From the outset GTUC sees this issue bigger than the ego of any politician. It is about the people, the children, and generations to come, and no quick fix can be applied to this with the intention of rushing into an election with the expectation of entering parliament to serve any one’s self satisfaction. Conscious of this human short coming the PPP has used this as the carrot to divide the politicians at the expense of the citizens and nation and it is time the people’s interests be put before any self serving interest.
The PPP government has consistently used state media and other machinations to create for themselves an unfair advantage and to make it difficult for contesting parties in national and regional elections. The suspension of CNS television station at elections time is a calculated and deliberate act by the Jagdeo/Ramotar partnership to deny the citizens of this country an opportunity to access the views of all contending parties. This act is a denial of the right of citizens to access information pertaining to their wellbeing and the future of Guyana and to enable them in making the best possible choice of which party or candidate will form the government.
In a country that talks of democracy and in an era where people the world over recognize that democratic reforms are fundamental for peace and stability the PPP must not undermine the democratic will of the people by denying them a fundamental tenet of democracy which is free and accessible media. Guyanese citizens must not accept the denial of a fundamental element of free, fair and credible elections. To do so is to accept the denial of your right to be heard and your right to information that is empowering and liberating.
It is the duty of the State to implement these basic tenets for free, fair and credible elections. Likewise it is the responsibility of the opposition political parties to hold this government accountable for ensuring that the people’s rights are safeguarded and today we hold all political parties accountable for so doing. We call on the PNC, AFC, GAP, WPA, TUF and new political alliance APNU to discharge their responsibility to this nation by ensuring that before we enter into another election farce that the playing field is leveled for all contenders.
We expect that the political opposition without exception will participate in national and regional elections only after a minimum set of requirements would have been met. To date this is not so as the Jagdeo/Ramotaur partnership seeks to create an information imbalance in society knowing fully well that CNS6 is a major campaign channel for all opposition parties and for the owner who is also the leader of the JFAP. The GTUC is saying to this government that we will not sit idly by and tolerate the continued violation of our rights and the rights of any Guyanese citizen and calls on the people to join us to ensure their rights are respected. We are saying to this government, to the Jagdeo/ Ramotaur partnership, that among the areas identified for immediate correction to ensure that elections are credible must be: 1) the re-opening of CNS 6 before the announcement for the date of the elections and 2) Open and equal access of NCN by all political parties participating in this process. Lest it be forgotten, NCN, the radio station, television and Guyana Chronicle are owned by the people whose taxes fund them and all must be given access.
This effort of the PPP government thus far is designed to cripple the campaign of the opposition. It is discriminatory, anti democratic, and along with the government monopoly and black out of opposition views on the state media is a clear and outright effort not to hold elections that are free, fair and credible. Guyanese must no longer tolerate this. The international community and those who help to finance these elections should not engage the Guyana government by accepting standards that are not universal that they would not tolerate in their own countries or fund.
To participate in this electoral process fully conscious that the citizens’ right to be heard and to know are transgressed, that state authority and resources are being misused by the Jagdeo/Ramotar partnership to perpetuate their continued lawlessness and abuse of the citizens is sacrilegious and all political parties are held accountable should they participate in an elections that fall far short of meeting minimum requirements. For the opposition political parties to participate in a process that violate the people’s fundamental right would be akin to taking sheep to the slaughter and interpreted as selling out the citizens for their personal benefits.
GTUC therefore reiterates its call for the opposition parties not to participate in any elections without the minimum standards for free expression, equal access to state media in place.
The nation must not be fooled by any effort of President Jagdeo to announce the issuing of radio license which is pure electoral gimmick knowing fully well that such would not materialize in time to give the opposition a voice given the requirements (capital investment, building resources, skills acquisition, etc.) for such an investment and development. Such a sham is characteristic of the Jagdeo-Ramotar shenanigan and must be rejected.
As a people, we must not fear to make our demands known and to stand up for what we believe and know to be our right. We must not fear the oppressors. History has taught us many lessons of struggle and fights for equal rights and justice by all peoples around the world. We must have the resilience and courage, remembering as Nelson Mandela said, “courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” This nation must today standup and protect their Right to freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom to participate in an electoral process that is free, fair and credible, freedom to operate without fear.
The INTER AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS will be meeting right here in Barbados from Sunday until next Friday.
They will be hearing cases at Cave Hill Campus and our Law Courts in Bridgetown.
This is the first time the Court is meeting in any Caricom State.
i emphatise with your concerns about the use of the state owned media by the governing political party for its own political advantage at the expense of the opposing views.this situation has also been quite evident in barbados since this present political bunch came to office, not that the media was not used previously by both parties to push their agendas but never before so blatant and to such an extent.and to make matters worse, the barbados advocate which used to exhibit some kind of balance in their political reporting before has now gone full circle and can be cosidered the mouth piece/organ of the DLP.
THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION MR CCC BUT I HOPE THAT WITH LITTLE TO SHOUT ABOUT DURING YOUR TERM OF OFFICE UP TO NOW THSAT YOU ARE NOT TAKING CREDIT FOR THE IMPERIALIST COURT SOJOURNING HERE. JUST ASKIN.
Is the Barbados Advocate being pressured to push a pro- government position or is Anthony Bryan doing so out of expediency?
MR BRYAN WAS A WELL KNOWN SUPPORTER OF THE BLP IN TOM ADAMS’ TIME AND WOULD HAVE ACQUIRED MUCH OF HIS SUCCESS AS A TOM ADAMS OPERATIVE MANAGING CROWN PUBLICATIONS NEXT DOOR TO REDIFFUSION LTD. PRIOR TO THE LAST EECTIONS, HE STILL OFFERED SUPPORT TO THE BLP ALTHOUGH I UNDERSTAND GRUDGINGLY SINCE HE HAD HIS DIFFICULTIES WITH MR ARTHUR. HOWEVER, THE 180 DEGREE ABOUT TURN IN HIS SUUPORT FOR THE DLP SINCE ELECTIONS IS ASTOUNDING TO SAY THE LEAST. MR BRYAN IS A WEALTHY MAN IN HIS OWN RIGHT. I DO NOT THINK THAT HE CAN BE PRESSURED AND IF SO, BY WHOM/
A press release received from GTUC
That is the point being made here, Bryan is not being pressured by the DLP. He is simply being opportunistic. The same can be said for media practitioners and houses in Guyana.
A pity the regional media have not seen the merit to run with this as a worthy cause. Hope they are following the case Kissoon and Jagdeo.
my brothers it important that you keep praying for your nation. the rule of law hasdefinetely taken flight. we are all aware that what we are seeing is the peace of god passing all understand. that god is fighting on the behalf of the people look at what happened to the one that it was suggested was the spiritual advisor. he did not say do not trouble the people of god but rather stood by and laid the suggestion for a station that all the religions could be on. the result is tht at the tender age of fifty he lost his heart. rest assured that god is right here with earth. rest assured that he is not at a distance. over here some folks are suggesting that we are ready for a homosexual to lead us. beware what you wish for. look at what transpired in guyana. the increase of homosexual activity and great lawlessness
This is good news:
Guyana Trades Union Congress
October 9, 2011
Lincoln Lewis- General Secretary
For immediate release
The announcement made by President Jagdeo this evening deferring suspension of CNS6 is testimony to the fact that a people united and unrelenting can achieve what’s justly theirs. This struggle for the right to freedom of expression has just commenced and the minimum standards for free, fair and credible elections remain: 1) the re-opening of CNS 6 before the announcement for the date of the elections and 2) open and equal access of NCN by all political parties participating in this process. The latter is still be honoured. The issue of coverage by the state-owned NCN and Chronicle is a right of the people and their rights are non-negotiable. The people of this country continue to demand open and equal access to the state media, since our tax dollars fund the upkeep of these institutions.
This battle is not over and we must remain focus, keeping our eyes on the prize, which is free, fair and credible elections. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has established that the authority to govern shall be based on the will of the people as expressed in periodic and genuine elections and this is premised on respecting the right to campaign in an environment unrestricted by laws and administrative humbugs, freedom of information and access to the media. It entails free media. We must therefore ensure that this final right of ours is not taken away for when we lose our voices no one can hear our cries and pain. We cannot articulate our needs and our deprivation.
Guyana must move away from this era of darkness that is stifling us.
Further, the reported 5-minute per week offer to the opposition by NCN is an average 30,240 minutes week, given the four broadcasting channels (one television and four radio) with an average 18-hour per day broadcast, is ludicrous and makes a mockery of democracy. This is a gross insult to the masses and every opposition political party. As a people our right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the constitution and such must never be compromised and in this instance where NCN is owned by the people ours become the right to demand equal access. Where necessary the opposition must also be allowed up to the minute news coverage same as the incumbent.
It is the right of parties and candidates to freely communicate their views to the electorate, they must enjoy equality of access to the people’s media. If, according to NCN it, “is aware that its network is a critical player in this process and it is assuring all stakeholders that it will continue to exercise fair play and good judgment during this period,” and the media plays an “important role” then their actions must support their statements. Herein any “exercise of fair play and good judgment” must: a) include access to prime time coverage of opposition activities and equal news coverage by state reporters; b) fair and balanced reporting of opposition activities and not skewing of events and reports to serve the incumbent’s political purpose; and c) the right to respond must also be guarantee in the instance where a party- opposition or governing- makes an allegation or wrongful accusation of the other, and the party making such claim called upon to provide credible sourcing/evidence.
The GTUC calls on the opposition to continue considering their participation in this election in the absence of the minimum standards being met. For this is not about the contestants but the people of this country whose rights are first and foremost in the determination of democratic values, peaceful coexistence, and development. Today we either collectively take a stand for what is just and right or fall for continued injustices and violations. For it is not the PPP the world looks to change this oppressive tide but to the masses themselves who are most affected by their oppressive behaviours.