[www.inewsguyana.com] – Journalist, Shaun Michael Samaroo has defended his $1.4M salary from the government of Guyana for the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (COI) saying that he was contracted to produce a book and a documentary on the findings and hearings of the COI.
This comes after reports surfaced in the media late Monday detailing that the COI cost the Guyanese taxpayers $325M with $16M of that money going to Samaroo in salaries.
According to online media reports, Attorney General Basil Williams disclosed that government paid out US$7,300 per month to Samaroo – a state-media operative for his coverage of each sitting of the inquiry.
However Samaroo in a press statement said “at no time and under no circumstance did the Government of Guyana contract my professional media services, or paid me, to report in the State media. I was never contracted as a State media reporter.”
He contended that Government of Guyana contracted his services to write and publish a book on the Rodney Commission’s findings, to produce a documentary on the content of the Commissioner’s report, to archive online the voluminous amount of documents and testimonies the Commission gathered, and to publicize internationally the findings of the Commission’s hearings.
“I was contracted for a specific purpose, and it had nothing to do with reporting in the State media. In fact, I contributed several reports to the Guyana Chronicle on the work of the Commission pro bono, never once receiving any payment for that work. I also contributed dozens of columns to the Guyana Chronicle without compensation of any sort. I did this because I was concerned at the sorry state of Guyana’s State media, and wanted to play a role in lifting the standard of Journalism, and to contribute my writing to the national stage,” said Samaroo.
Further he explained that much of this work is to be done after the completion of the Commission’s final report, noting that he has no intention to shirk such a responsibility.
It was also noted that the Government of Guyana failed to fulfill aspects of the Contract, including outstanding payment.