Being less than honest

first_imgDear Editor,Leonard Craig, in a letter published in another section of the media on 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 nor incompetent.”Craig 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.For readers to understand the mindset of the former Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), one only has to look at the company he associates with. Leonard Craig is a personal friend and confidant of the Guyana-bashing Freddie Kissoon, who expresses righteous indignation for former PPP ministers, and downright contempt for those Indo-Guyanese who remain loyal to the PPP.I have no doubt that Craig’s association with Kissoon may have influenced his long-running feud with former GNBA Director Tony Vieira.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.Craig’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 their 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 in 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: “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 its “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 by himself with individual broadcasters over a period of time, 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.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.Sincerely,Harry GillPPP/C Member ofParliamentlast_img

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