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Personal attacks and ludicrous innuendos against me by GPA

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Dear Editor,
I have noted the unsurprising resort to personal attacks and ludicrous innuendos made against me by the Guyana Press Association (GPA), in response to my letter in which I detailed the gross lack of financial accountability and the frontal violations to the Constitution of the GPA by the current management council.
I will not jump into the gutter; I choose to stick to the facts. In a classic case of obfuscation and running from the facts, the current council sought to malign my character for their abysmal failure to account to members. They shamelessly sought to question that I was indeed robbed on May 10, 2015, and that this resulted in the loss of the GPA’s funds, which they claim I didn’t account for. They also questioned why I didn’t go to the police. The current president is intimately aware of the details of that incident. She knows the amount of money involved, but sought to author the disgraceful statement that I somehow did not account for the funds, or “hundreds of thousands” of dollars, as was put in the statement.
For the benefit of the public, who may not be aware of the nasty allegations levelled against me, I wish to point out the facts. The fact is that the minibus I was travelling in from the West Demerara to Georgetown was held at gunpoint on May 10, 2015 at the Eccles stoplight, and the driver was commandeered to drive to flour mill road, Agricola, where everyone in the minibus was relieved of their possessions. I had with me my phone, camera, laptop, cheques and cash, including funds owed to the Pegasus Hotel for the GPA’s Dinner and Awards Ceremony, which I revived as soon as I was elected President of the GPA.
One media house used the police report of the robbery and did a story the next day.
The amount outstanding to the Pegasus was $206,659. For the loss not to be a liability to the GPA, I undertook to repay Pegasus the full amount, and I did so in two installments. The receipts are there, presented with all other receipts and a full financial report when I demitted office after my two-year term ended.
I reached out to those who had made payments by cheque, and they rewrote those cheques, knowing the original ones were not cashed. That is the testimony to my integrity; the lying, crass statements to malign me will not work. What is disturbing is that the Council, knowing these facts of an event almost ten years ago, sought to dredge the trauma of that day to somehow avert attention to questions about the council’s lack of accountability.
To conceal their shame over the issues I raised, the GPA Management Council sought to paint me as a political agent. It seems to have really pained the current president and others that, as someone who understood my job as a journalist and the important role journalism plays in democratic societies, I was among those who courageously stood at the forefront and exposed the naked attempt to rig the 2020 elections. My credentials as a journalist are unassailable. I pity those who have passed their prime and are trying to stay in the loop.
I maintain that it is a disgrace that the current council, headed by Raghubir as president, has failed to conclude the Annual General Meeting (AGM) more than a year after it was called. That’s a fact.
I maintain that, in the six years, including three years she squatted in office beyond her two-year term, there has been no financial report presented to the members of the GPA. That’s a fact. If it’s not, what’s holding you back from making it public? Is it the numbers you called out during your “report” to the AGM? Laughable!
I maintain that council members Iva Wharton and Ariana Gordon, at the time of the elections, did not qualify for membership of the GPA, as per the GPA Constitution. That’s a fact. To argue against that fact using the credible, long-fought-for campaign for women’s rights, accusing me of attacking women, really is going to the depths of the gutter. The current president should be ashamed.
What the current president is pursuing is sheer sanctimonious gangsterism. What I have raised are issues regarding the Constitution of the GPA, a lack of transparency, financial dealings, and hence it’s directed at roles and actions, not anyone’s gender.
The attempt of the current president and the council to say I have attacked other members of the media is to the level of a word I will not use. Calling out those who sadly allowed themselves to be used to solidify the rigging of the last elections is not an attack on them. It’s not an attack on someone’s employment. It’s an attack on you, who concocted the plan to rig the elections and bring reproach and shame on the GPA.
As for my colleagues who were flatly refused membership so they couldn’t vote at the elections, does the council seriously think they would want to rush to sign up? I dare say that ain’t happening!
I maintain the current council evidently has disgraced the GPA, the noble profession of journalism, and they should just beat out.

Yours sincerely,
Neil Marks
Former President of the
Guyana Press Association

The post Personal attacks and ludicrous innuendos against me by GPA appeared first on Guyana Times.

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