The Finance Controller of the state-owned Guyana National Newspapers Limited (GNNL), publisher of the Guyana Chronicle newspaper, was Monday morning issued a dismissal letter.
Morshmi Ramotar was given marching orders following a weekend disclosure of financial records showing that General Manager, Sherod Duncan has been responsible for expenses totalling GY$5 million.
Her lawyer, Sanjeev Datadin confirmed that she was dismissed with immediate effect and no reason was given.
The decision to fire Ramotar, according to sources, followed the involvement of the Information Technology Department in checking several computers at the Lama Avenue Bel Air Park offices of GNNL.
Duncan has defended the spending, saying that everything is above board and, with the knowledge of the Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, is part of a push by the newspaper to become more competitive and have a heightened presence on Social Media.
Sources indicate that neither Duncan-who is on probation- or anyone else in management could arbitrarily fire the Finance Controller without the endorsement of the Board of Directors or the Prime Minister, in the absence of the Board.
More than GY$600,000 have been spent on upgrading the Guyana Chronicle’s website and Facebook page.
The company also spent more than GY$300,000 in furniture including a rocker.
Laptops, an Apple IPad, headphones and other items were also purchased for the Social Media department which is to be integrated in the Editorial Department.
In what appears to have been not so subtle admission that the company has spent huge sums of money for the year and could not afford to continue do so, staff were told that from September, “austerity measures” would be introduced. “We have recognised that certain costs have had a huge variance over our previous year’s spending and we are asking that yoyr support to our austerity measures would play a great role in realising some of the ideas that we have for the company”.
Overtime, meal allowance, telephone, electricity, and fuel and lubricants are among the expenses that have been identified for reduction.