President urges media to be ‘tolerant’ of no press conferences
President David Granger says that his busy schedule has kept him from having formal engagements with the media.
“My heart is in the right place but right now, I’ve had a really difficult period of public engagement and overseas travel,” the President told the media on the sidelines of the opening of the Caribbean Information and Communications Technology (ICT) conference and roadshow at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre Monday morning.
According to the President, he spent last week in Jamaica to attend the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting and prior to that, he was attending the Sixth Assembly of the Global Environmental Facility in Vietnam.
“It could be a challenging period and as soon as I get the opportunity, I would engage with the press but I’ve been travelling quite a lot and then to deal with domestic issues – the sugar industry, we have to deal with the petroleum industry, I have to deal with crime and security,” President Granger proffered.
“I asking the media to be tolerant,” the Head of State said but did not promise a press conference any time in the near future.
When President of the Guyana Press Association, Nazima Raghubir questioned the Head of State about how soon he intends to engage the press, he did not respond and instead walked away as his Public Relations staff veered him off to his next engagement.
Since assuming office in 2015, President Granger has held only two press conferences – the second on December 15, 2017.
Since then, the media has been tackling the Head of State on the sidelines of his events and majority of the times the questions are limited by his PR staff, some of whom have been known to be rude to the press.
A Stabroek News editorial today pointed out that the lack of engagements with the press by the President is a disregard for the role of the media in holding the government accountable.
The President previously entertained questions from the media on a pre-recorded programme ‘The Public Interest’ once per week and included two journalists – one from the private media and one from the state media on topical issues.
However, this programme no longer exists.