by Zena Henry
Lindeners are set to have back their own television station by August, according to Prime Minister and Vice President Moses Nagamootoo.
The administration reaffirmed its 100 day promise in his speech in Parliament Wednesday June 25 during the second sitting of the National Assembly.
The PM noted that the government is committed to making good on its promise to Linden saying that it is, “It is a job in progress.” Nagamootoo, who is also the Minister of Information, updated that, “For now, we are trying to repair the communication transmission system and we are trying to set this television transmitter and all facilities in a way that we can have heightened transmission service.”
The Information Minister said that he has asked for the expeditious correction of the Linden situation and this would entail the restructuring of the Broadcasting Authority, which is tasked with reviewing the Linden television application.
Donated by the US-based Green Construction Company to Linden, Region 10 about two decades ago, the station was eventually taken over by the government and shut down. Residents now only consume content from the state-owned National Communications Network (NCN).
The PM said many years ago Linden had their own television facilities where residents benefited from two stations. “I believe the time has come when we return Linden television station to the people of Linden for programs they desire and to serve their needs.”
The return of the television station to the Region 10 Council was one of the terms of a peace-deal that was inked by government and the Regional Council following a violent unrest in that town over now aborted plans by government to hike electricity rates by reducing the state subsidy.
The Region 10 administration has already constructed a building to house the TV station.
Outside of that the minister was pleased to announce the continued reform of the former “propaganda stick and political rag:” the Guyana Chronicle newspaper. The government, while in opposition, had lambasted state media agencies for what they described as biased and politically charged reporting.
As Minister of Information, Nagamootoo said that no state agency will pay individuals to monitor phone calls, to wire tap or intercept Facebook messages, “and to do things that are not within the domain of public information.” These inconsistencies were recently revealed by the government to be occurring under the previous administration.
Nagamootoo informed the Assembly that propaganda ads for political parties will no longer be the line for GINA. He charged that, “Because of the poor performance of the GINA, it has become a heavy lead pulling down the National Communication Network (NCN) and state newspaper Chronicle, because huge sums of money paid to the GINA to remit and transmit …has never been paid over.”
An investigation has been launched into this matter, he said, since GINA owes Chronicle alone some $76M. “It is unacceptable that we can have such an abuse of taking ads, booking out ads and not ensuring they are paid.” He suspected that many of those ads, under the former administration were done during elections period as propaganda material.