Jul 10, 2018 News
The Coalition rode to power promising more transparency, but since becoming president in 2015, President David Granger has hosted a mere two official press conferences.
Even after official trips overseas, and numerous official engagements, the President has not faced the nation, opting to use the Department of Public Information (DPI) for the release of information.
DPI releases leave no room for questions from the press.
President of the Guyana Press Association (GPA), Nazima Raghubir, told Kaieteur News that too many issues of national importance are going unaddressed.
“The lack of engagement does no good to any Government’s role to be accountable and transparent. The Guyana press cannot continue to meet the President on the sidelines of events.
“We have already had to deal with limited access during the Public Interest programme,” Raghubir stated.
She added that the GPA has raised the need more frequent engagements with the Head of State since 2015.
According to Raghubir, the GPA raised the matter again at the President’s media brunch in January and as recent as May during World Press Freedom Day.
Following General Elections in May 2015, President Granger hosted his first press conference in October 2015.
Initially, there was the Public Interest programme where a select media houses were invited to sit and question the President, then that ended.
There were no press conferences in 2016 and it was only after public criticisms that the President hosted another press conference more than a year later, on December 14, last.
It is now six months since the last press conference and again the President is facing sharp criticisms.
President Granger said to reporters on the sidelines of the ICT Road Show yesterday that he has been busy, having just returned from Montego Bay, Jamaica where he attended the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government meeting.
One week earlier, he had visited Vietnam.
“It can be very challenging and as soon as I get the opportunity, I will engage with the press, but I have been travelling quite a lot and I have to deal with domestic issues,” the President said in response to a question on the issue posed by the GPA President.
On domestic issues, he cited the sugar and the petroleum industries, crime and security as matters that have kept him busy.
“I am asking the media to be tolerant. My heart is in the right place, but right now I have had a really difficult period of public engagements and overseas travel.
“In fact even last year, I missed a few CARICOM appointments to be able to stay at home to pay more attention to domestic issues,” Granger said before he was hurried away for a photo opportunity.
Raghubir pointed out that all together the media is not a group of just 30 persons, but ‘we are part of society and represent their interests’.
According to the GPA President, the media does not expect to be treated specially, but the lack of regular sustained engagement with the media is unacceptable.
“The President once published a magazine and should know the importance of getting factual statements or the need to have official responses to issues,” Raghubir stated.
She expressed hope that there isn’t an intention by the President to try to use the media closer to the 2020 General Elections through more frequent press conferences.
Jul 05, 2022Milo Secondary Schools Football Tournament… Over cast conditions with warm sunshine piercing through those clouds allowed the Petra Organisation’s Milo Secondary Schools Football to contest two...
Kaieteur News – I’m not sure I am good at satire though I have tried a few pieces on this page over the years and... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]