I respond to an aspect of Orrin Gordon’s letter ‘A very useful plant was given away with nothing coming to the community’ (SN, April 13). The area being addressed is his comment on the matter of the Linden television station where he holds the view that I have taken “a young MP to task.”
Mr Gordon knows me long enough to know when it comes to matters of universal principles, rights, and the rule of law there is no sacred space or sacred cow to prevent me from going there or holding persons to account. The MP in question is Jermaine Figueira, who was part of a group that included Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland, Regional Chairman (Region 10) Renis Morian, and CDC Deputy Director Sandra Adams who walked out from the Region 10 Broadcasting Trust Company’s 31st March meeting because their wish for an open vote was not agreed to.
That meeting was called specifically to appoint the chairman, vice-chairman and secretary of the Board. The majority of the members agreed that these appointments would be made by votes, and the ballot would be secret. This is a universally accepted principle in balloting, which the four wanted to be cast aside, and walked out in protest at it being respected.
Mr Figueira needs no singling out for attention because of age, or protection from being held to account like his fellow colleagues, all of whom were named alongside him in my Sunday column, ‘The power-grabbing effort to control Linden television station.’ This matter is about being right or wrong and holding public officials, who are paid by our taxes, to do right by the people.
The agreement with central government to return the television station to the people of Linden/Region 10 was sealed with their blood, sweat, and tears on 21st August 2012. Further, I am contending that the act of the four is another deliberate attempt by the APNU+AFC government to prevent the returning of the station to the people, similar to what the PPP/C government did. And here are the reasons:
First, the government said it was approached and asked to broaden membership of the Trust before the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) could grant the licence. Then the GNBA immersed itself in the internal affairs of the Trust on the false pretext that a conflict exists, and the issuance of the licence hinged on its resolution. The facts are: 1) the Trust is a private entity, duly established and registered under the law; 2) the GNBA under the Broadcasting Act only has jurisdiction or supervisory authority over a licensee.
The Trust does not have a broadcasting licence. The Trust knows of the proposed assignment of the channel/frequency which is the responsibility of the Frequency Management Unit.
Secondly, the anti-democratic antics by the four to prevent the Trust from proceeding with a vote to elect its leadership, after extending its membership at the request of the Prime Minister, was another strategy to delay and deny.
In summation, the Trust is a legal private entity and fits eligibility for a licence consistent with Section 23 (1) of the Broadcasting Act; government has no business interfering in the composition of a private entity; and there was no licence issued, hence the GNBA had no business in the affairs of the Trust. The government continues to find excuses not to return the people’s television to them, until, like the PPP/C, they can control what the people hear, see and feel about themselves and by extension their self-worth and development.
The growth of this nation requires its citizens to hold leaders to account and be uncompromising in their positions on matters pertaining to their welfare that are protected in the laws.