PM says ‘finished’ with Linden TV licence grant

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo yesterday said that he was “finished” as it relates to the granting of a television licence to the mining town of Linden and referred all questions to Sharma Solomon and the board of Region Ten Broadcasting Inc (RTBI).

“I wouldn’t comment on that; ask the Linden committee,” Nagamootoo said when approached on the issue by Stabroek News on the outskirts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Heads of Mission Conference at the Pegasus Hotel yesterday. “There is a board and they met outside of me. I cannot interfere in the affairs of the board…ask Mr Sharma and company,” the Prime Minister added.

The meeting the Prime Minister was referring to was held last Friday and was abruptly adjourned over the failure Solomon, a founding director, to provide other directors with the “articles of association” for RTBI.

Solomon has not publicly commented on the situation, which the coalition government had promised to resolve within the first 100 days in office.

“I am finished with that. As far as my side is concerned, I have gone to the stage of having the third meeting among the stakeholders and the Chairman of the GNBA [Guyana National Broadcasting Authority] Board. They were supposed to do certain things.

“They met in Linden, I don’t have a report of what happened in Linden but for sure I am emphasising that the issue for having a licence for the Region Ten television is an issue that remains within the remit of the board,” Nagamootoo said.

Stabroek News was told by a source on Friday that the meeting was convened to elect a chairperson and a company secretary of the RTBI but ended with no decisions being made after several directors walked out.

According to the source, the directors had requested from Solomon documentation on how the board was to be constituted and function so that their actions would at all times be in keeping with their mandate. However, he reportedly failed to provide the documents after promising to do so and the directors decided that in such an instance it would not be prudent to make any decisions.

It was indicated that several directors are concerned that the board may not be a true legal entity and thus may be unable to make legally binding decisions.

However, Regional Member of Parliament and Board Member Jermaine Figueira denied that there were concerns about the legality of the board. But he did confirm that the meeting was adjourned after Solomon failed to provide the promised document.

Director of Public Information (DPI) Imran Khan, who works out of the office of the Prime Minister, in his Guyana Chronicle column last Wednesday had expressed optimism that the issues would have been ironed out on Friday, paving the way for the granting of the licence.

It has now been four and a half years after an agreement was signed for the people of Linden to have their own television station as part of the pact with the then PPP/C government following bitter protests and the deaths of three men in 2012.  While some blame the current administration for failing to get the licence issued, others are blaming the people of Linden who continue to squabble over the composition of the Board of Trustees of the RTBI.

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