The Director of Public Information for the Government of Guyana, Imran Khan, has declared that it is not the job of the taxpayer funded Government Information Agency to cover the Opposition during the ongoing budget debates.
Khan’s statement came in response to criticism of GINA and the Department of Public Information over their coverage of the budget debates, focusing only on the statements made by the Government Members of the National Assembly.
In a post on his Facebook page, Mr. Khan wrote that “It appears as though there is confusion re the role and function of the DPI. GINA, for example, is also wholly funded by the taxpayers but its role is not to cover the opposition. It is to cover the elected government of the day.”
He further stated that “DPI and GINA constitute the PR division of the elected government of the day in lieu of a fully constituted Ministry of Information”.
The position of the Director of Public Information is in direct contrast to the position of President David Granger when he was Leader of the Opposition.
On several occasions, then Opposition Leader Granger had objected to the biased coverage of the National Assembly by the Government Information Agency.
In 2012, Mr. Granger penned a letter to then Speaker Raphael Trotman complaining about GINA’s “biased” coverage of the budget debates. He expressed the view then that the public must know what is happening in the National Assembly and GINA needs to publish what the entire National Assembly is saying and not just the Government’s side.
In 2013 when the Opposition used its majority to reduce the allocations to GINA to $1, Mr. Granger complained again that the Government Information Agency had still not made efforts to carry both sides of the National Assembly. He also reminded that the Opposition is part of the National Assembly and the legislative arm of Government.