Craig’s letter contained numerous areas of misinformation

Dear Editor,

I refer to the pointless letter from Leonard Craig, the former Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcast Authority (GNBA)  (‘Definitions of broadcasting across the globe…’ SN, November 28).  This letter contains numerous areas of misinformation, eg, CATV was used in the US for transmitting cable signals. This is total hogwash. These CATV frequencies from Channel A/14 at 121 MHz, to CH W/36 at 295 MHz can only be used if they are locked away in a cable; they cannot legally be transmitted over the air. Guyanese will be aware of Channel 28 or Channel O presently being aired in Guyana. In 1995-6 when Mr Sam Hinds outlined the air channel allocations for Guyana and the CATV Channel 28 which I was using was identified by him as not for broadcast but for use only in cable systems, ie only used when these frequencies are locked away in a cable, he was right, but he was wrong to allocate frequencies to everyone else ‒ Sharma, McKay, Rambarran ‒ but left me out of the reallocation, since I was, according to Mr Keith Massiah, the first among equals. So at that time, when Hinds was redefining the broadcast spectrum and moving Sharma from Channel 12 to Channel 6, I was left out, forcing me to go to court to seek redress. The Appeal Court then awarded me Channel 28 as my personal property.

Mr Craig does not recognize the definition of broadcasting and cable and obscures the situation by going back all the way to 1946 and some obscure case regarding the origin of CATV. But today’s Wikipedia encyclopedia defines cable (CATV) as being distinct from broadcasting, eg, “Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to paying subscribers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables or, in the 2010s, light pulses through fibre-optic cables.

This contrasts with broadcast television, in which the television signal is transmitted over the air by radio waves and received by a television antenna attached to the television.”

But this letter is typical of the nonsense he forced the directors of the GNBA to tolerate for nearly two years and which has stymied its work, as has now been found by Brig-Gen (retd) Joe Singh.

I maintain that broadcasting should never be confused with wireless cable as has happened in Guyana, since nowhere in this world did any country which I know of, allocate 8 broadcast frequencies in the UHF band between channels UHF 36 to 49 as happened here.

This has denied our granting TV licences at these frequencies and his erroneous contentions do not explain why in the USA even today after they have converted to digital broadcasting, they have reserved channels 14 to 70 in the UHF band for broadcasting. But in Guyana where we have not introduced digital broadcasting we have available for broadcasting only Channels 14 to 50.  Not satisfied with this huge revocation of frequency for the broadcasting of Channels 14 to 83 in analog and 14 to 70 in digital broadcasting as is the US current allocation (I am using US frequencies and allocations since Guyana uses the United States television standards ‒ the National Television Standards Committee ‒ for our TV services) so we always have to look to the US for guidance as to how we should proceed. But since we have not yet converted to digital our National Frequency Management Unit, which Craig says is the competent authority for broadcasting in Guyana, which I dispute ‒ not their statutory authority, but their functional or more accurately dysfunctional authority ‒ not happy with awarding channels UHF 50 to 83 to telecommunications without proper consultation or compensation to the people of Guyana, then allocates 8 broadcast channels between 14 to 50 to E-Networks for cable use. Begging the question what exactly is Mr Craig’s agenda in this matter? It certainly cannot be the regulation of broadcasting.

So I want him to tell us where in the world are cable systems allowed to transmit in the broadcast band as has E-Networks, and are occupying Channels, 36, 37, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, as is happening in Guyana. When this happens people are affected, since we are giving away broadcast frequencies which are for the use of everyone, to people who are charging monthly subscriptions to see that transmission which is not broadcast. In a poor country like Guyana this cannot be right or fair.

Sir Fenton Ramsahoye tells me that in writing laws, a country can, for the purposes of context, legally use a definition which may not be accurate technically, but in the instant case the perversion was not to put the provisions of the act into context, but to distort the definition of broadcasting to allow the wrong allocation of frequency to E-Networks.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Vieira


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