I made no announcement about the Media Monitoring Unit ceasing operations

Dear Editor,

Please permit me to respond to the article titled `Media Monitoring Unit to cease operations month end’, which was published in the Guyana Chronicle of Thursday, July 22, 2010.

This article carries some grave inaccuracies which I fail to understand how the Chronicle reporter who made several pertinent queries of me on this matter could have construed my responses as she did.  May I also note that the article was prepared in such a disjointed manner that it fails to convey the concise responses which I gave to the reporter.

The article states “The Media Monitoring Unit (MMU), established by Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for the 2006 general elections, will cease operations at month end. GECOM Public Relations Officer, Mr. Vishnu Persaud, who made the announcement yesterday…”.  Let me state categorically that I made no such announcement.

The operations of the MMU were managed by GECOM with funding from the Donor Community and with the endorsement of the Government.  Against this background it must be made abundantly clear that I had/have no authority to make any announcement whatsoever about the MMU as published in the article.  For emphasis let me repeat that I have no such authority.

The article also states that “The MMU has a staff of six and he said they were employed on a contractual basis, with the understanding that the project could be terminated.”  The employment contracts of the MMU’s employees provides for determination of the employment by either party.  The employment contracts do not make reference to termination of the “project” and I have not so indicated to the reporter.

The article quotes me as saying that “…There will be no cause for anyone going to the Labour Ministry”.  This gives the impression that I made the statement as was published.  What actually transpired is that the reporter asked whether the employees of the MMU could complain to any organisation about the determination of their employment.   I referred to the determination clause and pointed out that there would be no need for the employees to go to any organisation e.g. the Ministry of Labour, since such a move would not generate the desired results.

I shall be very grateful for your publication of this letter in order that the information published in the article in question could be put in correct perspective.

Yours faithfully,
Vishnu Persaud
Public Relations Officer