Lin­den Mayor urges set­ting up of long-awaited TV sta­tion

-Solomon ac­cused of holding up process

Stabroek News Sunday - - WORLD NEWS -

Mayor of Lin­den Car­wyn Hol­land is call­ing for the set­ting up of the lon­gawaited Lin­den Tele­vi­sion Sta­tion, which re­mains stalled five years af­ter an agree­ment for its estab­lish­ment and in which for­mer Re­gion Ten Chair­man, Sharma Solomon was a key ne­go­tia­tor.

“It was a prom­ise to the peo­ple and it’s be­ing held up by per­son­al­ity clashes and old po­lit­i­cal griev­ances and no one seems to take into con­sid­er­a­tion that the sta­tion is for the peo­ple and not a per­son. We have to look at the greater good and put aside per­sonal dif­fer­ences,” Mayor Hol­land said when con­tacted by this news­pa­per on the is­sue.

“As Mayor, I am call­ing on the rel­e­vant per­sons who hold the author­ity to ad­vance this process to get it done be­fore Novem­ber 15,” he con­tin­ued.

The mayor said that should there be no move­ment by that date, he will of­fi­cially write to Min­is­ter of State Joseph Har­mon for some con­crete ac­tions on be­half of the peo­ple of Re­gion Ten (Up­per De­mer­ara/Up­per Ber­bice).

“Lin­den must not be held back be­cause of a few, Lin­den must move for­ward. At the end of the day, it’s the gov­ern­ment that will be blamed and, truth­fully, it’s our own peo­ple that’s holding it back,” he fur­ther said.

Since the abort­ing of a meet­ing in April this year that was con­vened to set up the 14-mem­ber board of the Re­gion Ten Broad­cast­ing Inc (RTBI), there has been no fur­ther meet­ing, this news­pa­per has been told.

“Mr. Solomon is play­ing pol­i­tics. I am say­ing this be­cause he is the one to move this process for­ward and he has done noth­ing, noth­ing, to en­sure that the mem­bers of the board of trustees is increased to 15,” a source, who is one of the pro­posed di­rec­tors, told this news­pa­per.

Again, the Sun­day Stabroek at­tempted to so­licit a com­ment from Solomon on the is­sue but to no avail. As was the case in Fe­bru­ary, Solomon re­peat­edly asked the re­porter to call back and when this was done there was no an­swer. Re­peated calls were fu­tile.

“Mr. Solomon has done noth­ing to ad­vance the li­cence process,” an­other source said.

The April meet­ing was con­vened to elect a Chair­per­son of RTBI and a com­pany sec­re­tary but it ended with no de­ci­sions be­ing made af­ter sev­eral di­rec­tors walked out. It was stated that the di­rec­tors had re­quested doc­u­men­ta­tion from Solomon on how the board was to be con­sti­tuted and func­tion so that their ac­tions would at all times be in keep­ing with their man­date.

How­ever, Solomon re­port­edly failed to pro­vide these doc­u­ments af­ter promis­ing to do so and the di­rec­tors de­cided that it would not be pru­dent to make any de­ci­sions.

Two gov­ern­ments and two boards of the Guyana Na­tional Broad­cast­ing Author­ity (GNBA) have been in place yet the li­cence has not been is­sued for the set­ting up of the sta­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Hol­land, with a tele­vi­sion sta­tion, so much could be done for the young as­pir­ing jour­nal­ists in the town. “We can kick start our own local con­tent,” he said.

He also said that had he been the orig­i­nal ne­go­tia­tor, he would have not lim­ited his ne­go­ti­a­tion to a li­cence but rather “it has to come with the equip­ment to op­er­ate and op­er­ate ef­fec­tively. It was a com­plete op­er­a­tion that was gifted to the peo­ple of Lin­den, and a com­plete sys­tem needed to be re­turned.”

So im­por­tant was the grant­ing of the li­cence to the peo­ple of Re­gion Ten that the coali­tion gov­ern­ment had named it as one of its goals to be achieved dur­ing its first 100 days in of­fice. Now at the half­way point of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s five-year term, Lin­den is still wait­ing on that sta­tion.

On June 25, 2015, Prime Min­is­ter Moses Nag­amootoo had told the Na­tional As­sem­bly that the sit­u­a­tion in Lin­den would be cor­rected ex­pe­di­tiously af­ter the Broad­cast­ing Author­ity was re­struc­tured – it was then headed by PPP/C mem­ber and for­mer min­is­ter Bibi Shadick – and re­viewed the ap­pli­ca­tion for a tele­vi­sion li­cence by the peo­ple of Lin­den. He told the Na­tional As­sem­bly that a tele­vi­sion for the peo­ple of the re­gion was “guar­an­teed” and that tech­ni­cal ar­range­ments were be­ing fi­nalised to have the peo­ple of the min­ing town op­er­ate their own tele­vi­sion sta­tion.

It was Solomon who had cre­ated the en­tity to meet the li­cence eli­gi­bil­ity re­quire­ments and it ini­tially com­prised Di­rec­tors who were taken from a cross-sec­tion of the Re­gion Ten com­mu­nity.

They were Solomon, San­dra Van­tull, Pas­tor Mor­ris McKin­non and the now de­ceased Haslyn Par­ris. Fol­low­ing his death, Par­ris was re­placed on the board by Glo­ria Brit­ton.

The tele­vi­sion li­cence was one of the agree­ments ham­mered out fol­low­ing weeks of protest in Lin­den that were sparked in July, 2012, af­ter three men were killed.

Car­wyn Hol­land

Sharma Solomon

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