More conflict surrounds Region 10 television station
By Utamu Belle
Fifteen names have reportedly been submitted for the expansion of the Board of Trustees of the Region 10 Television Station, following a meeting at Office of the President (OP) on Wednesday.
During a press conference on Thursday, Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland hailed it a fruitful engagement, noting that it is a step towards the positive development of Linden, while commending former Chairman Sharma Solomon, now secretary of the Trust and other members for leading the efforts.
Holland, who was at the meeting, indicated that those present included Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Minister within the Communities Ministry Valerie Adams-Patterson, among others.
The Mayor said the consensus, which was arrived at on Wednesday was to reshape the Trust in terms of numbers and to allow for
representation by various entities.
Coming out of the discussion, he noted that the Trust now includes two members of Parliament based in Linden, two from the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) which includes himself and Deputy Mayor Waneka Arindell, three members from the Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Democratic Council (RDC), another from the Linden Chamber of Commerce and Development, another from the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), the Union, Religious body. Holland also stated that Regional Chairman Renis Morian was named Chairman of the Committee.
He added that the mandate now is for the four initial trustees to call a meeting within seven days to plan, discuss and arrive at a resolution, in extending the board. Following that, he said the 15-member board is expected to meet.
“The new Chairman of the Trust will be the Regional Chairman because it was established that the authority on this television station will first stand with the Region so that the people of Linden will have a true representation…the second in representation will then be the Mayor and Town Council,” the mayor said.
However, LM&TC Councillor Lennox Gasper said the Council should have met to decide on who will be its representatives. He said the letter of invitation to appoint representatives was not read to members of the Council by Holland. Gasper, who also acted as a member of the Information Committee under Solomon’s tenure expressed further discontent, noting that the Mayor appointed himself and the Deputy Mayor without the knowledge of the Council.
He said he views the move as a disrespectful one, more so since according to him, the matter was raised at Wednesday’s statutory meeting which was chaired by the Deputy Mayor. Gasper contended that Arindell was unaware that she had been appointed at the time and promised to get back to the Council with information.
“I am sidelined…I feel that there is a deliberate move to hijack this station for personal agenda. We need to put the people’s interest forward and I dare ask and petition that we follow a democratic approach and this one was not democratic…I express my dissatisfaction that the Council is being left out under the disguise that the Mayor is the Council in the absence of the Council and give that democratic body a chance to do their work,” he said.
Gasper, who serves additionally as part of the LM&TC Communications Committee, said there are numerous instances where decisions are made by the Mayor without consultation of the Council:
“This is what he has been doing all the time in this Council. As if he is ‘the boss’ and ultimately…the constitution speaks to the Council, that body of people who were elected by the community, therefore we need to respect the Council and give that democratic body a chance to do their work…he’s not going to go ahead and represent this body because he wasn’t even around for the whole issue of that television station, when it happened…it is not right.”
Gasper also objected to the “information” that Phillip Bynoe is a part of the board as a citizen of Linden, noting that Bynoe and others were not part of the initial struggle for the television station. He said the rightful people are being neglected because a selected few have a special agenda.
Additionally, RDC Councillor Gordon Callender has also expressed outrage over the process, noting that the people of Region 10 were not consulted. Additionally, he said there should have been a vote by Councillors to appoint their representatives.
“Now you’re putting people who have no moral authority…to be representative of the people of Region 10…that is wrong…I think if you want to get people on board there must be broad-based consultation with the people of this Region and that is not happening…there was no discussion at any of the statutory meetings concerning the TV station”
Callender also said the OP is being fed with lies by people seeking political gain, and they need to consult with the people. He further threatened that he will “mobilise and take to the streets” over the issue.
Solomon denied that Morian had been named Chairman of the Trust. He promised to make an official pronouncement on the meeting Friday.