The continued abuse of the State Media, NCN Radio & Television and the Guyana Chronicle, by the PPP dictatorship reached gutter-like proportions over this week-end by their deliberate attempt to spread vile propaganda and false information about the Presidential Candidate Process of the PNCR. The NCN Radio and TV carried an alleged news story of dissention among the Presidential nominees of the PNCR and that two of the candidates, including retired Head of the GDF, David Granger, would be withdrawing from the nomination process over alleged differences with the leader of the PNCR.

The PNCR Candidate Process Committee, however, has categorically stated that the information published as News by the NCN is a total fabrication and has no bearing on truth. The Committee has further stated that the process approved by the Party for identification of a Presidential candidate is alive and well as the programme of Town Hall meetings continue across the country. Ironically, while NCN was engaged in this public mischief, the very candidates were participating in the Town Hall Meeting at Linden, which was one of the largest attended so far in the series of meetings. At the conclusion of that meeting at Linden, Granger, himself , in response to an inquiry from a journalist and in the presence of representatives of NCN, debunked the story as false, but the NCN persisted in its mischief.

The PNCR GENERAL COUNCIL, on July 10, 2010, held extensive discussion on the issue of identification of a Presidential candidate both in the context of an Alliance or in the context of the PNCR facing the elections alone. Following those extensive discussions the General Council of the Party approved a motion with respect to the methodology for identifying a presidential candidate. The motion resolved, inter alia,
“that the PNCR’s Presidential candidate should be identified, as early as possible, by a transparent system that includes wide consultation with bona-fide Party members, groups and supporters;
that the process to be employed in arriving at a consensus Presidential Candidate should include:
The identification of an inclusive group appointed by the CEC by 31st August 2010 to conduct consultation with the Party members, Party groups and supporters;
The person selected to be the Presidential Candidate must have the full confidence of the membership of the PNCR, be of sound and unquestionable integrity, possess the skill, expertise and networking capability as well as command respect and support of Guyanese generally;”

The General Council is the highest forum of the Party in the absence of Biennial Congress and it meets every three months.
On Wednesday, 10th November 2010, in keeping with the direction of that General Council, the Central Executive Committee of the PNCR, approved the final recommendations for the system and procedures for the nomination of a Presidential Candidate for the PNCR for the 2011 General and Regional Elections. This information was circulated to the wider membership through the Party’s Regions and groups. The Party, in response to many requests, made this information available to the wider Guyanese society. In its statement to the media the Party stated,
“The Party wishes to emphasise, however, that the decision to identify a Presidential Candidate in no way detracts or changes the Party’s already stated position, that its first priority is to form a broad alliance or partnership with like minded organisations and persons to contest the 2011 Elections.
The need to identify a Presidential Candidate arose after the Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Robert H. O. Corbin, M.P., formally announced, at the First Meeting of the Party General Council for 2010, on Saturday 27th March, that he would not be the Presidential Candidate for the Party for the 2011 National Elections.”

The Presidential Candidate Process Committee has since the approval of the process, meticulously supervised its implementation. Between November 27 – 4th December 2010, Party Groups met to make and formally document their List of Nominees for the Party Presidential Candidate. Between December 5 to 12, 2010, Regional Secretaries received the Group Nominations and subsequently convened Special Extended Regional Committee meetings, including a representative from each of the Groups which submitted Nominations, to formally agree and document the Regional List of Nominees. Where no functioning Regional Committee exists, the Party Group Chairman or Secretary send their Group Nominations, in the specified format, directly to the General Secretary. By December 19, 2010, the Regional Secretaries submitted their Regional List of Nominees, endorsed by all of the Group delegates attending the Special Extended Regional Committee meeting, to the Party’s General Secretary. The Party’s General Secretary compiled the National List of Nominees who were subsequently asked to formally notify the Party General Secretary, in writing, their acceptance of the nomination. The Nominees who accepted their Nomination were required to submit their CV and after approval were required to sign a code of conduct to guide their campaigning for the nomination.
Within the PNCR and in the wider society there has been freedom of expression and open discussion by all of the nominees who have been participating in Town Hall Style meetings around Guyana organised by the Party. To date, meetings have been held at Queenstown, Essequibo; Corriverton and Manchester in Corentyne, Berbice; Hopetown and Calcutta in Region Five, Mahaica/Berbice; Supply, East Bank Demerara and St. Georges High School, Georgetown, in Region Four; Bartica in Region Seven; and Linden in Region Ten. Yesterday, Saturday February 5, the candidates were all at Lethem, Rupununi, Region 9 participating in another such meeting. Other such meetings will be held, including another in Georgetown, until February 14, 2011. The members of the Party will thereafter vote for the Candidate at a Party Special Congress on Saturday, February 26th.
There can be no doubt that democracy is alive and well in the PNCR as its history making primary illustrates. It is not for the PNCR to comment on the process employed by other parties to identify their Presidential Candidate as we believe it is the right of members of that Party to determine their affairs. The PNCR, however, condemns this newest attempt by the PPP to use their monopoly of the State Media to engage in public mischief and interfere in the internal democratic processes of the Party. The PNCR members are much more enlightened and will not be confused by PPP propaganda.

