Sherod Duncan, the recently-appointed General Manager of the Guyana National Newspapers Limited (GNNL), the publisher of the Guyana Chronicle, has said he was not privy to any special treatment or given any advantage during the interviewing process for the position, despite being a sitting member of the entity’s board.
Duncan, in an invited comment, told Stabroek News that he applied to fill the vacancy of General Manager since May, 2017, while he was appointed as a member or the board in June, 2017.
“I don’t think I had any advantages for this position. What happened, I believe, was that I think I was a disadvantaged because the board agreed to reopen applications to select from a wider pool of applicants…,” he explained.
According to Duncan, who took up the position on June 1st, 2018, he was never involved in any discussion of hiring a General Manager while he sat as member of the board. He noted that whenever the topic was up for discussion, he would excuse himself from meetings to ensure there was fairness and transparency in the process.
Duncan stressed further that he does not see any conflict of interest with him being the General Manager since the life of the board expired on May 29th.
Additionally, Duncan, who is also a city councillor, told this newspaper that he does not plan to use his position to influence the reportage on City Hall. On this note, he vowed to be objective on matters and policies discussed at city meetings.
“I was a member of the board and I never tried to influence the reporting and I won’t practice that now. The editorial department has their work to do and I have my work to do, that is, to manage the operations of the newspaper and make it the best it can be,” he said.
The councillor for Constituency 14 (South Ruimveldt Park/Ruimveldt Industrial Site), Duncan earned his seat at the March 18th, 2016 local government elections as the first-past-the-post candidate representing the APNU+AFC coalition.
He was elected Deputy Mayor on April 1st, 2016 and spent much of his year in the post in conflict with Mayor Patricia Chase-Green though they both represent the ruling APNU+AFC coalition.
Duncan said he would not be returning to his constituency and requesting its support at the upcoming Local Government Elections slated for later this year. He said he is looking to complete his tenure as constituency councillor and then direct his energies to his position as general manager.
Upon taking up his seat as a councillor, Duncan had been openly critical of the city’s metered parking project. He had argued that the sourcing of the contractor was not transparent and questioned the legitimacy of the contract between the city and Smart City Solutions for the project.
Prior to taking up the position as General Manager at the GNNL, Duncan worked as Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Business.