable circumstances by former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The protest was staged to coincide with a scheduled meeting at Office of the President between President Donald Ramotar and members of the Opposition over the proposed budget cuts.
The peaceful protest saw the presence of Kaieteur News Publisher, Glenn Lall; Charles Griffith, a Director at the privately-run Hoyte Blackman Television (HBTV) Channel Nine and veteran broadcaster, Enrico Woolford.
Bearing placards, the protestors stood quietly on the parapet on Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, opposite the President’s Office. A senior police rank initially demanded that the protestors remove. He even called for “back up” but none ever arrived.
Instead he received additional barricades.
Mr. Lall said that “the protest continues against the unlawful, illegal and immoral issue of radio and cable license by former President, Bharrat Jagdeo. I believe it was a discriminatory act perpetrated on this nation and it must be corrected.”
He explained that the granting of radio and cable license by the former President to his “buddies” is criminal. “They are already making money from it but what has Guyana got? Nothing! Where will we get money to pay the police; your children and grandchildren will be affected,” Mr. Lall emphasized.
According to the Kaieteur News Publisher, Guyana Times and the Mirror Newspapers were each granted five radio frequencies while Channels Two, Six, Seven, Nine and Thirteen were refused despite being in the business for as long as television has been in Guyana.
Mr. Lall said that cable licences were granted to two of the former President’s close friends, Vishok Persaud and Brian Yong, both of whom he described as “Lil kid.”
He explained with a cable license an individual or company could in fact “give wireless internet, you can have TV stations, radio stations and it can also provide a telephone service. So when you hear Brian Yong, this li’l kid. was granted a license and Vishok (Persaud), this other kid was given a licence, it is not a magic, it was well planned- They are not the owners of this thing.”
“Let us have a level playfield. Let this nation wake up every day and be able to, or given the opportunity to hear different views on various issues. This is what democracy is all about; it is not a one-sided affair,” Lall stressed.
Mr. Glenn Lall believes that the reason for this publication not being granted a radio license was a deliberate act by the former president to have control over the electronic media. “It was an orchestrated plan by Jagdeo to take over the electronic media; they want to control this nation. Their aim is to put us (independent media houses) out of business.”
Meanwhile, Woolford is convinced that the move made by Jagdeo was clearly one in which he rewarded close friends and party supporters. “He (Bharrat Jagdeo) was supposed to act without affection or ill-will but clearly he acted with affection for his people and ill-will against the people he thought were not in his corner.”
“This is about unfairness, lack of transparency and lack of accountability. You cannot as the President, act in such a way that you act with affection for some of your friends. The airwave is a national resource; it belongs to the people of Guyana. Therefore it must be distributed in a transparent manner and it must be done with accountability,” Woolford stressed.
The Media Proprietors’ Association is embarking on legal action. “Papers will be filed maybe as soon as tomorrow.” The legal team will consist of Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan; Vice Chairman for AFC, Moses Nagamootoo; Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram; Senior Counsel, Rex McKay, and attorney Roysdale Forde
The protest will be continuing today.
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