Write to the President instead, ensure balance

– Granger urges GINA employees

Leader of the Opposition David Granger is advising employees of the Government Information Agency (GINA) who had written to him pointing out that they have not been paid since April because of the cut on the 2013 budgetary allocation to that agency to write to President Donald Ramotar instead.

In an interview with Stabroek News yesterday, Granger maintained that the opposition was not going to restore funds to GINA unless the agency changes the way it broadcasts and reported balanced stories. He said, “We have said that GINA is not going to get state money if it’s not going to perform duties of the state as a whole… It is a state property.”

“My advice to the members of the staff of GINA, who wrote the letter, was to send the letter to the President of Guyana who has the responsibility for information, beseeching the President to restructure GINA and allow the journalists in GINA to perform in a professional manner. That is to listen to both sides of the house and give balanced reports,” Granger added.

In a letter dated June 13, 2013, and signed by the management and staff of GINA, the employees said that they were prompted by Granger’s comments that there was no effect from the cuts made by the joint opposition to the budgetary allocations of some agencies in the 2013 National Budget.

The staff said the cuts had badly affected their agency which had not paid employees since April.

They said in an effort to reduce the staff’s transportation expenses, the management had implemented a roster for them to work on alternate days during the week with only a skeleton staff on the weekends and they were worried about their job security and were suffering from low morale.

But Granger stated that GINA’s coverage was highly prejudicial, offensive and in some case abusive to members of the opposition. He added that he had cause to write the Speaker of the National Assembly on numerous occasions complaining about the type of coverage GINA provided on official matters taking place in Parliament.

He explained that “if the PPP wants a news agency well let the PPP pay GINA,” while adding that he “rejected the accusations in the letter.”

The Opposition Leader also said that he would like to advise GINA to approach the government to change its policy and “I want to give them the assurance that I will use my influence in the National Assembly to restore the allocations once they behave in a professional manner.”