By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chairperson of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) Bibi Shadick has taken to task Kaieteur News (KN) over its spate of publications regarding the granting of radio license to Telecor Cultural Broadcasting Inc.
According to Shadick, the articles are totally inaccurate and written to mislead the public; she pressed the publication to employ greater responsibility.
Kaieteur News, which is among a group of 29 new applicants awaiting review by the GNBA for radio license had accused the body of granting the license to Telecor prematurely, accusing Telecor of being in breach of several GNBA regulations.
During a press conference on Tuesday (December 3) the GNBA Head opined that the articles were intended to be sensational and begged not be made subject of such journalism.
“I take offence, I don’t want to be the subject of any sensationalism,” Shadick told reporters.
Shadick further explained that the company was qualified for the license in accordance with the Broadcasting Act.
More specifically KN had claimed that days before Telecor formally received its radio license to operate five frequencies; it had appointed four directors to ensure that more than 51 percent of the voting powers on the board would be Guyanese making it fully compliant.
KN had also said that the issuance of the license was premature and that Telecor was in breach of regulations, speculating that Ruth Baljit who is a Director at Telecor was the only shareholder at the time of the printing of the license by the GNBA.
The publication made a case that this was illegal since Baljit who is a Guyanese national is also a US Citizen, and resided in the United States.
Shadick in response reminded that a Guyanese National once they have not revoked their citizenship remains Guyanese and can have dual citizenship.
“It doesn’t matter where a person lives, a Guyanese is a Guyanese” she added.
She said that at the time of the application the company had satisfied the GNBA that all its Directors were Guyanese Citizens.
“If the company wants to change its directors it’s their business, they can change how many times they want.”
Meanwhile, some have argued that the daily newspaper has been publishing misleading stories regarding the granting of the radio license to Telecor as part of its wider campaign of misinforming the public about the allocation of the radio license process.
In a previous advisory Telecor Company Secretary/Director Dharamchand Depoo pointed to the following facts which were supported by Shadick:
– An application was made for Radio license since 1997 by Depoo, who then transferred his interest to Telecor. This was one of the first applications for radio license in Guyana
– Telecor was incorporated as a Guyanese company several years (2009) prior to the granting of the license
– The company was always compliant with the Company’s Act of Guyana and was never in default or struck off.
– The company is wholly Guyanese owned; all of its Directors are Guyanese with four of the five residing in Guyana. This means that 80 percent of the directors who would have voting rights for the company would be resident Guyanese. The law only requires 51 percent.
– While the original shareholder lives in the US having been an American citizen, she was a Guyanese and “never stopped being one”.
– The Broadcast Act speaks about being a Guyanese and not on the issue of place of residence as is being peddled by the Kaieteur News.
Attempts by the daily newspaper and a few others to challenge the decision in Court have not been successful given that there were no legal or procedural errors in the granting of radio licenses to 11 operators with Telecor being just one.
Depoo had noted that his company does not expect a cessation of the newspaper’s campaign of misleading the public due to its intention of pursuing a political agenda on the matter.
The other companies which were granted radio licenses include National Communications Network (NCN/Government), Radio Guyana Inc (Dr Ranjisinghi Ramroop), NTN Radio (Anand Persaud), New Guyana Company Ltd (Dharam Kumar Seeraj), Wireless Connections (Maxwell Thom), Hits and Jams Entertainment (Rawle Fergusson), Alfro Alphonso and Sons Enterprise (Alfro Alphonso), Haslyn Graham (of Linden), Little Rock Television Station (Rocliffe Christie), and Rudy Grant, the younger brother of international singer Eddy Grant.