The Attorney-General made an observation that is pregnant with political controversy – a referendum may be needed to change the sentence structure for possession of small quantities of marijuana – but like every serious action in this country, our journalists fail to follow-up.
I stopped my subscription to the Guyana Press Association. I don’t want to be part of that formation anymore. And the reason is because a majority of our journalists I do not respect and admire. I think they are not professionally competent. They do not elevate one of the world’s great professions – journalism
Of course not all; there are those who try. Those few want to bring journalistic investigation to Guyana. I do not see where all the training goes that our journalists get. Each year, there are foreign-sponsored training programmes. Yet look at the state of our journalism. My position on the seawall roundabout is that it changes nothing. A journalist cannot take that position. I can as a columnist, but a journalist can only ask questions, and that is what journalism is partly about.
When the authorities invited the journalists to see the roundabout, do you know not one question was asked? Talking about the roundabout; I took my wife to see it on Thursday morning on our way back from downtown. On the roundabout I was in my lane waiting to give way to the lane that has priority over mine, when an SUV driver was wrongfully honking his horn for me to move on. After moving, a mini-bus driver flew past me instead of waiting his turn.
But let’s return to the state of journalism.
I am not putting Leonard Gildarie in front of other journalists because he works at the newspaper I write for. He deserves mention because he showed the interest that is obligatory of media workers. I did a column in which I quoted Minister Trotman as saying that President Granger made three AFC executives ministers without the actual input of the AFC. Trotman could be right or wrong, but it was a curious statement.
Gildarie came to me and said that it was interesting and he wanted to follow it up. He did. He published a story on it with interviews. He was the only journalist that did so. Such a development in any country would have had widespread reaction from the media.
The President has taken the portfolio of oil from the Ministry of Natural Resources and it will be situated in the soon to be created Department of Energy. No journalist has pursued the story with the AFC, enquiring if the president is allowed to reshape the portfolios of AFC ministers, based on what is laid down in the Cummingsburg Accord.
Pick up any issue of the top newspapers from around the world and you will see the words, “a source told the newspaper.” Go online to the New York Times and Washington Post right this minute, and you will see how many stories have been published due to unnamed sources. Right now the New York Times is quoting an unnamed source as telling the newspaper that the telephone conversation between Trump and Macron on tariffs was a sour one.
I am telling this nation that an impeccable source in the AFC leadership told me that every major AFC leader is not in agreement with Granger taking the oil portfolio from Trotman’s ministry. This is a journalistic gold mine, but our “well trained journalists” who have been beneficiaries of foreign training, have shown no interest.
The outgoing president of the Guyana Press Association was Neil Marks, who at the time was also the Sunday editor of the Guyana Chronicle. Marks dropped an article by David Hinds that criticized President Granger’s handling of the publication of the findings of the Walter Rodney Commission. I interviewed Marks formally for my column. He said he was uncomfortable with the Hinds piece, so he passed it on for a decision to his editor-in-chief, Nigel Williams.
Marks chose not to speak to me again despite several calls to his cell. I wanted to know what he was uncomfortable with and why.
The Guyana Press Association had a president who censured a columnist’s opinion of the attitude of the country’s president toward an important event, and the journalistic community was happy to retain him as the head of their association. No journalist has seen it fit to get a definitive statement from the President about not meeting the press regularly. There is no journalistic investigation into the literal joke that the WPA has become in the eyes of the Guyanese people. There is no other backward country like Guyana.
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