NCN board must be allowed to function – PM Nagamootoo

GINA, GUYANA, Monday, September 19, 2016

The board of the National Communications Network (NCN) must be allowed to function independent of ministerial interference, Prime Minister and President, acting, Moses Nagamootoo said.

Moses Nagamootoo, President acting and Prime Minister.

Moses Nagamootoo, President acting and Prime Minister.

The President, acting, who bears ministerial responsible for the communication agency was at the time responding to media operatives who questioned the failure of NCN’s, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lennox Cornette to apologise to Natasha Smith. The news anchor was removed from anchoring the NCN Six ‘o’ clock News, allegedly because of her pregnancy.

“It’s an internal matter to NCN. I don’t believe the competent minister should interfere with matters that are within the remit of a board. That’s what they are elected for,” the president, acting said at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association’s conference, at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, today.

Further, Nagamootoo said he considers the implementation of policies the responsibility of the board of directors.

“I consider there are issues of policies and there are issues of an overriding nature like the one regarding the removal of an anchor. This minister will not interfere,” the President, acting reiterated.

Following Smith’s removal, Prime Minister Nagamootoo instructed NCN’s CEO to tender an apology to Smith for using her pregnancy as a reason to temporarily remove her as news anchor.

This government has insisted that it will allow statutory boards to function free of government’s interference. In July 2016 Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma told the Government Information Agency (GINA), “the boards must be independent. We don’t want it to be a political thing, so you’ll see many of them are not linked to, or in the government system,” Sharma had said.

Citing the manner in which CEO Cornette was hired, Sharma pointed out that, “… you saw a board member resigning because he felt otherwise whereas the majority of the board had gone in favour of that individual, government did not step in. The minister responsible, the Prime Minister did not step in, so if something should happen, the board will take the responsibility.”