Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon denied that he made comments which suggested that it was former President Bharrat Jagdeo who resuscitated the idea of mining in the disputed New River Triangle Area.
In one section of the media, yesterday, he claimed that he had sent a letter to the Kaieteur News, dismissing the newspaper’s report on Thursday about Jagdeo’s position on mining in that location now occupied by the Muri Brasil Ventures Inc. Luncheon described the publication as a journalistic travesty.
This newspaper never received any such letter, neither did the Editor-in-Chief, Adam Harris.
According to the Guyana Times, which is closely aligned to the former President, Luncheon said, “I defy your reporter to publish the verbatim account of my December 19, 2013 comments on former President Jagdeo’s stance on mining in the New River Triangle area. To insert in your headlines such an obviously inaccurate position is difficult to comprehend, particularly if it claimed to be based on my actual presentation on December 19th, 2013.”
But even before Dr Luncheon’s challenge, Stabroek News published a verbatim account of his interview with the reporters after his weekly press conference.
Below is the verbatim account of what Dr Luncheon said:
“KN: When was the policy changed?
Luncheon: What policy?
KN: The policy not to pursue mining in that location.
Luncheon: I am uncertain that there was indeed an explicit policy, we’re divided, we are divided and this division does not extend to all other levels other than cabinet so we have indeed over the last, I think it was the 2006 term of President. Former President Jagdeo did indeed discuss the issue of mining and exploring in the New River Triangle, in that area, sorry instead of saying New River Triangle, in that area at that time the President had a strong position that was not consistent with others in the cabinet but we are an advisory body as you would recall.
KN: So the President gets what the President wants?
Luncheon: I didn’t say that, we are an advisory body as you would recall and therefore the President’s view held sway. That was 2006 to 2011…2006 to 2011
KN: And President Ramotar is continuing?
Luncheon: I am not saying anything further— 2006 to 2011″
In the letter that he was purported to have written, and reported on in Guyana Times, “I would be surprised if the Editor of Kaieteur News were to deny knowledge of former President Jagdeo’s position, adumbrated during his 2006- 2011 term in office. So essentially, I insist that the headline is totally inaccurate and inconsistent with my remarks. Additionally, and the position attributed to the President in the headline is known to all to be inconsistent with the truth. Perhaps the Editor of Kaieteur News can explain to readers this gross travesty.”
Editor in Chief Adam Harris said that indeed he was aware of Jagdeo’s position on issues, the first of which was his position on the Amaila Falls project. “I was never aware of his position on the New River Triangle.”
“I never received Dr. Luncheon’s letter and I stand by my reporter’s story, especially in the wake of the support he received from Stabroek News.”
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