State media to be reorganised, retooled and new management installed
— Critical decision to be made in coming weeks
A two-week assessment at the state-owned agencies has found a lack of prudent financial management, nepotism, poor interpersonal relations, poor working conditions and polarisation of staff.
Minister of Public Affairs within the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Kwame McCoy disclosed what he described as “worrying findings” during a virtual press conference today. He also noted that the President has received reports for the various entities.
The Public Affairs Ministry operates out of the Office of the Prime Minister. It has strategic and policy oversight over the National Communications Network (NCN), Guyana National Newspaper Limited (GNNL), the Department of Public Information (DPI), and the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA).
“We have had, over the past two weeks, a very good idea as to where we are with many of those agencies and so the next few weeks we are down to some critical decisions and hard work,” Minister McCoy noted.
In the case of NCN, he said that company was driven to a “state of near collapse”, with over $190Million owed in advertisements.
Minister McCoy explained that debts owed were from Ministries and other agencies, with the former APNU+AFC Coalition Administration owing almost $17Million. He emphasised that the PPP/C did not use NCN for advertisements during the recent political campaign.
On the issue of subvention for the agency, the Public Affairs Minister said:
“NCN needs the support at this time because, as I mentioned earlier, there has to be some serious input as it relates to resourcing the entity, and being able to make it much more efficient and how we can do that is by having Government support, and therefore, that is not something we have ruled out.”
According to the Public Affairs Minister, at one of the agencies, the assessment team found levels of staff that are ‘top-heavy’.
“It was all just about providing opportunities for friends and families and the real critical matters which should have been addressed were left lagging.”
He said that in moving forward, the PPP/C Government will be reorganising, retooling and finding new management, “that would be able to take us to the level of success we desire as Government agencies”.
Minister McCoy said that in the coming weeks, the Government’s decisions on the way forward for the agencies will be made public.
The structure of the Public Relations units in the various Government agencies and Ministries are being examined towards enhancing the efficiency of these outfits. Already, there are temporary appointments at NCN and GNNL.
Additionally, boards at NCN and GNNL which were dissolved will have new appointments to have a clear direction of these agencies, he noted.
The Minister of Public Affairs has a responsibility to coordinate the flow of information between the Government and the citizenry of Guyana.