Chairperson of the governing board of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) Bibi Shadick and Managing Director of the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) Valmikki Singh handed out several broadcasting licences yesterday at the NFMU’s head office. Five licences were granted to television service providers TVG Guyana Inc (Channel 28), GWTV (Channel 2), Pinnacle Communications, Multi Technology Vision (MTV Channel 65) and CNS (Channel 6); two to radio operators Radio Guyana Inc and Telecor Cultural Inc; and two to cable providers Atlantic Cable Network and E-Networks Inc.
Representatives from TVG and Radio Guyana were present to accept the licences on behalf of owner Dr Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, while reporters for some media houses represented at the press conference collected for their respective entities. Those licenses that were not physically presented to an owner or representative, Shadick noted,
could be picked up at the NFMU’s head office.
While the licences have been handed over, Pinnacle, owned by businessman Alfro Alphonso and Telecor Cultural Inc, which was registered by its Secretary Omkar Lochan, who is also the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, are yet to start broadcasting. Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud reportedly has ties to Telecor, through his sister and wife, currently the General Manager of MTV 65. Shadick said the licences were “ready before, but the law says that we have to advertise in the Official Gazette… These licenses that we are handing out today are listed to be advertised in the Gazette tomorrow so the date that I put on the licence is the Gazette date [and] not necessarily the date that I signed it.” She had originally held a press conference earlier in October revealing the new licence holders along with eight current broadcasters who were delinquent in submitting all of the relevant paperwork necessary to obtain licences through the GNBA.
Shadick noted that the law requires that both the broadcasting and the frequency licences must be displayed prominently in the place of business. Shadick first handed over the broadcasting licenses with the affixed seal while Singh handed over the frequency licences.
The governing board’s chairperson stated that while this time around the GNBA decided to gazette the licence holders prior to handing over the licences this may not be the case in the future. She said it may be that the GNBA signs the date the licence was issued regardless of when it would be gazetted.
Shadick did not mention if the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN), STVS Channel 4, the Learning Channel, NTN Channel 69, Jacob Rambarran Broadcasting Systems, WRHM Channel 7, Tarzie Transmissions (out of Bartica) and the New Guyana Company Limited (the PPP/C-aligned media corporation) were any closer to resolving their shortcomings by the October 31 deadline to have all paperwork and payment in order. She did say that the GNBA and the NFMU would have to wait and see.
The NFMU will be responsible for how many frequencies on the spectrum are being used and is charged with monitoring if persons abuse the system by attempting to broadcast off other or additional frequencies.