Councillor urges PM to meet with ordinary citizens
Region 10 TV Station Saga
– claims some leaders in Linden trying to cause “problems”
BY UTAMU BELLE
As the saga surrounding the return of the television station to Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice)
continues, Councillor within the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Gordon Callendar is adamant that there are some leaders within the community who are trying to stir up trouble with regards to the issue.
While he said he did not wish to reveal who those leaders were, Callendar said the relevant authorities should consult with the ordinary citizens of Linden to see how they feel about the situation.
During an interview with this newspaper Callendar explained that he played a major part in organising the Linden “struggle” in 2012, following which an agreement was signed to facilitate the return of the station, among other things. He said at the time, people like Aubrey Norton, Rupert Roopnaraine, Sharma Solomon and others were in discussions with the then administration in an effort to facilitate such.
“Coming out of those discussions, we started to negotiate for our TV station to be returned back to Linden. Within a certain amount of days we were to get back our TV station but they keep pushing it. They then come up with the agreement, which was signed… Now there are some persons in Region 10, who I think are looking for problems, who had nothing to do with the protest, who was calling us hooligans and thugs, because they are in the driving seat now… some of these people who have influence… they want to do what they want to us… Let the citizens decide who they want to be a part of the administration of the Linden TV station,” Callendar said.
Acting on advice of Prime Minister (PM) Moses Nagamootoo, who holds the communications portfolio, the Region 10 Broadcasting Inc (RBI), through its secretary Sharma Solomon is currently in the process of having the once five-member board expanded to facilitate a wide cross-section of the Regional stakeholdership.
However, Solomon was recently accused by some leaders in Linden of not following directives of the PM, and some stakeholders are yet to name their representatives.
Solomon, a former chairman to the Region, had indicated his intention of moving the process forward by April 8, to facilitate the handing over of the television station licence by the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), which is also awaiting the names.
Chairman of the GNBA Leonard Craig had stated that by law, the Regional Democratic Council cannot own a television station, hence the formation of the RBI.
Callendar urged the authorities to take a closer look at the situation and visit and further consult with key players within the Region to get to the bottom of the issue and set the record straight.
He said the ordinary people of Linden need someone to speak to and look into the affairs of the television station since some of the “key players” have ulterior motives. He claimed too that those in support of Solomon and the RBI are being sidelined by some key players in Linden.
“Mr Nagamootoo did not meet with the right people… he must meet with the ordinary citizens in Region 10. They’re marginalising Linden people, especially people who were mixing with Sharma Solomon. It is showing blatantly, and now it’s worse that the TV station is coming into play. We want to meet with him, because those people who are representatives… because they have access, they’re doing what they feel like to Region 10,” Callendar contended.
Regional Chairman Renis Morian, Councillor Sandra Adams, Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira and Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland were among those who recently criticised the way in which Solomon and the board conducted operations following the stakeholders’ meeting with the PM in Linden.
Holland had said he was disappointed since the letter which urged the Town Council to name its representative was only received on the evening that the newly elected Council was sworn-in. He also slammed comments, which he noted was made by Solomon recently in a section of the press.
“It says we have been slow in responding, slothful, and I take that as an insult to the new members of the Town Council… My position on this is simple, I object to the authors of the article, blaming the Council via press instead of actually trying to furnish us by pushing us to name a representative… by right, if you’ve served your time… it doesn’t mean that you own this thing… Everyone played a role in this struggle, not just these board members… I’m calling for a retraction of this,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Solomon indicated that the PM left that stakeholder meeting identifying the main bone of contention, which was the expansion of the board.
“The board… took that into consideration and immediately held our meeting… and we agreed to facilitate and have that bone of contention dealt with and settled by including all those members who were at the stakeholders’ meeting to identify a rep to sit on the Board,” he told the media recently.
Solomon also stated that the unnecessary “in-fighting” in Linden is hindering the progress of the television station.