Not only has Kaieteur News never requested advance payment for advertisement from Government Agencies, but Publisher, Glenn Lall said that it was just last month that he authorised his Marketing Department to grant the Human Services Ministry free promotional advertisements for its observance of Foster Care Month which is being currently being observed.
The free advertisements are slated to be published November 16 through November 30.
Lall said that the move to offer the free advertisements comes as part of his desire to support the worthwhile initiative.
He was forced to emphasise his decision to publish the Ministry’s advertisements at no cost in light of the fact that the Ministry, in a statement issued yesterday, accused Kaieteur News of publishing an article that was “misleading” and “regrettable”.
The article, which was contained in the Saturday edition of November 9, last, highlighted a decision by the said Ministry, to place an advertisement today exclusively in the Guyana Times to alert senior citizens of plans for the distribution of their 2014 Old Age Pension books.
The same advertisement was slated to be sent to the Stabroek News, Kaieteur News and Guyana Chronicle one week later.
According to a press release issued by the Ministry the distribution centres, dates and times will be published in the November 10 (today’s) edition of the Guyana Times, and in the November 17 editions of the other three dailies.
The distribution exercise is expected to commence on Monday November 18.
The Ministry, in its statement issued yesterday, said that it is government’s policy to place advertisements in all the newspapers. It was noted that the Ministry requested quotations from the four (daily) newspapers last September, to publicize the distribution schedule for the Old Age Pension Books as is done annually.
It was explained that the practice is that Government would solicit a credit facility and request from entities their concurrence for payment within 30 days. Further it was noted that “the newspapers expressed a desire that payment be made prior to publication.”
Lall has therefore questioned the logic by the Ministry to allow the advertisement to be published in the Guyana Times when reportedly the “newspapers” required advanced payment, a statement which suggests that Guyana Times also demanded up-front payment.
In response, Lall said that the statement issued by the Ministry yesterday is not only untrue but a “flimsy excuse to escape a trap it has found itself in.”
This state of affairs, according to Lall, is indicative of a deliberate ploy to place Kaieteur News in a category in which it does not belong.
He repeated his conviction that “the Minister doesn’t care about value for money when millions of dollars are being expended through her Ministry….the Minister is skirting around the real issue,” he insisted.
It is Lall’s view that the plan to use Guyana Times to initially publicise the advertisements was not only intended to promote the newspaper but it was a sly tactic to “enrich (former President) Bharrat Jagdeo and (his best friend) Bobby Ramroop using taxpayers’ money.”
Lall said that he has been privy to information that “all state agencies and Ministries are only authorised to purchase the Chronicle and Guyana Times for senior employees. “Minister is that true at your end too?”
In a further attempt to dodge involvement in the scheme, the Ministry’s statement contends that “it is not the responsibility of the Minister to place advertisements in the media. In this specific instance, the advertisement for the distribution of Old Age Pension Books was placed by the Probation and Social Services Department of the Ministry.”
The statement went on to assert that “the Minister was in no way involved in this process nor did she give any instructions regarding the placement of the advertisement.” The statement emphasised too that “at no time did the Administration take a decision not to place any advertisement in any particular newspaper.”
In addition to issuing a retaliatory statement, the Human Services Ministry also sent the advertisement in question for publication today in this newspaper.
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