There’s a radio broadcasting revolution in Guyana
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Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo (centre-front row) along with other officials and participants
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo (centre-front row) along with other officials and participants

Prime Minister tells regional radio conference

MORE than 40 regional radio broadcasters, drawn from Indigenous communities in Regions One, Six, Seven and Nine and the Voice of Guyana in Region Four, recently participated in a Regional Radio Workshop held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) in Georgetown.

The broadcasters were exposed to guidelines on how to use their respective stations, and how to provide quality programmes. They were also exposed to sessions on the Guyana Constitution, the Amerindian Act and defamation laws. During today’s meeting, the radio announcers had the opportunity to introduce themselves and provide overviews of their programmes and identify their challenges.

Opening the conference was Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who noted the historic nature of the event. Describing it as a “revolution of radio broadcasting in Guyana”, he pointed to the fact that for the first time in the history of national broadcasting, radio has been carried to the wider hinterland.

“We have now brought to the attention of the world that we have nine peoples residing in the far-flung hinterland and that they can communicate with the rest of the world in their own languages, that’s a revolution.”

According to the prime minister, while the idea was of community radio stations has been around for some time now, it was not undertaken until the coalition government took office in 2015.

“I found strong support from President David Granger, he’s not afraid to expand the horizon of communication and information… the President had said that we need public community radio stations in every region. We now have in five and I’m sure in due course we will have in every region. We should have radio stations in every capital city in every region in Guyana so that we can all be linked.”

Additionally, the prime minister announced that talks have started with the National Communications Network (NCN) and the Department of Public Information and NCERD to add public information content to through the Guyana Learning Channel television stations in 16 locations in the hinterland.

Today, many communities are now connected through community radio stations in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo, Region Nine, through the establishment of Radio Lethem, in May 2016; in Barima-Waini, Region One with the setting up of Radio Maburama, in June 2016; Radio Mahdia, Potaro-Siparuni, Region Eight in October, 2017; Radio Bartica in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Region Seven in November, 2017; Radio Aishalton in Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo, Region nine in February, 2018; and Radio Orealla, East Berbice-Corentyne District, Region Six in March, 2018. The Office of the Prime Minister also recently upgraded Radio Paiwomak.

Recognising the importance of communication to improving the lives of the Indigenous peoples of Guyana, the APNU+AFC Government upon assuming office in 2015 set out to link the hinterland with the coastland through the establishment of community radio stations and ICT hubs in villages in all the hinterland regions.

Also present at the conference were several government ministers including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge; Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock; Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes; Chairman of National Communications Network (NCN) Enrico Woolford; Coordinator of Government’s Regional Radio Project, Dr. Rovin Deodat; Technical Manager for Regional Radio, Devon Roberts; and Regional Radio Manager Michelle Abraham-Ali. (DPI)

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