The Ministry of the Presidency (MoTP) yesterday rejected a Stabroek News editorial in Monday’s edition of the newspaper which criticised the absence of press conferences by President David Granger.
“The Ministry of the Presidency (MotP) rejects the malicious misdirection peddled by the Stabroek News’ Editorial on July 9, 2018, which seeks to falsely project the media as nuisances to the President. This cannot be further from the truth since the President makes an effort as regular as possible to engage members of the media, particularly during public exercises”, a statement from MoTP said yesterday.
The Stabroek News editorial did not seek to project the media as nuisances to the President. It stated in part “The media corps must not be treated as if they are an irritant to the Presidency and be made to make do with a hurried minute here and another on the way to the presidential vehicle”.
The MoTP statement said that the assertion in the editorial that the number of Presidential Press conferences is a lack of demonstration of accountability to the people is absurd.
“The Ministry takes this opportunity to remind Stabroek News of the weekly Post Cabinet briefings, which are held to update the media and by extension, members of the public on deliberations and decisions of Cabinet by the Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, who is the chief spokesperson for the Government. This does not take into account the extensive speeches and publications produced by the President and the Ministry of the Presidency”.
In a comment, Stabroek News Editor-in-Chief Anand Persaud said the newspaper stood behind the editorial. He said that the President has to be accountable to the country through the media and there is no substitute for this. He also pointed out that post-cabinet press briefings are not held weekly.
The MoTP statement added “The David Granger led administration since its assumption to office has been nothing but transparent and accountable to the citizens and in so doing, has empowered the Ministers of Government to speak on their respective portfolios unabated.
“What is important to question is the motive of such an editorial. The Stabroek News, which champions itself as a balanced and fair newspaper deliberately ignores the numerous avenues through which information on the Government’s business are available, among them being the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Public Information and Press Services of the Ministry of the Presidency which provide content on a daily basis.
“The Ministry of the Presidency uses this opportunity to reiterate the President’s commitment to engaging the members of the media, whom he holds in high esteem, in an effort to provide accurate information to the Guyanese public. The Head of State also remains open to requests for interviews in this regard”.