Radio Lethem went officially on air Sunday in Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo), with its inaugural broadcast being its opening ceremony, the Government information Agency (GINA) has said.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo officially switched on the station and extolled the importance of community radio stations.
“It is important for the people of the hinterland to have a radio station, so they can communicate with themselves in the region and the rest of Guyana, and for them to know what’s happening,” he told the gathering.
The Prime Minister who has government’s oversight of the Broadcast Sector, said the establishment of community radio stations is part of his government’s efforts to connect Guyanese despite geographical locations.
The establishment of the radio station, he stated, is one way of bridging the gap and closing the communication divide.
Nagamootoo, speaking about the involvement of all Guyanese in the country’s advancement, stated that all indigenous communities must be part of the process.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo reminded those gathered that his Government promised Guyanese that the coastland and the hinterland will be integrated and the radio station is one of the ways of achieving this.
Regional Chairman of Region Nine, Brian Allicock, told the gathering that it is always good to know what’s happening on the inside, but most importantly, on the outside.
“I am so happy to tell you that we are on the right path of communication as this is critical. I thank this Government very much for that radio station and in time to come a television station,” he said.
He called on fellow residents to continue to work for the further development of the region despite their political differences.
In his remarks, Mayor of Lethem Carlton Beckles expressed appreciation to the Prime Minister and team for the establishment of the radio station and promised it will be used for its intended purpose.
“This is historic; this is a jubilee within a jubilee,” the mayor asserted.
Meanwhile, National Communications Network’s (NCN) chief executive officer Lennox Cornette said the state broadcaster is reorienting its Georgetown operations in an effort to extend its reach by moving from a central focus to communities to promote values in Guyanese citizens.
“This is the first expression in a community radio model so we can disseminate information from the region to central and from central to the region,” Cornette stated.
Meanwhile, 12 young persons from within the region were trained as community broadcasters.
Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock and Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan also attended the opening ceremony and were among the first to be interviewed on the station.
The ceremony was also attended by representatives from neighbouring Brazil including the Mayor of Bonfim.
Radio Lethem is one of two hinterland radio stations to be established.
Radio Mabaruma is scheduled to be officially commissioned shortly.