Government has not responded to the latest criticism over its intentions to purchase pirated texts
The row over the intention of The Government of Guyana to buy photocopied versions of primary and secondary school texts, continued over the weekend, but the Government has not responded to the latest criticism over its intentions.
In a letter to the press on Saturday, International and Trade Director of The Publishers Association, which is based in London, Emma House, said, that the government did not contact that association which represents scores of publishers to try and negotiate better prices for original copies of the texts being sourced for the Ministry of Education. The Association made it clear that by its action, the Guyana Government is in breach of its own copyright laws, as well as other international treaties it has signed onto.
The body was said to be weighing legal options to get the Government to comply.
Last week at his post cabinet press briefing, Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, had reinforced Government’s intention to acquire the pirated texts. He said it was a conscious decision by cabinet taken because of the high cost of the original copies. He also countered criticism by saying that Government merely wanted to get good quality texts at the lowest possible cost. The Education Minister had also weighed in saying that it was a moral issue and that the Governments main concern was getting enough books for the public school system.
The disclosure by the Government has been received with shock and disbelief from local importers of original texts and stinging comments from the GCCI and the GTUC.
Photocopy texts are available at several establishments around the country despite several attempts by local importers to legally stop the practice. In addition some importers say that the fines for breach of the relevant laws pose no threat to those who are in breach.