By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – A group of fresh faces was elected on Sunday, March 01 to serve on the Executive of the Guyana Press Association (GPA) at its first Annual General Meeting in close to five years.
Taking over from Gordon Moseley, the new President of the GPA is Editor of Capitol News, Neil Marks who was elected unopposed while Samantha Alleyne from Stabroek News was elected as Vice President; Iva Wharton of Capitol News was elected Secretary; Gaulbert Sutherland of Stabroek News was elected Treasurer and Editor of iNews, Fareeza Haniff was elected as Assistant Secretary Treasurer.
Other members making up the new Executive are Enrico Woolford of Capitol News, Leon Horatio of the Guyana Chronicle, Dennis Chabrol of Demerara Waves and former Treasurer of the GPA Nazima Raghubir.
During the AGM, which was held at the Theatre Guild, Moseley and Raghubir emphasized the need for more resources for the GPA.
It was noted that the current membership fee of $200 per month was woefully inadequate. This sparked a discussion over the possibility of a higher fee but due to some constitutional technicalities, no decision was made on how much the fees should be increased to; however it was agreed that a vote will be taken on the matter at the next meeting.
The outgoing President urged journalists to become more involved in the GPA as he pointed out that some journalists only turn to the GPA when something is needed.
Moseley called for there to be responsible journalism especially during Guyana’s elections period and for politicians to show some amount of respect for media operatives.
“I don’t think you should expect that every time there’s an issue, there’s this release that comes out for whatever purpose; we’re here to support you and that’s what we’ve been doing,” said Moseley.
Meanwhile, newly elected President, Marks noted that among the issues of immediate interest to the GPA is to seek funding for the establishment of a functioning Secretariat of the Association in order to execute its functions and to establish a verifiable register of all practicing media workers in Guyana.
He is also aiming to promote the development of print and broadcast journalism by organizing quarterly training programmes, conferences and other activities in various areas.
Marks says he plans to hold bi-monthly meetings of the Association to address the needs and concerns of media workers, organise an annual Awards/Appreciation Ceremony on World Press Freedom Day and promote immediate responses to occasions when freedom of the press and freedom of journalists come under question.