October 20, 2014

Licence to lie?

Mook attack

The Muckraker’s owner, Mook Lall, took his lies over the issuance of radio licences from New York to Curaçao. It was the same ole, same ole and he didn’t mention, of course, that he’d been denied his application on not one, but two grounds. First, he couldn’t even fill out the application form. Seriously. At least, he should’ve recognised his limitations and hired a broadcasting specialist. It looked real bad when to the question about “broadcast frequency” he filled in “all day”.

But the second reason was more damning: his character. In no country in the world will someone be granted a broadcast licence who has a “sketchy past” and was rumoured to be involved in “backtracking”, which is the local name for “trafficking in persons”. This, of course, was revealed in the WikiLeaks cables out of the Georgetown U.S. embassy.

And this is why the intervention by U.S. Ambassador Brent Hardt is troubling. First was his gratuitous dragging in the issue of the licences on “World Press Freedom Day” designated to highlight the dangers press personnel face. Since he couldn’t find anything amiss with the safety of local journalists, he should’ve simply commended the government. But he jumped onto the opposition bandwagon and showed he bought their line hook, line and sinker.

First, the line of the award of the licences.  Not a mention of the valid “sketchy past disqualification”. Then, for the ambassador to ignore the key role played by TVG Channel 28 to break the government radio monopoly is disingenuous. Is the ambassador saying that the radio licence awarded to that company via an Appellate Court order on an application made since 1993, was not “transparent”? Should the government agencies have challenged the decision in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)?

Then there’s the question of the number of frequencies awarded. Is the ambassador not aware of the need for “repeater” frequencies for those owners who want a national reach? Is it different in the U.S., or have they made the world flat, so that the effect of the earth’s curvature doesn’t have to be addressed? But most troubling of all was for him to ignore the experience of his own country in the award of broadcast licences in the face of all the new technologies now available.

In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has abandoned the “fairness doctrine” in the award of licences because of the new reality and left the process to “market forces”. All his intervention does is to encourage anarchy and unrest in Guyana. We hope this isn’t the goal of the U.S.

Expedience

Former Speaker of the Parliament, Ralph Ramkarran, who departed the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) after being bypassed as its presidential candidate, continues with his pot shots at his erstwhile comrades. We use the words “comrade” advisedly because Ramkarran was one of the old-line Marxists in the PPP/C. We wonder if he’s abandoned this also.

He chose to also weigh in on the radio licensing issue manufactured and kept alive by the opposition. After the U.S. ambassador, he commented on his blog site, which is reproduced weekly by the opposition Stabber News. Ramkarran starts off by wondering why the government wasn’t defending the award much more strenuously. It’s a good question and makes us wonder if the Attorney General Anil Nandlall’s statement at the U.S. ambassador’s residence was more than his usual coy fawning in the presence of the “white man”.

But Ramkarran did not offer any of the numerous substantive reasons why the government should defend the awards. Instead, he advised that in the face of the unopposed opposition onslaught, the government should throw in the towel.

And this fellow wanted to be president? Where are his principles?

Delta gone

As of today, Delta won’t be plying the Guyana-New York route. Its claim that the route wasn’t profitable doesn’t hold water in light of the exponential growth of its passenger haul since it set up shop here. What gives?  Mo’ pressure?

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