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Gail Teixeira– AFC supports, PNCR walks out In news that comes as no surprise, the Broadcasting Bill was passed in the National Assembly yesterday afternoon, despite the absence of the entire opposition side of the house, save one member.At the very beginning of the session, leader of the opposition,Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys, Robert Corbin, took the floor and briefly explained why the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) could not support the legislation. Corbin and all his party’s representatives subsequently walked out.He said that the Bill “contravenes every tenet of consultation.” Corbin went on to assert that it violates the spirit of a joint committee set up by President Jagdeo and the late Desmond Hoyte, then leader of the opposition, as well as a later agreement signed between President Jagdeo and Corbin himself.He noted that apart from its drastic variations from the agreed upon terms, the Bill “is a travesty of justice and a violation of all the rights of citizens.” Corbin stated that he attempted to seek the Government’s approval to have the matter either sent to the Select Committee or be deferred, even going so far as to attempt to personally find the President yesterday only to be told that President Jagdeo was “under the weather.”Robert CorbinHe said that “the PNCR could not participate in this farce” at which point PPP Parliamentarian Gail Teixeira stated for the record that there had been no official or private request by the PNCR to ask that the Bill be sent to a special committee. Corbin in his response pointed out that it was the role of the Government to honour the agreement between parties without prompting. He and all of his party’s representatives subsequently walked out of the Parliamentary Chamber.After leaving the Chamber, Corbin elaborated on his party’s decision to withhold their support for the Bill. He noted that the opposition has not been given the opportunity to consult on such an important piece of legislation. He said emphatically,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, “it is clear that the Government intends to use its simple majority to pass this legislation that is a joke; where the President takes over the function that he has now in a legal framework …”Meanwhile, in another divisive move for the Parliamentary opposition, the Alliance For Change (AFC) chose to support the Broadcasting Bill. Last week it was the AFC that opposed and the PNCR that supported when it came to the passing of the Amendment to the National Registration Act.Presidential Candidate of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan, said yesterday that more than 95 percent of the current Broadcasting Legislation comes from a Bill that he tabled in 2008.According to Ramjattan, the first draft of this bill would have come from Kit Nascimento in 1990.Then in 2000, that Bill would have been largely rewritten by the work of a parliamentary committee chaired by Gail Teixeira for the Government and Dr. Deryck Bernard for the PNCR, a committee of which Ramjattan himself was a member.Khemraj RamjattanRamjattan stated that the draft was shelved for a number of years until a decision by Chief Justice Ian Chang in 2008 that called for the Bill to be produced.At this point, Ramjattan said, the draft was dusted off and tabled by his party, only for them to be told by the Government side of the house that the Bill was outdated.Ramjattan stated that the two Bills were almost identical, with the only differences being that the numbering was rearranged,Wholesale Jerseys China, a schedule moved, and a few other minor changes.He went on to say that the Government’s move then brings into question the tabling of the Bill at “this, the eleventh hour”.He opined that it was because the People’s Progressive Party did not want the rules that the Bill calls for being put into place,Jerseys NFL China, and that the move was a deliberate ploy to keep the President’s “monopoly” from passing to a Broadcasting Authority and its board.Despite their arguments, the AFC still lent their support to the Bill, with Ramjattan saying “without a Broadcasting Bill we can’t move forward because half a loaf, or three quarters of a loaf, is better than none.”Gail Teixeira in her defence of the Bill said that the legislation is not about the operators,NFL Jerseys From China, instead she says that the Bill is about a service to the people that gives them information and the Bill regulates that service.Teixeira argued that the President appointing the members of the Authority board is a moot point, citing that in several other Commonwealth territories “in all the broadcasting legislations it has been the Head of State who does that by whatever name he or she goes by…”She went on to say that the issue of whether the President or a Minister appoints the board is all camouflage because in essence “a Minister is a creature of the President.”The fact that CARICOM nationals will also be allowed to hold interests in broadcasting businesses was defended by Teixeira who pointed out that the decision to include this demographic was based on the many agreements Guyana shares with these CARICOM states.She noted,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, however, that there are provisions preventing CARICOM nationals from achieving any sort of monopoly over Guyanese owners in a broadcasting entity. These include a lower limit for Guyanese ownership, which must not fall below 51 percent, and the inclusion of only those states which have reciprocal arrangements in their own broadcasting legislation.The fact that all media houses under the Bill will be required to carry public service announcements was also addressed by Teixeira. She noted that in times of emergency and national need this will be expected and required of all media houses, state and otherwise, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people.
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