Radio Essequibo now fully operationalised
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Public Affairs, Hon. Kwame McCoy on Monday, officially commissioned local programming at Radio Essequibo (95.5 FM) in Anna Region, Region Two.
The station, which previously functioned as a relay station for NCN’s Voice of Guyana, is now fully operationalised with the capacity to produce and broadcast local programmes designed to educate and inform some 14,000 residents in Guyana’s largest county.
Addressing the event, Minister McCoy said with a 53-kilometere radius, Radio Essequibo will be a major conduit for information across the Essequibo coast.
He said the increased capacity will allow Essequibians to not only contribute to relevant discussions on issues affecting them, but also to place advertisements, sponsor local programmes and purchase airtime for entertainment, education and religions and developmental purposes in keeping with national broadcasting policies.
“Today’s event is testament to the fact that the PPP/C Administration has always been and continues to be fully committed to ensuring that citizens are able to exercise their constitutional right and fundamental human right to freedom and expression.
This launch today, gives the opportunity for building local broadcast talent and helping our citizens to be creative and to utilising the talents especially of the younger members of this community,” he noted.
Since the President Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led Administration came into office in August last year, steps have been taken to uphold and advance this commitment, the first being the establishment of a ministerial portfolio charged with all aspects of information generation and dissemination.
Two months after taking Office, the Government through the office of the Prime Minister announced complete liberalisation of the telecommunication sector, ending three decades of commercial monopoly. The Government also plans on reinstating its One Laptop Per Family programme.
To enable easier access to communication, Minister McCoy announced that the Government intends to provide radios to hinterland households, along with maintenance training for communities. Training of broadcasters and journalists will also be done, and local and international scholarships will be made available. Further, a broadcasters’ academy will be established to facilitate world class training and exposure for current and new broadcasters.
“You would recall our freeing up of the broadcast airwaves prior to 2015, in the previous PPP/C Administration. You can expect that this policy will continue now and well into the future,” Minister McCoy said.
Regional Chairperson, Vilma Dasilva said being able to launch local programming is timely, since communication plays a critical role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Persons will also be updated on developments taking place within the region, and farmers and other businessowners will be able to market their produce and goods.
“With this new network we will have more clean information reaching to our people through the length and breadth of Essequibo and the Pomeroon…I can assure you, we will make full use of such a network, “ she said
NCN operates seven other regional radio stations within its national broadcasting network. The Radio Essequibo 95.5 frequency was launched in November 2019 and the relay station commissioned in January 2020.
Also present at the event were, Regional Executive Officer, Davenand Ramdatt, NCN’s Chief Executive Officer, Michella Abraham-Ali and NCN’s Board Chairman, Mr. Raymond Cummings.