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Two Constitutional challenges filed in the High Court against the granting of radio frequencies by Former President Bharrat Jagdeo – 19th Apr 2013

radio licencesIn the first challenge, broadcaster Enrico Woolford is asking the High Court to declare that President Bharrat Jagdeo’s granting of radio licences were unconstitutional, unlawful and of no legal effect. The Attorney General is named as a respondent in the case to show why the court should not quash the decision made by Jagdeo. The second named defendant is Valmiki Singh of the National Frequency Management Unit, the authority which assigns frequencies. It was recently revealed that Jagdeo, in the very month he was leaving the Office of the President granted five radio frequencies to his best friend, Dr. Ranjisinghi Ramroop, and two other companies of persons associated with Jagdeo and the ruling PPP. One frequency each was granted to seven other companies.

In the proceedings, Woolford claims that Jagdeo had signed an agreement with then Opposition Leader Robert Corbin saying that no broadcast licences would be issued until the new broadcasting legislation comes into effect. However, Jagdeo went ahead and granted those new frequencies almost one year before the Broadcasting Act came into being.

In the second challenge filed in the High Court, Kaieteur News and the Guyana Media Proprietors Association asked for a declaration that the granting of those radio licences was done under improper considerations and was discriminatory, unconstitutional and of no legal effect. The action by the Media Proprietors Association is also against those who were granted cable licences by Jagdeo, namely his friend Brian Yong and the ruling party’s associated Vishok Persaud .

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