Oct 15, 2015 News
The President’s Communications Director has refused to take up an appointment on the Board of Directors of the National Communications Network (NCN).
Communications Director at the Ministry of the Presidency, Mark Archer, yesterday confirmed his decision not to take up the post citing his other responsibilities.
Archer was at the time accompanying Governance Minister, Raphael Trotman, who was providing a Post Cabinet press briefing, when the matter was raised.
News of Archer’s refusal to take up the post on the NCN Board comes at a time when the State owned Television Station has been rocked by another bout of controversy, this time over a decision to purchase US$23M in satellite uplink equipment, only to have it remain idle in the NCN compound for two years now and never being activated.
The former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration instead of operationalizing and using the equipment opted for a contract with TVG 28, to pay that company $3.6M monthly to air The Learning Channel.
TVG 28 is owned by Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, whose many companies were on the receiving end of a number of lucrative contracts beginning under Bharrat Jagdeo.
Archer, explaining his decision to sever ties with NCN sought to correct the assertion that he had resigned.
Archer said that he was in fact selected for appointment to the NCN Board of Directors but opted to write to the Office of the Prime Minister—under whose portfolio NCN has been subsumed—and indicated that while humbled at being selected for the post, “based on all my responsibilities I would not be able to serve.”
He used the opportunity to explain to media operatives that “when one serves on a Board one should be able to commit oneself totally, without any reservations to serving on that Board.”
According to Archer, “I felt that with all of my duties and all of the other things that I have responsibility for, serving on a Board like NCN would not be applicable at this time, so I humbly declined, I did not resign.”
Archer was commended for his position by Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman.
Trotman told members of the media present at the Ministry of the Presidency yesterday that Archer’s position is in fact “quite commendable and admirable to say that given my portfolio and workload I don’t think I can make a beneficial contribution or the contribution I would like to make.”
A replacement appointment to serve on the NCN Board will not be selected by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) or the Alliance for Change (AFC) directly. The matter will be dealt with by a special Cabinet sub-committee.
“It’s not for the APNU or for the AFC to put forward persons individually, what happens is that Cabinet has a sub-committee, the sub-committee receives submissions from various Ministers and various entities with respect to Boards and that committee vets and refines,” according to Trotman, so that an individual can be shortlisted and identified.
The NCN Board of Directors was installed at a simple ceremony just last month at the Arthur Chung International Convention Centre by Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo.
The Board members for NCN who were given their instruments at the time were Bishwa Panday (Chairman), Mark Archer, Dr. Paloma Mohamed, Margaret Lawrence, Kojo McPherson, Dhanwanti Sukhdeo, Carolyn Walcott, Imran khan and Colin Thompson.
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