The Guyana Press Association (GPA) explained that the media workers arrived late to the Conference after they were treated with disrespect by several of the Force’s communications officers.
Reports from media operatives who were there indicate that they were not allowed to set up their equipment early because sensitive information was being discussed.
However, the Department of Public Information (DPI) and Ministry of Presidency (MOtP) had media representatives recording the discussion of the sensitive information.
According to the GPA, the Media were initially invited to cover the opening ceremony of the GDF Annual Officers Conference on the 23rd January 2018 with no start time given. In a subsequent email, the media were informed that they should be Camp Ayanganna at 9:30 on Thursday morning.
Upon arrival, the members of the media were told to wait under a benab just outside the compound of the GDF, after which they were corralled into a room where they were told to await further instructions. This went well beyond the time the media was invited to cover the opening of the conference.
After a few minutes, the media workers were led to the Officers’ Mess Hall where the opening ceremony was being held. On arrival, they were told to wait in the lounge area. At that point, it was clear that the event had already started as Chief of Staff Brigadier Patrick West could be heard giving his address.
A senior army officer subsequently led the media to the area where the event was being held and the media were told to stand beside dozens of officers who were all comfortably seated. It was at that point that a decision was taken to walk out.
The GPA contended that it is unfortunate that the GDF continues to engage the media in this manner even after repeated attempts to engage and work towards a better relationship.