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Region 10 applies for TV licence

Chairman of the Region 10 Democratic Council, Sharma Solomon

Region 10 Chairman, Sharma Solomon says his regional administration has applied for a television licence.

Solomon said Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon has confirmed that the application has been passed on to the Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), Bibi Shadick.

He said his decision to enquire from the Office of the President was prompted by Shadick’s remarks that she had not received an application from Region 10. Sharma said “all the necessary documents” have been submitted since September 18. “I sent Dr. Luncheon a note who assured me that he had submitted this to Mr. Shadick,” he said.

Sharma and other negotiators had strenuously refused to directly apply to the GNBA, saying they had received a commitment from the government that approval would have been granted for the return of their TV transmitter that had been donated to the community by Green Construction Company and granted permission to resume broadcasting. Initial efforts to apply through the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) were not successful because by that time the GNBA had been already established.

Whenever the RDC 10 Council’s TV station begins operation, it will almost certainly be a battle by politicians to win the hearts and minds of residents there. Already, the Alliance For Change (AFC) has a radio programme on a recently established station there. The state-owned National Communications Network’s (NCN) radio and television has been known for propagating government views largely to the exclusion of critics.

He credited the ongoing discussions between the Region 10 Council and central government with bearing fruit although slowly. “We are recognizing that the discussions are bearing some movement and I must admit frustratingly so,” he said. Among them is attention government is paying to the condition of the Linden-Soesdyke Highway, Ituni-Kwakwani Road and the reconstruction of the Moblissa Road by the Chinese company, Bai Shan Lin.

A Technical Committee to examine the feasibility of hiking electricity rates for Lindeners by phasing out the subsidy has been established but government and the RDC 10 are deadlocked on who should be the chairman. Government’s nominee is Clinton Williams and the RDC’s is Geotechnical Engineer and Groundwater Hydrologist, Charles Ceres.

The talks between government and the Region 10 RDC stemmed from the August 2012 unrest in Linden that had been sparked off by violent protests against a then proposed hike in electricity tariffs. Several government buildings were burnt down after clashes between police and protesters on the Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge had left three civilians dead.

The RDC is expected to submit draft terms of reference for the Region 10 Land Selection Committee.