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Senior PNCR official apologises to Guyana Chronicle reporter for F-bombs but calls newspaper “political rag”

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 April 2023, 8:46 by Denis Chabrol

Ms Carol Smith-Joseph

The Chief Scrutineer of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Thursday publicly apologised to Guyana Chronicle’s Chief Reporter, Tamica Garnett for cursing her when she called to ask a question related to Local Government Elections (LGE).

“As woman to another woman, I wish to apologize for my outburst when Ms. Tamica Garnett called me yesterday on my personal and private phone,” Ms Carol Smith-Joseph said in a statement issued Thursday morning ahead of the Opposition Leader’s Office news conference. Most of Guyana’s politicians including the President, Ministers, Opposition Leader and other parliamentarians accept reporters’ calls on their mobile phones.

The Guyana Press Association (GPA), which condemned Ms Joseph-Smith’s outburst, demanded an apology from PNCR and Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton or he would have been regarded as complicit.

In her statement, Ms Smith-Joseph sought to reassure that she does not disrespect women but could not hold the State-owned and government-controlled Guyana Chronicle newspaper in high esteem. “I wish to state that I respect all women but cannot be respectful to the Chronicle which is a media house that promotes and supports PPP oppression of the people of Guyana,” she said.;

She deemed the Guyana Chronicle a “political rag that is doing the bidding of the PPP, including supporting trumped up charges against its political opponents and supporting the dictatorial PPP regime. “In this regard one can hardly find language to address the egregious behavior of the “Guyana Chronicle”,” she said.

Ms Smith-Joseph is before the court on financial and electoral fraud charges. PNCR member Volda Lawrence and several other then senior officials of the Guyana Elections Commission are also before the court on election fraud charges.

The Guyana Chronicle, state-owned radio and television stations under successive PNC, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and APNU+Alliance For Change-led administrations largely censor or put an adverse spin on opposition views.

The Guyana Press Association’s condemnation of Ms Smith-Joseph’s attack on Ms Garnett and the Guyana Chronicle came less than one week after 26 civil society activists, the Guyana Press Association and the Working People’s Alliance condemned the PPP cyberbullying journalists Davina Bagot and Nazima Raghubir after they had asked questions that top officials of the PPP administration had found uncomfortable.

The Guyana Chronicle, which did not publish the GPA’s condemnation of the attacks on Ms Bagot and Ms Raghubir, on Thursday used selective parts of that association’s statement on the cursing of Ms Garnett. “This attack on Ms Garnett marks a new low in relations between the media and the political directorate in Guyana. It is now apparent that the transgressions against the media by the People’s Progressive Party and the PNCR/APNU is the one common feature both political parties share,” the GPA said but was omitted by the Chronicle.

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April 2023