AFC denies any role in firing of Chronicle columnists

first_imgFollowing revelations that an Alliance For Change (AFC) Minister may have been behind the Guyana Chronicle dropping two outspoken columnists, the minority party in the coalition Government has vehemently refuted that it was involved in the discontinuation of columns by political activist Dr David Hinds and trade unionist Lincoln Lewis.Guyana Times had reported on Monday that Working People’s Alliance (WPA) activist and former Member of Parliament (MP), Desmond Trotman had revealed that it was a senior AFC Minister who contacted the Guyana Chronicle’s Editor-in-Chief, Nigel Williams, and conveyed Cabinet’s dissatisfaction with the writings of the fired columnists.“The previous Chairman of the Guyana Chronicle was at odds with the other members of the Board, because he wanted the Chronicle to go in a certain direction and members of the Board objected to that, and I think it led to his resignation. That person holds a high position in the Prime Minister’s Office, and I sense that he wields tremendous influence,” Trotman said. “I suspect that he belongs to the same party that the Prime Minister belongs to, and … I was told that a senior minister who belongs to the AFC…was one of the persons who conveyed to the Editor-in-Chief of the Chronicle that there is dissatisfaction within the Cabinet about the direction that those two columnists were going…,” he posited.However, the AFC in a statement on Wednesday denied having a hand in the decision.“The AFC vehemently refutes allegations that it must bear responsibility for the discontinuation of the columns in question… The party acknowledges that Dr David Hinds is hurt and concerned about recent events relating to the discontinuation of his column in the Chronicle newspaper. However, the situation unfolding as it did cannot form the basis for purveying false accusations against the party,” the AFC said.In the missive, the AFC reminded that while the Guyana National Newspapers Limited (GNNL), which is the parent company of the Chronicle newspaper, fell within the purview of the Office of the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has been out of Guyana for almost two months recovering from a medical procedure and neither him nor his office had any involvement whatsoever in the decision.“At no time was the AFC involved in, or consulted, on any decision with regard to the status of Dr Hinds’ column or any other for that matter, nor did any party executive issue any instructions or directive on this matter. There was no need or requirement to. The AFC’s position remains consistent with the party’s liberal democratic philosophy,” the party asserted.The AFC went on to point out that its solemn and unwavering commitment to press freedom, for which it struggled since its formation is publicly known.“The AFC embraces the tenets of responsible journalism, analysis, critique and commentary and defends every citizen’s right to freedom of speech, but this freedom must be counterweighed with the attendant responsibility of propagating credible information and specifically not to disseminate falsehoods or fake news,” the party added.last_img read more