There was no point in voicing disagreement with Broadcasting Bill when it had already been passed by National Assembly

Dear Editor,

It appears as though my letter captioned ‘I am a GNBA board member but I do not back Broadcasting Bill’ published in SN on August 19, clarifying an article carried in the Guyana Chronicle of August 18, seems to have hit a raw nerve in the Office of the Prime Minister, with the Prime Minister himself finding it necessary to author a whole page 2 article in the same newspaper, on Tuesday August 22, attacking my integrity, and going as far as to call me a hypocrite.

I had decided to leave well alone since I do not usually engage in repartee at this intellectually challenged level,  but I am duty bound to write this letter after reading the August 23, 2017 Guyana Chronicle’s middle page article headlined ‘Shadick never objected to broadcast bill at GNBA meeting’. When my name appears in big bold red print, in a daily newspaper in Guyana where I am well known, I cannot ignore the fact that people who read, may think that what is printed is true.

The article of August 23 does not have any identifiable author but quotes an anonymous director of GNBA who seems to have revealed verbatim, some of the deliberations of the board meeting which the Prime Minister attended. I wish to point out that my letter revealed no deliberations of the said meeting. Both articles mentioned above are riddled with such innuendo and inaccuracies that it behooves me to set the record straight. In the interest of brevity I list herein the main issues:

  1. I was coerced into writing my letter of August 19, 2017.

Anyone who has ever had any contact with me knows that I cannot be ‘coerced’ by anybody. I am quite capable of thinking for myself and acting on my own volition. Mr Nandlall forwarded my letter as he has better access to the media. I do not make comments through any third party.

  1. My only comment at the board meeting to the Prime Minister was “the room is small”.

Of course I said that, since the Prime Minister sat inches away from me throughout the meeting with his knees practically touching mine at an inadequate table, in a boardroom which can hardly accommodate the seven board members and the three or four technical officers, much less the PM and his press corps with tripod and cameras et al.

But that comment was only a short sentence of a discussion about the inadequacy of the present location of the GNBA compared to the premises previously occupied and the need for the Authority to have a permanent home with adequate space, security and an alternative energy supply. I reminded the board of the PPP/C administration’s plan before 2015, to construct a new building at upper Hadfield Street with funding from NFMU which owned the land.

  1. I did not voice disagreement with the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill at the meeting.

What purpose could have been served by this? The Bill had already been passed by the National Assembly. I try not to waste time at any meeting. If the PM was looking for validation he could not have expected any from me. The opposition PPP/C of which I am an integral part, had already pronounced on the unconstitutionality of the amendments.

  1. “According to Nagamootoo, as a former minister and party activist, Shadick and Nandlall bear responsibility for not removing from the Principal Act anything which they now perceive to be unconstitutional…”

Apparently the PM cannot differentiate between the Amendments and the Principal Act.  My letter stated, “personally I consider the amendments to be unconstitutional” and is correctly quoted by the PM in his August 22, 2017 article.

  1. “Ms Shadick as part of the PPP cabal has a vested interest…”

Do I need to remind the Prime Minister that he was a proud member of the same PPP cabal for, according to his utterances, fifty or more years and only left when he was thwarted in his bid to become its presidential candidate? Doesn’t the word ‘hypocrite’ better describe him?

  1. After Mr Nagamootoo left the PPP ‘cabal’ and joined the AFC, they did not take as long to put him on their nomination list, as he took to appoint me to the GNBA Board. I know he has tried to blame the process and cabinet, etc, but I still maintain that the delay was deliberately engineered by him to give his board appointees time to finish the recommendations, working even over the Easter weekend.
  2. “It was under her chairmanship that regulations were made to increase fees…” Under my chairmanship regulations were made to fix fees, not increase what never existed before.

In closing, I wish to remind the Prime Minister et al that as a “lawyer of some vintage in private practice”, a retired teacher and lecturer, former minister, proud member of the PPP ‘cabal’ and the independent, intelligent, capable child of ‘Leguan grasscutters’, that I have proved my loyalty, integrity and ability to the Guyanese people.

This is my last word on this issue, no matter how many other articles appear in the Guyana Chronicle.

Yours faithfully,

Bibi Safora Shadick

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