Leonard Craig is being less than honest
Leonard Craig, in a letter published in Kaieteur News (August 17, 2017) wrote, “I will not trade legal arguments or constitutional misinterpretations because I believe these matters are best decided by the courts, a turf not unfamiliar to Mr. Nandlall; many hold the view that in such setting he is neither shy or incompetent.” He was responding to a previous letter written by former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall on the illegalities of the amendments to the broadcast legislation recently passed in Parliament.
All the concerns raised by my colleague, the Hon Anil Nandlall in his letter are legal arguments that formed part of his speech during the debate in the National Assembly on the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill 2017. Since Craig “will not trade legal arguments or constitutional misinterpretations” with Anil Nandlall, perhaps he can offer his service and expertise to the blundering Attorney General, Basil Williams, who will need all the help he can get to defend this draconian legislation in Court.
Graig’s claim of having consultations on the amendments of the law with most of the major stakeholders in the broadcasting sector is erroneous and misleading. In his letter, he wrote, “In my capacity as Chairman I met with Mr. Anil Nandlall and Ms. Bibi Shadick who met with me in the capacity as representatives of Freedom Radio. At that meeting they were able to freely air their concerns on several matters including terms and conditions of licensing, fees adjustment, restructuring of broadcasting landscape and strengthening of regulations. A separate caucus was held with Ms. Shadick in her capacity as former Board Chair.” When contacted, Ms. Bibi Shadick denied having any form of consultation with Leonard Craig during her two meetings with him. She said, “He visited my office to introduce himself as the new GNBA Board Chairman. We had a brief conversation. The second meeting was with Anil Nandlall in our capacity as representatives of Freedom Radio Inc. But consultations about the Broadcast Act or Amendments were never discussed as far as I am aware.”
And i n a classic example of how misinformation is propagated by this Administration to fool the populace, there was a group photograph on the front page of Friday’s Guyana Chronicle with the Hon Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo flanked by the CEO and other Directors of the GNBA including PPP representative, Ms. Bibi Shadick, with a headline that screams “GNBA backs broadcast bill.” The article that accompanied the photo stated that “The Guyana Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) has thrown its full support behind the Broadcast (Amendment) Bill.” This statement is misleading as “At Wednesday’s meeting which the Prime Minister attended, the Board was not asked to nor did it express it’s “backing” for the amendments to the Broadcast Bill.” -Bibi Shadick. Further, the PPP is on record as having denounced the amendments to this Bill as unconstitutional.
From Information which I have been able to obtain, Leonard Craig met with individual broadcasters over a period of time by himself before any meeting of the GNBA Board was even convened. He had these meetings by himself as Board Chairman without any reference to the other Board members.
Fact, he used the GNBA boardroom in High Street, Kingston as his private office arriving there almost daily at about 10 am and leaving very late some days while the GNBA staff provided secretarial services and meals for him. All of this was done before a single Board meeting was convened.
It appears that his meetings with individual broadcasters were done merely to familiarize himself with them, and cannot be classified as consultations about amendments or regulations.
After the entire GNBA Board had met, there was a single meeting with all broadcasters. This again was for introductions and familiarization and should not be misconstrued as consultation.
Leonard Craig is being less than honest in his letter.
Harry Gill PPP/C Member of Parliament