Oct 18, 2016 News
Correspondence between Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and former Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), Leonard Craig, has indicated that the Prime Minister stood on the sidelines and watched the Board slide along a slippery slope.
Frustrated to the brink, Craig has thrown in the towel. The former Chairman has taken up a scholarship to pursue a doctorate in China.
About two months ago, Nagamootoo, who has direct responsibility for the Board, told Kaieteur News that he was ignorant about the social problems facing the Board. He said, “I am not aware of any discord on the Board.” However, leaked documents prove that since February, Nagamootoo was informed about the Board’s ineffectiveness as well as the discord.
On February 10, last, Craig wrote Nagamootoo a letter with the subject, “Matter concerning the GNBA, the continuous strife that hampers progress on the Board.”
By way of that letter, Craig told Nagamootoo, “The governing of the GNBA has been tumultuous from the very first meeting due mainly to a breakdown in relationship between certain members who have openly declared their unwillingness to cooperate with this chairman. This has hampered the progress of the Board.”
The former Chairman spoke about the abusive language that was spoken to him by Board member Anthony Vieira, and about the “temper tantrums.”
He said, “Seeing that broadcasting in Guyana is at such a delicate stage and on the brink of a national crisis, a change beckons. A firm stand has to be taken; hard decisions have to be made sooner rather than later.”
But nothing happened. His petitions fell on deaf ears. Meanwhile, chaos prevailed on the Board.
In another letter, Craig told Nagamootoo about Vieira’s rants to the effect that Craig was unsuited to be Chairman of the Board.
Craig spoke about Vieira’s acts to undermine him. In this regard, Craig pointed to the fact that Vieira, who was Chairman of a subcommittee of three, from the Board of six, invited other members at the subcommittee meetings and made decisions which he was adamant, “cannot be overturned.”
Craig told Nagamootoo of another run in he had with Vieira when Vieira spoke to the media about matters that were still engaging the attention of the Board. Subsequent to Vieira’s statements in the media, Craig told the media that the member was premature in his pronouncements.
Vieira became incensed by this. He told Craig, “Do you know who I am? Do you know my name? I am (Anthony) Vieira and Vieira always gets his way…”
Craig told Nagamootoo that several members spoke to Vieira about his inappropriateness, including Jocelyn Josiah, Ameena Gafoor and Vic Insanally, Vieira’s very close friend.
Craig quoted Gafoor who said, “GNBA needs to appoint one Director as a PR person who is authorised to interface with the media and the public. The Chairman was in order to rebut the press piece. Will GNBA be a theatre of war because of the personalities that comprise it?”
Vieira responded, “I agree that I was angry. I was in fact very angry. How dare he, a non-entity, dare tell the public that I did not know what I was talking about?”
Craig told Nagamootoo that following that episode, the disdain and disrespect continued and worsened with time.
Vieira then resigned, saying that he could not take “stupidity.’
Craig subsequently wrote Nagamootoo yet another time saying that, “although he (Vieira) brings a wealth of practical knowledge to the Board, his personal antics have denuded the applicability of that experience for meaningful contribution to the Board. His perpetual disruptive disposition outweighs the quality of his actual contributions; as such he can no longer be considered a credit to the Authority.”
Nagamootoo remained silent; Craig wrote yet another letter.
This one stated, “Honorable Prime Minister, you are fully aware and as was reported to you by me much of these developments and you remained silent. I do not know what to make of it.”
He continued, “The deafening silence from you, the Prime Minister and subject Minister, has further emboldened Mr. Vieira…Unfortunately Prime Minister, this will not end. The verbal tirade will continue; the Board will continue to be unproductive. As such you cannot remain unmoved and a silent bystander.
Mr. Vieira has presented his own head on a platter via a resignation you have not accepted; it begs the question, why?”
Craig even offered Nagamootoo his resignation, so that the work of the Board could move on.
He said, “If you have lost confidence in this appointment, I implore you to tell me like it is. I will be a gentleman and resign; because I do not think I have a birthright to be chair of GNBA.
In August, Craig again wrote Nagamootoo with the subject, “Request for a formal investigation into the conduct of the members of the Board of GNBA”. In that letter he repeated similar concerns.
Finally, Nagamootoo responded, saying that Craig’s previous letters were placed on file but he was unable to read them. Only then he encouraged Craig to deal with the matter on his own. He told the then Chairman to summon a meeting and raise the issue of replacing Vieira.
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