October 1, 2016

Controversy brews over Region 10 television station

– Chairman calls for cease order

BY UTAMU BELLE

While residents of Linden and the rest of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) may be a step closer to owning their own television station, there appears to be controversy surrounding its establishment.

This was revealed by Regional Chairman Renis Morian, who indicated that he is concerned after learning that the station is about to be handed over to a “private individual.” Speaking with Guyana Times on the issue, Morian said that he was informed that “individuals” are presently moving to set up a dish at the station’s Richmond Hill location; however he indicated that he has no knowledge of who those persons are. Morian stated too, that the persons are not from within the region and a trial run of the station is set for this weekend. As such, he is calling for a cease order on the proceedings.

“You would recall that when residents of Region 10, through the then leaders, made the open cry to access a station for themselves. This was not to be had or managed by any private individual to benefit a private person, but this was to benefit the residents and people of Region 10,” Morian stated regarding the issue.

“I’m in receipt of a letter from the Guyana Broadcasting Authority and this letter tells me that the television broadcasting station, permission has been granted by the governing board above named authority, subject to the licence agreement. Please be informed that you will be notified at a later date of any other obligations on which permission was given to operate,” the letter stated.

According to the Regional Chariman, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) is the authority managing the affairs of Region 10, hence any handing over, discussions or otherwise pertaining to licence establishment of a television station in the region should be channelled through his office.

“We haven’t had any discussion with any private investor, hence I’m calling on the office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of the Presidency to look into this matter with immediate effect because on behalf of the residents of Region 10, we don’t want the station to be operated by any private group outside of Linden,” Morian said.
He added that if there is any agreement concerning the establishment of the television station, in moving forward, it should be arrived at following consultations with the people of the region and the RDC.

“The benefit must come to the people of Region 10 and we would want to have a broad-based Committee representing the people of Linden to manage this entity.

Morian added that a lot has been happening “under the radar”, and called for those involved to channel correspondence to his office and by extension the Linden Mayor and Town Council. “It cannot be to benefit one individual… this has to benefit the people of Region 10…”

He added that while discussions would have been ongoing with the previous Administration, there needs to be continuity under the present, however, the Regional Chairman established that there was no such continuity under his stewardship as it relates to the television station.

A television station for the region formed part of the August 21, 2012 Agreement signed unto between the previous Administration and the region, under the stewardship of former Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon. The Region 10 Broadcasting Inc was then establishment in an effort to advance the setting up of the station for which Solomon serves as one of the Directors. Last July, Head of the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU), Valmiki Singh advised that the RBI could be assigned a channel for use as a regional television channel which gave clearance for the station to be established. According to the Government Information Agency, Singh gave the technical recommendations during talks with the former Regional Chairman while a tripartite meeting was convened by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who holds the information and telecommunications portfolios.

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