Leonard Craig is be­ing less than hon­est

Weekend Mirror - - EDITORIAL -

Dear Editor,

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

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