Ulterior motive behind distribution of licenses under previous administration – Min. Harmon
DPI, GUYANA, Friday, August 4, 2017
Supporting the passage of the Broadcast (Amendment) Bill 2017, Minister of State Joseph Harmon revealed that an ulterior motive may have been behind the distribution of licenses to entities known to be closely associated with former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The Minister informed the National Assembly today, that the allocation of certain frequencies was intentional. He proffered that many of these frequencies were accessible to persons such as those who purchased Japanese specification vehicles. Many of these vehicles are equipped with radios which are pre-tuned to certain frequencies.
These frequencies are catered for by certain local stations and most of these stations, are owned and controlled by ‘friends and family’ of former President Jagdeo. He cited the example of E-Networks under the brand of Freedom Online, Broadband Incorporated, which marketed E-Networks Incorporated the largest market share of digital multi-channel television services in Guyana; residential internet services covering Georgetown and its environs up to the East Coast, Demerara and East Bank Demerara a large geographic spread in Region Four (4) alone together with Berbice and Linden with expansions on the Essequibo Coast. It also controlled internet access and voice services to miners and companies in the remote areas of Guyana.
Minister Harmon explained that a ‘band-expander has to be installed’ for the radios, in these newly imported vehicles, to tune into other channels. This means that immediately on arrival at local ports, the imported vehicles’ owners are “kidnapped” in terms of being able to access certain stations without the ‘band expander’ being fitted. This he said, was clearly intentional as “Immediate access is given to more than 40,000 vehicles imported over the last five (5) years.”
The market was hijacked by the PPP, Minister Harmon added, “and this was business as usual. He emphasised, “The people expect us to act and we will act…This legislation is overdue and will be passed in this house.”
The minister likened the move as one akin to kidnaping a captive audience.
He emphasised his support for the bill noting that the wrong must be corrected since the people of Guyana, expected government to act.
By: Paul Mc Adam