Gov’t committed to press freedom -President Ramotar – at launch of Little Rock Radio station
President Donald Ramotar reminded a large audience of mostly Berbicians of the gains made in press freedom since 1992, and stressed government’s commitment to maintaining this status as he delivered the feature address to mark the launch of Berbice’s first radio station.
Region Six Chairman David Armogan, Rockcliff Christie, President Donald Ramotar and Pearl Christie unveil a plaque commemorating the launch of Little Rock Radio 88.5FM in New Amsterdam, Berbice
President Ramotar said that the proprietors of Little Rock Radio 88.5FM, Rockcliffe and Pearl Christie must be congratulated for what he described as their “pioneering role” with the multimillion dollar investment. Stating that he felt very comfortable with the ownership of the new station, President Ramotar said that radio must have a developmental role as Guyana is a developing country. He stressed however that while radio can be used for good purposes, it can also be used negatively.
Government has opened up the broadcast frequency with several radio and television stations granted licences. Among the new radio stations are NTN 89.1FM, RGI, Telecor and Cultural Broadcasting Inc., and Hits and Jams Entertainment among others.
Rockcliff Christie, Pearl Christie, President Donald Ramotar and Naomi Christie in the transmission studio of Little Rock Radio 88.5FM
He highlighted the role of radio in the genocides of Rwanda a few years ago and its use by the Nazis in Germany during World War 2, and urged that such situations must always be guarded against. Several key issues such as Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project, Budget cuts and even the Anti-Money Laundering Bill which were adversely affected by the political opposition’s stance were noted by the president who said that radio must be used to keep persons informed. “More information is needed to ensure persons are aware of the misinformation being spread by those who want to distort the truth”.
Deputy Mayor of New Amsterdam Harold Debydeen stated that “self motivated and self confident” are the words, he would use to describe the owners of the new station. He urged them to not only be entertaining, but also educational, as he offered congratulations on behalf of all Berbicians.
President Donald Ramotar and staff of Little Rock Radio 88.5FM in New Amsterdam, Berbice
President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mark Roopnarine said that it was with great pride that he too congratulated the Christie family who he described as a “transformational force in the community”. He added that they are poised to take the Little Rock brand to greater heights in the community as they transform lives by being more than just educating and entertaining people through their programming.
Congratulations were also given by Region Six Chairman, David Armogan, who lauded their pioneering efforts in various businesses throughout the years. The sharing of information, he noted, is vital and mention was made of the fact that oft times, events are reported by various media before public officials responsible for the affected areas are even officially informed.
Giving a brief history of the Little Rock business operations, Naomi Christie, daughter of the proprietors, said that the company’s initial radio licence application dates back to the early 1990s, followed by a re-application in 1997. The radio station began testing on February 23, this year with feedback being garnered from the local listening audience. The station covers the entire Berbice area and extends to the East Coast of Demerara. It is also streamed online.
President Donald Ramotar addressing the audience at the formal launch of Little Rock Radio 88.5FM
The Little Rock Company began operating in the 1980s with a hotel then expanded in 2005 with the Little Rock Suites on the Main Street of New Amsterdam. It currently employs 60 persons.