Hours after the Guyana Press Association (GPA) called out the Government over the delay in issuing press passes for media operatives in 2018, the Department of Public Information (DPI), responded in a missive asserting that the accreditation of media personnel is the GPA’s responsibility.
According to the DPI statement it had been decided during the January 30, 2018 meeting with the GPA and DPI’s Director Imran Khan that the association would accredit media passes but the Government will provide funds.
“Mr Khan conveyed that it is the responsibility of the GPA to ensure that its members are duly accredited by whatever mechanism it chooses. Aware of the financial constraints of the GPA, and the not unsubstantial cost of producing the media passes, Mr. Khan, in good faith, offered to the GPA, government’s assistance in the form of covering the cost of the production of the media accreditation cards only” the statement said.
Moreover, it was stated that Khan proposed to the GPA that it should decide on its process for receiving applications, reviewing and approving same and either send a list with the relevant information for DPI to produce the cards and return to the GPA for distribution or the GPA could produce the cards at a provider of their choice and DPI would cover the cost -providing that the relevant quotations are submitted beforehand and approved.
Khan, according to the missive, explained that given that this proposal involved the use of government funds (budgeted for in 2018) it required ministerial sanction, but Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootooo, the subject minister, was overseas for a medical procedure while Vice President, Carl Greenidge was acting in his capacity.
It was explained that in addition to a hectic travel schedule Greenidge was busy attending to matters relating to Guyana’s defence of its territorial integrity, among others, and only “belatedly had an opportunity to review the agreement document drafted by the GPA.”
By this time, the DPI said that Nagamootoo had returned to Guyana and assumed his substantive function and has been attending to a “considerable backlog of matters.”
DPI also noted too that during the meeting with the GPA, Khan proposed that for events such as post-Cabinet press conferences and other high level events, a special level of accreditation should be done for select members of the media who cover these events, as this was similar to the higher level of accreditation for the White House Press Corps in the United States.
However, the DPI said that this was strongly resisted by the GPA executives present who were adamant that all media personnel, with their standard media accreditation, should be permitted to cover all events regardless of the nature or stature.
As such, the DPI Director agreed to same on the conditions that GPA sends a list to the State media of all press officers accredited by the association so that they[ DPI] can distribute to all ministries and government offices and that all the operatives receive clearance by the Guyana Police Force.
Meanwhile, GPA in another statement asserted that “the statement made by Mr Khan and DPI does not reflect the accuracy of the January 30th, 2018 meeting” and that they “are prepared to address the statement once [they] have met as an executive.”
Media operatives are yet to receive accreditation for 2018 even though five months have already passed.