DPI to serve as central coordinating hub for public information – Prime Minister Phillips

Prime Minister Hon. Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips says from 2021 to 2025, the Department of Public Information (DPI) would be transformed into a rationalised and efficient Government information unit, with optimised national reach.

In his contribution to the Budget debate in the National Assembly on Monday, the Prime Minister said through staged interventions, it is envisaged that the Department would become a leader in the production, creation and promotion of the Government’s work.

Prime Minister, Hon Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips.

It is anticipated that the Department of Public Information will become the Government’s information agency, overseeing the coordination, dissemination and promulgation of the work of the Government through various channels.  It will serve as the central coordinating hub for public information and Government activities,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the Government has allocated an estimated $310 million to DPI for continued access to public information for all our citizens, which is a right enshrined in the Constitution of Guyana.   

This sum would be used to ensure that DPI executes its mandate “to serve as a highly efficient and effective state-of-the-art state communication arm with well trained, professional staff, to optimise Government communication, and to enhance relations with the media and Guyana Press Association to ensure a smooth flow of communication and dissemination of information.”

Prime Minister Phillips said the intention is to ensure that Government messaging is clear, understandable and easy to obtain.

“It has been noted that official Government information needs to be distinctly and consistently identifiable to minimise instances of confusion on the part of the public and to ensure the message is received in the way it was intended,” he said.

The Government also plans to establish a National Broadcasting Academy.

Meanwhile, an estimated $375 million has been allocated to the National Communications Network (NCN) to conduct its work programme.  Prime Minister Phillips said the goal is to make NCN the first network in Guyana that is fully digitised.  This process has already started at NCN Linden and would soon follow at the Berbice branch.

“The radio stations – coastal and regional – have been equipped with the latest broadcast equipment and are almost fully digital,” PM Phillips said.  

NCN will also partner with other State entities like the Guyana Energy Agency to ensure there is a reliable supply of power for these additional facilities. The Prime Minister said special provisions would also be made for persons with disabilities during broadcasts.

Additionally, PM Phillips said for the Telecommunications Agency, opening up the sector is first and foremost.

“For 2021, the Agency plans to implement the Universality Fund through which mobile telecommunications and broadband internet service will be extended to thousands of Guyanese in unserved areas.

The Agency also plans to regularise close to 50 small businesses which operate as internet service providers and rationalise the fee structure for the mobile spectrum, so as to enable operators to pass on relief to consumers.”

The Prime Minister also announced that the Government plans to invest in telecommunications infrastructure, particularly subsea fibre-optic cables.

Some $961.3 million has been allocated to Information and Communication Services in this year’s budget.