Region 10, government to meet on advancing implementation of Linden agreement

-TV station still not handed over to region

Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region 10 Sharma Solomon said the region is meeting the government this week to advance discussions on the Linden television station as well as on the technical committees agreed between the region and the government. The dish and transmitter for the station should have been transferred within fourteen days of the signing of the agreement in August.

In a comment to Stabroek News, Solomon said that the region and the government met last week but he remains dissatisfied with the pace of implementation of the agreement for the community.

Sharma Solomon

The parties are to meet this week to attempt to move forward on the implementation of the Linden agreement, including the television station and activating the Technical Review Committee and the Economic Review Committee, stalled for some months now.

“We are engaging government in discussions in terms of a lot of things to ensure that the agreement [signed between the government and the region on August 21, 2012] is honoured,” said Solomon when contacted by Stabroek News yesterday. “We are finding that the government is looking to frustrate the issue of the licensing of the television station,” he said. “However, the region is pressing ahead with all arrangements and we hope that government will honour what they agreed to,” he said.

On August 21, 2012, the government and Region 10 agreed that the dish and transmitter that were given to the Linden community would be handed over to the Region 10 Regional Democratic Council. The two pieces of equipment should have been transferred to the region within 14 days of the signing of the agreement.

It was also agreed that Region 10 would apply for a broadcasting licence and the government would facilitate the granting of that licence in keeping with the law.

“We met on Monday and we are to meet [this week] again to finalise the position on the Technical and Economic Review Committees and to have the actual handing over of the dish and the transmitter for the television station,” said Solomon.

Solomon said that two Thursdays ago the region voted to establish the Regional Information Management Committee. This committee, he said, will go to work to set up a board in partnership with the private sector entity that would be involved in the operation of the television station and for defining content. He said that the Regional Information Management Committee will not only be responsible for the television station but for information content in the region generally. He said that the committee would look towards establishing a regional newspaper that would be published on a weekly basis.

Solomon said that four persons have been identified for training and have been given an orientation in preparation for working at the station.

He said that the television station will be about getting the people of Region 10 information that they could use for their development. “The region is in discussion with other news agencies with a view to sharing information. The region will ensure that it fulfils the desire of the people denied for two decades,” said Solomon.

As a result of bickering between the government and opposition, not much has been achieved a full three months after the August 21, 2012 signing of an agreement between the government and Region Ten. The agreement between the two sides came as part of the efforts to bring normality to the town, which saw violent protests against the proposed escalation in electricity charges for Linden residents. The agreement would see those increases being put on hold until the work of the technical committee is complete.

Solomon said that the departure of Narvon Persaud, the Chairman of the Technical Review Committee and the non-appointment of the Chairman of the Economic Review Committee had been the primary considerations of the last engagement between the region and the government on Monday.

The technical committee is tasked with reviewing the existing provision and consumption of electricity in Linden, including the history, the costs, the tariff structure, and the subsidies; considering arrangements to provide electricity to the Linden community and the tariffs to sustain such arrangements within a sustainable time frame; examining Region 10′s economic circumstances inclusive of the affordability of increased costs; looking at the advantages and disadvantages of the integration of the supply of electricity in the Linden area into the national grid; and making recommendations on cost-saving measures and options for alternative energy, including the facilitation of conservation education and conservation.

The Economic Committee is tasked with examining all studies, all plans, all sectors and their resources in use, new resources and human resources and developing a sustainable development plan for Linden and Region 10. It is also supposed to review all initiatives, including LEAP and LEN, with the aim of gleaning lessons to be learnt from these initiatives and make recommendations for new initiatives. It will look at Linden and Region 10′s facilities and capacity for food self-sufficiency and to the extent feasible develop a plan for self-sufficiency as part of the Regional Development Plan. The committee would examine the employment situation of Linden in particular and Region 10 in general and make appropriate recommendations. It is also tasked with reviewing the existing framework within which private investment is attracted to Linden and Region 10 and make the appropriate recommendations. It will seek to identify the issues as they relate to policies, administrative capacity, skills development, investment climate, etc.

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