Granger turns down request from USA
GEORGETOWN – The Guyana government says it has turned down a request from the United States to relay the Voice of America (VOA) programmes to Venezuela utilising a local medium wave tower.
The request was made through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which, in turn, channelled the request to the Ministry of Public Telecommunications.
In the memo, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “the US Broadcasting Board relayed that their technical team has informed them that Guyana has four Medium Wave allocations registered. They are 1010kHz, 7000Khz; 760kHz and 560kHz.
“In this regard, the broadcasting team would like to know if the following would be possible: Would the 560kHz station lease any time to VOA? Would Guyana be open to issuing a licence to VOA to put a new signal on MW, either on an existing allocated frequency or a new one? If so, could the power be increased to 50 kw, either on an existing frequency or a new one?”
President David Granger late Friday confirmed that his administration rejected the request because of security, health and political risks that Guyana could expose itself to with Venezuela.
“Given the length of an unpoliced western border, the influx of refugees, the unsettled territorial question and the public health risks, it would not be in our national interest to do anything to contribute to destabilising relations at this time,” he added.
The disclosure that Georgetown had rejected the request by Washington comes a few days after US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo announced that the Trump administration would be imposing sanctions on persons whom it considered to be “undermining democracy” as the country awaits the outcome of the disputed March 2 regional and general elections.
Pompeo also said “immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to such restrictions”.
Georgetown Wednesday said it regrets the decision taken by Washington adding “the matter affecting the outcome of Guyana’s elections is still before courts, which is entirely the responsibility of the judiciary. No declaration has been made”.
Washington has imposed severe sanctions on the Nicolas Maduro administration over a range of issues including human rights violations and poor governance.
But while Guyana and Venezuela have been at odds, over Caracas’s claim to a substantial amount of land in Guyana, the Granger administration has adopted the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) position of non-interference in the internal affairs of any country.
A US Embassy spokeswoman said the American government was no longer interested in the radio project.
“The U.S Agency for Global Media is not actively considering this anymore. It is important that the people of Venezuela have access to uncensored news from credible Venezuelan and international journalistic news sources. Guyana has shown leadership in the past, in defense of representative government by joining other Lima Group members from the Americas to strive for a democratic resolution to the crisis in Venezuela,” she said the Guyana-based online publication, Demerarawaves.com. (CMC)