Mar 18, 2016 News
“We have to start from scratch” –GNBA Member
By Kiana Wilburg
Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), Leonard Craig continues to dodge questions
which require him to explain to the nation where the Authority is on the revocation of the illegally granted licences under the Jagdeo regime.
This is in spite of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo making it clear two days ago that Craig would be the one to set the record straight.
Yesterday Kaieteur News contacted Craig on the issue. He said, “I am not willing to make a statement on this matter just yet. We are meeting next week on it. I am not willing to speak on this today and I shall speak on this at a press conference after our meeting.”
The GNBA Chairman said that his Public Relations Officer would be dealing with the information on the related dates. It was since last year that Craig has been promising to meet with the media.
This newspaper also asked Craig if he received reports, whether oral or written, from the subcommittee that was established to look into the issue of the illegally granted broadcasting licenses, among other issues.
To this Craig said, “I guess they will do that at the meeting next week…But that is a matter for the press conference.”
He was also asked to say why the board is only having a meeting regarding the way forward on the matter, when the subcommittee would have been set up by him since last year.
Craig said, “Because now that certain things are being said in the press, it beholds the board to consider and reconsider the matter.”
When this publication contacted the Head of the Subcommittee, Anthony Vieira, he provided more clarity
on the issues.
Vieira said that it needs to be clarified first of all that Craig is not an Executive Chairman with special powers. He said that Craig is just a chairman, and what he does in relation to the Authority, has to be in harmony with the thoughts and decisions reached by other board members.
The broadcasting veteran said that there are a number of things wrong with Guyana’s broadcasting sector and as such, it becomes imperative for the entire system to be revamped, so that an environment of fairness can be had.
“And I have said several times let’s call in the media so that they can know what we are doing and what we have done so far, because the impression is that the Broadcasting Authority is not working, and that is not true. Additionally, the entire broadcasting authority needs restructuring. Even the Act also needs restructuring. But it is time we talk to the media, and I will be inviting them next week.”
While Craig was not willing to say if he received reports from the subcommittee on the illegal radio licences, Vieira said that this was in fact done since last year with the understanding that revocation must be done. He noted, however, there are still some kinks which have to be ironed out regarding the way in which it will be accomplished.
“But the whole broadcasting sector, from the licences to the Act, needs to be regularized. We need to start from scratch,” Vieira asserted.
Weeks before leaving office, Former President Bharrat Jagdeo awarded his best friend, Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop five radio frequencies; New Guyana Company Limited, five, and Telcor and Cultural Broadcasting Inc., another five.
Jagdeo also ordered the grant of two cable licences to two of his closest friends, Vishok Persaud and Brian Yong.
GNBA Officials revealed recently that Jagdeo’s ad hoc approach has led to prime spots on the spectrum being taken up. All premium spots on the television and cable channel frequencies are gone. There is little space left for new applicants on the radio spectrum.
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