Guyanese have witnessed the continued vulgarity by the State Television Station, NCN, the monopoly NCN Radio Stations and the state owned Chronicle. When, what should be serious news casts or news reports are converted into lies on political opponents, deliberately intended to sow seeds of dissention or damage the character of public figures, Guyana has indeed reached the depth of degeneracy. Over the past months, the state media has been used to spread false information of proceedings in political parties opposed to the Government, and to damage the character of persons such as Mr. C.N. Sharma, Mr. Peter Ramsaroop, Caribbean Consultant, Mr. Hartley Henry and others. Most recently, the NCN deliberately published false information that the Leader of the PNCR and Opposition was attending the Opening Session of the UN Year of People Of African Descent, when they were in possession of both the Letter of the Opposition Leader and a Press Release from the PNCR stating that Mr. Corbin would not attend. Similarly, the media has deliberately misrepresented to the Nation that the authentic major organisations of Guyanese of African descent have been involved in planning the year’s programme.

The monopoly of State owned Television, NCN, at Linden, continues as the Government refuses to pass the relevant Broadcast Legislation and to establish a National Broadcast Authority as agreed since 2003. Such a body would have had, as a routine function, the regulation of the media. The Government, however, wants political control of the media as well as political control over the adjudication of media matters. A glaring example was the preposterous adjudication of the C.N. Sharma’s Channel 6, by President Jagdeo, that resulted in the suspension of its licence for two months.

Seven (7) years ago, when President Jagdeo signed the Communiqué, dated 6 May 2003, section 2.4.of which is entitled, Radio Monopoly and Non Partisan Boards, he agreed that, “The draft broadcasting legislation which will include provisions for the creation of a National Broadcasting Authority, would be ready for consultation within two (2) months and be laid in the National Assembly within four (4) months from 1st May 2003.”

At the time, of the signing of the Communiqué, the Final Report of The Joint Committee On Radio Monopoly, Non-Partisan Boards And Broadcasting Legislation, dated 6 December 2001, was available for guiding the drafting of the required legislation. The Committee was co-Chaired by Ms Gail Teixeira and the late Mr. Deryck Bernard and was established on 15 May 2001.

• Part VI of that Report (pages 10-17), entitled A NATIONAL BROADCASTING AUTHORITY (NBA), spells out in detail, the provisions to be incorporated in the legislation to establish the NBA.

• Part VI A. entitled Mandate, recommended: “To serve as the guardian of the national broadcasting system and to regulate both the transmission and content, the committee recommends the establishment of a national broadcasting body, tentatively titled the National Broadcasting Authority (NBA). The NBA must be independent and autonomous within the framework of the constitution, true to the spirit and letter of its establishing legislation, answerable only to the National Assembly and must serve the public interest and the national good.”

It is instructive to note what was said, in the covering letter, dated 7 December 2001, to President Jagdeo and the late Leader of the Opposition, Mr Desmond Hoyte:

“The Joint Committee on Radio Monopoly, Non-Partisan Boards and Broadcasting Legislation wishes to advise you that it has completed its tasks. The members of the committee have compiled a report which was reached by consensus, and, which we feel correctly represents the level and depth of attention the committee paid to the tasks it was entrusted with by you.

Furthermore the committee pulled on technical experts acknowledged as such in the field as well as explored previous work done in the area. The committee also held a series of consultations with the broadcasters, although not all seized these opportunities; we feel that our recommendations reflect some of their contributions.”

It should be evident to all, therefore, that the refusal of the PPP dictatorship to pass the necessary Legislation confirms their desire to continue the abuse of the State Media for partisan political propaganda.

PNCR Kaieteur News Weekly Column
Sunday February 6, 2011
People’s National Congress Reform
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