Government, Linden closer to consensus on committee heads

The government and the Region Ten administration are closer to naming chairpersons for the technical and economic committees, Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon said on Sunday.

Contacted for an update on the talks between the two sides, Solomon said there seemed to be consensus for University of Guyana lecturer Joycelyn Williams to be the chair of the economic committee as neither side has any objection to her holding the position.

For the chair of the technical committee, he said the government has nominated John Lewis, who has worked in the bauxite industry in Linden for a number of years and has historical knowledge of the industry. However, the region is in favour of Earle B John who is a consultant at the Sandra Jones Associates Consultancy firm, which has done extensive work and research on management and conflict resolution including several projects for the government. According to Solomon, the two sides were to meet last Thursday but this had to be postponed because the National Assembly met on that date. They are expected to meet this week on a day yet to be decided.

The August 21 agreement flowed from weeks of unrest in Linden over electricity tariffs during which three protesters were killed.

The region had asked for deferment of a meeting scheduled with government for January 4 in order to meet residents first.

At an earlier meeting on December 7, the parties agreed to clear the slate of the proposed chairpersons that both sides had put forward and start anew with names of people that would have found favour with both parties.

Meanwhile, Solomon said the construction of the site for the television has progressed far in advance with the installation and acquisition of technical material and the region is prepared to proceed with the establishment of the station as requested by the people at the last public meeting on January 12. All of this is being done even as the government is yet to hand over the Channel 13 transmitter to the region. A licence has not yet been granted.

The region in its last press statement on December 23, 2012 had expressed disappointment that government had not kept its end of the agreement as regards the television station and its licencing and transfer of equipment.

Acting Cabinet Secretary Gail Teixeira had said at a press conference that the region could not expect the government to sidestep the legal and technical requirements under the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) regulations and the Broadcasting Act and grant a television licence “at the wave of a wand.

“We have assured them that we cannot do that, but we will facilitate as far as possible, their application in accordance with the law,” Teixeira had said at the press conference.

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