The University of Guyana (UG) marked a historic moment on Wednesday as Telecommunications Minister Catherine Hughes and Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) Chairman Leslie Sobers joined Vice-Chancellor (VC), Professor Ivelaw Griffith and Deputy VC, Dr. Paloma Mohamed-Martin in announcing the re-issuing of the university’s radio station licence. UG’s Communications Studies Division had been granted Radio Broadcasting Licences up until 1990, when their request for a renewal was officially denied.
It is one of only a few institutions in the Region that are dedicated to training broadcast and print journalists and producers of radio and television programmes. Minister Hughes said that the issuing of “radio licence has been a hot-button issue as far back as 2011 and this thorny issue has been on our front burner ever since. It has been important and dear to many of us.” According to the minister, the administration has always held the view that the university should have a Communications Studies Department fully equipped with a radio station. She added that the station will provide the opportunity to transfer theoretical knowledge into practical, “on-the-job training.”
The station will also save the university and students time and money. She explained that students in the past had to visit private stations for practice or to record their course assignments. An emotional Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Paloma Mohamed-Martin, noted that every chancellor since 1990 had fought to have the radio licence re-issued. She added that a number of studies have revealed that one of the key and fundamental problems with graduates coming out from the centre “is that they did not have enough practical experience.” Dr. Mohammed-Martin explained that with the radio licence, the Communication Centre will now be able to train persons in live broadcasting for radio and television. It will create a forum for students and faculty-led productions to be used in a wider community. “This will allow persons to hear from the campus community, because we have been able to broaden our radius to 15 miles. This includes Sophia up to Plaisance.” She added that the university is hopeful that by January 2018, they will receive their transmitter to become operational in April 2018.
The total cost for establishing the radio station is US$75,000. However, the Deputy VC stated that the Communications Centre already has equipment, thereby decreasing the cost. Chairman of the GNBA, Leslie Sobers, noted that the GNBA took pride in reissuing UG’s radio licence. He added that in the future, once the university meets all the requirements, its television broadcast licence will be granted. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, thanked a number of persons who were instrumental in the re-issuing of the licence, including President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, the Ministry and Minister of Public Telecommunications, and the National Data Management Authority, (NDMA), among others. It is hopeful that the radio station will be housed in the proposed University of Guyana’s Yucatan Centre for Greening Research, Information, and Sustainability (CeGRIS), while the proposed name for the station is the “Golden Arrow Community Broadcasting System.”