Pass was required to photograph the Nationals

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday, November 22, I visited the National Stadium as I usually do when Nationals are held there, to give independent photographic coverage to promote Guyana to the world. I managed to capture photos of the day’s events. During the process I was approached by Mr Ceon Bristol who is on my list of contacts, and he enquired if I had a pass to be in the ground. I didn’t respond because I didn’t think he was serious. He is well aware of my presence and work over the years.

On Wednesday, November 23, I made my way over to the section for the ground staff, and while we were in conversation, Mr Bristol showed up from the other end of the ground to speak to the ground staff. He then turned to me in the presence of three ground staff and said that if he saw me in any part of the ground taking photos, he would have the police escort me off.

He also said he had noticed me on Tuesday taking photos of the athletes’ medal ceremonies and that I should not have been there. He asked if I didn’t know that I had to get a pass from Mr Edison Jefford, and I responded that I didn’t have anything to lose if I didn’t do any photographic coverage.

I made a phone call explaining to someone what had transpired, and I was supplied with a number for Mr Jefford.

I noticed Mr Sham, an athletics coach, and explained to him my experience and his words to me were that he could not do anything because Mr Bristol was in charge. I made a call to an executive member of the Guyana Olympic Association and again I was told, they had no part to play in the Nationals and there was nothing that could be done from their end; it was an event solely controlled by the GTU and the Ministry of Education and Sport.

I proceeded to call Mr Jefford, and as I was explaining my dilemma, the phone ran out of credit.

At that moment, I made a decision to sit it out for the day. The sad part was to look on at events and not take any photos of the athletes in action from all ten administrative regions of Guyana. It’s not for my gain, but for athletes to have something to look back at 15 years from now; it is something which I have been doing for a number of years now.

As much as former Minister of Sport, Dr Frank Anthony and Director of Sport, Mr Neil Kumar might not have been the best at what they represented, I have never experienced such a tragedy under their watch. Mr Colin Bynoe, former President of the Guyana Teachers Union and now CEO of the New Amsterdam Hospital, can also attest to my photographic contribution over the years, and never under his watch was I regarded as a threat to security.

At exactly 2.09 pm, a senior member of staff of the Guyana National Stadium showed up to have meals delivered to his staff and to my shock in the presence of everyone, he tried to hand me a pass, and said someone by the name of Bristol had sent the pass for me to wear. My response to him was that as much as I appreciated what he was doing, he should not get further involved and should return it to the sender telling the person that I don’t need it.

Mr Mark Lyte, President of the Guyana Teachers Union was on Capitol News saying that the 2016 Jubilee Nationals were poorly attended and he appealed for support from the general public and family members.

There I was in support, even taking it to a higher level by producing independent photographic coverage free of cost, and just look at what I experienced.

I will state for the record that I was also in attendance at the swimming part of the Nationals at the Aquatic Centre on Monday, November 21, and absolutely no one approached me saying I had to get a special pass. Mr Jefford was also in attendance and he never approached me on this subject because he also knows about my relationship over the years with sports. I have done my independent work for rugby, indoor and outdoor hockey, cricket, swimming, soccer, pee wee football, marathons, cycling, and almost all the development athletics meets at the Leonora Synthetic Track, and never did I have to have this special pass.

For the record, I didn’t require a special pass when former President Donald Ramotar commissioned the Leonora Synthetic track.

I say publicly that I have absolutely nothing to lose from all of this because so much is happening on the international circuit that none of us can keep up with it all.

 

Yours faithfully,

T Pemberton

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