In the face of scathing criticisms from civil society, President David Granger has finally agreed to hold a press conference after more than one year.
“When I return from the CARICOM Summit I will have a full press conference,” he told reporters this morning (June 21, 2017) during a rushed engagement following an event at State House.
Granger’s last extensive engagement with the local media fraternity was in October 2015; and the CARICOM Summit is scheduled to conclude on July 6.
The President did not specify how soon after his return from the 37th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government the media briefing will be held.
However he did promise to resume his weekly televised programme called “The Public Interest” this week after a hiatus of more than two months.
Just two days ago, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo upbraided the Head of State for failing to face the nation on a number of issues affecting the country.
“It is time that the President holds a press conference so that a lot of these matters he can give clarity. Since we’re the ‘doom peddling people’ he could bring hope to the country,” the former President had expressed during a press conference at Freedom House.
Time and again there have been calls for the Head of State to organize a proper forum to field questions from the media regarding current affairs and other concerns in the country.
But the President has always maintained that his engagement with the media was sufficient, pointing to rushed interviews on the sidelines of various events and his televised podcast.
Nonetheless, there have been concerns about the sufficiency of ‘The Public Interest’ given that the format only allows for private media workers to have some 10 minutes to pose questions to the Head of State.
The Guyana Press Association (GPA), in commemoration of World Press Freedom Day 2017, had urged the President to hold regular engagements with the media in the form of press conferences.