Government seems to be backpedalling on the commitment it made to the Region Ten Regional Administration, the Opposition and the people of Linden with regard to the television station to the region, says former PNCR Member of Parliament Anthony Vieira.
In a letter in this newspaper published today, Vieira said that the expected transfer of equipment including a dish and a transmitter necessary for the operation of the television station was 120 days late.
The agreement between the Government and Region 10 on August 21 said, “That the dish and transmitter that were given to the Linden community will be given to the Region 10 Regional Democratic Council; that the dish and transmitter should be transferred to the Region within 14 days of the signing of this agreement; that it was agreed that Region 10 will apply for a broadcasting licence and the government will facilitate the granting of that licence in keeping with the law.
“The promised transmitter and the dish had still not been handed over to the Lindeners as of December 17, 2012, when the agreement required that it should have been handed over 14 days after August 21, 2012, i.e. by August 31, 2012,” he said.
“The expected transfer was never made and Lindeners were instead instructed to apply to the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) for the licence to operate, but the understanding was that 14 days after the signing of the agreement the dish and the Channel 13 transmitter would be given to the Linden community and that thereafter they would apply for a licence,” said Vieira.
He said that notwithstanding the fact that Lindeners were not given the transmitter or the dish within the agreed 14 days they applied to the NFMU along with their broadcast plan and the technical specifications of the installation, all of which were submitted to the NFMU by the end of August 2012. “They never heard from the NFMU again,” he said.
Vieira called the non-action on the part of the Government “a gross deception perpetrated on the opposition negotiators,” since 10 licences for radio were given by former President Bharrat Jagdeo in 2011 without the necessity of applying to the NFMU or the Broadcast Authority.
“In addition, the Learning Channel was put on the air in 2011 without application to any agency to do so. Therefore during the talks leading to the August 21 agreement, the opposition were coerced into accepting a completely unacceptable Broadcast Authority since Ms Gail Teixeira and Mr (Odinga) Lumumba told them that the Linden station could not be licensed any other way,” Vieira said.
He said that by agreeing to facilitate the Lindeners the Opposition “were deceived into accepting an unconstitutional Broadcast Authority which can never be impartial, independent or autonomous, and which would have never surfaced if the Linden issue had not arisen.”
Noting that on Monday, December 10, Regional Chairman of Region 10, Sharma Solomon, received a letter from the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority signed by its Chairman Bibi Shadick instructing him to apply to the broadcast authority for permission to broadcast in Linden, he said that this is completely contrary to the agreement government and the Region signed on August 21.
“The PPP has once again repudiated one more aspect of the Linden/ GOG agreement of August 21, 2012,” said Vieira.