VCT sold to the Ramroop Group
The announcement that Vieira Communications Television has sold out its entire operations to the Ramroop group has started a discussion on media monopoly and the sale of a television licence. The Ramroop group that owns the fledgling newspaper The Guyana Times now stands poised to create the country’s first truly media monopoly in terms of ownership by a private company.
Capitol News understands that the National Frequency Management Unit was aware of the sale of the TV station with repeater stations in Berbice through the Press reports. The National Frequency Management Unit is responsible for ensuring that the airwaves which are a limited national resource are distributed in the best interest of the public. However an official with the NFMU says that companies that own TV stations are free to sell and or trade them with others although the owners can not transfer the licence to another individual or company.
VCT had also moved to the appeal court challenging the State’s continued monopoly of radio. That hearing is likely to come up shortly. If the court rules that the State has to divest then the Ramroop group stands to benefit by acquiring a Radio Station licence with the TV licence and the newspaper all in the same market. It is highly likely too that the group can move to acquire both terrestrial and over the air cable systems without impediment because of its close associations within the public and private sector.
VCT has been on the air as a commercial venture since 1982. The Guyana Government had indicated that it was not going to allow other TV stations on the air until new broadcast legislation is put in place. That particular issue of a National Broadcasting Authority has been dragging on for years.