Apr 25, 2013 News Comments Off on Manickchand says Gov’t not fattening Bobby Ramroop …as she defends using TVG for satellite uplink
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand yesterday defended the use of TVG for satellite uplink of programmes for broadcast on the Learning Channel.
She said that the $3.6 million being paid monthly to TVG is not being used to fatten Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, who owns the channel.
Ramroop is the best friend of former President Bharrat Jagdeo, under whom the Learning Channel was established.
She had earlier explained that because the Learning Channel’s bandwidth is bundled with the bandwidth of TVG they are able to negotiate better rates from the satellite operators.
Yesterday, Manickchand sought to use the example of a charter air service. Instead of chartering an entire plane, a person could piggy back on whoever is taking the charter and just pay for a seat, she said.
But as to who the other passengers in her example could be, Manickchand could not answer. She maintained that TVG is not conducting its business at the expense of taxpayers.
The Minister was also adamant that TVG did not set up its teleport with clear knowledge that it could benefit from the rental money from the learning channel.
Dr. Seeta Roath, who manages the Learning Channel, said the final agreement which was concluded in 2010, requires TVG to provide the Learning Channel with a guaranteed satellite transport network service which includes: Satellite Uplink; Adequate Satellite bandwidth; 24 Hours monitoring; Full system redundancy; guaranteed power; and guaranteed reception with the minimum possible size receiving antenna.
She said this arrangement as stipulated in a legal service contract gives the Learning Channel, guaranteed reception anywhere in Guyana and, for that matter, South America and the Caribbean, regardless of weather conditions. It requires TVG as the satellite service provider to maintain signal quality guarantees.
She said that for the Learning Channel to have set up a commensurate service for uplinking video signals to a satellite, it would have required an equipment capital outlay of US$150, 000 plus monthly recurring costs of over G$4M in bandwidth rental and associated services plus infrastructure, construction costs, the cost of expatriate technical resources and staff training, separate staffing, maintenance, and utility costs.
She said that without the facilities to uplink video signals to satellite, the Learning Channel was set up at a cost of over US$700,000. She said that the cost included satellite receivers for 16 communities as well as transmitters. She said that the transmitters were sourced from Italy while the Satellite receivers were sourced from China.
Dr. Roath dismissed what she said was a deliberate effort to tarnish the image of those who have whole-heartedly given assistance without the thought of financial gain, except of course for salaries in the case of the staff.
She said that Dr. Ramroop “saved the day.” The same words were used by the Minister, who said that Ramroop should be thanked for what he did.
Dr. Roath said that when her idea to set up the Learning Channel in its current state using satellite uplink was accepted, a committee was set up, and the consulting engineer, Michael Forde, diligently explored the possibilities of a satellite television network in Guyana. He discovered that TVG was in the process of deploying a satellite uplink teleport.
National Communications Network had earlier rejected the thought despite an approach by the then Information Minister Shaik Baksh. It decided that it was not viable for Government to set up a satellite uplink facility.
TVG, Dr. Roath said, had the technical expertise, the finances, and the design. It had recruited the skills with a view to becoming the third such facility in the region after Sportsmax and the Caribbean News Agency (CANA)
Dr. Roath said that the state-owned NCN did not have the capacity or the willingness to run with the technology.
She said that when she presented the proposal it was extremely difficult to convince Government TV practitioners that it was possible to implement such a project in Guyana. “I was told that a satellite broadcast network was not a viable project, both technically and financially…I was literally referred to as a ‘mad woman’ that in Guyana it was only possible to downlink (that is) take ‘stuff’ off satellites, not uplink to satellites,” Roath stated.
She said that they accused her of trying to import First World technology into a Third World country.
May 25, 2020Police Progressive Youth Club (PPYC) middle distance athlete, Aaliyah Moore, has joined the long list of Guyanese student-athlete alumni at New York’s Munroe College after recently being accepted...
May 25, 2020
May 25, 2020
May 25, 2020
May 24, 2020
May 24, 2020
In one of my columns (Saturday, May 16, 2020, “Someone has to advise APNU+AFC leadership not to talk”), I opined that... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Caribbean countries are, once again, being placed in a difficult position as they try to navigate... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]