LettersNews

Chronicle Board Chair Responds to Prime Minister

Guyana National Newspapers Limited

2019-06-04

Hon. Moses V. Nagamotoo

Prime Minister and 1st Vice President

Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Hon. Prime Minister,

Re: Procedural Impropriety Re: Decision to terminate Mr. Duncan’s Employment

I am in receipt of your correspondence dated the 31st day of May, 2019 and which was received by my office on the 4th day of June, 2019.  I wish to address the two central thrusts of your letter.

The legitimacy of the vote

You called into question the legitimacy of Mr.Duncan’s termination vis-a-vis the issue of due process and my “reliance on provision 94 of the applicable Articles of Association”. I wish to respectfully state,  that all relevant provisions, more so the provisions of Article 94, were adhered to at all times in spirit and letter throughout the process that led to Mr. Duncan’s termination. On the special statutory meeting, which was held on the 2nd day of April, 2019, following a call of vote on the matter of termination of services, three directors voted against termination of services and three directors in favour of termination.

I exercised my right to execute a casting vote, in keeping with provision 94 as was recorded in and verified in the minutes of the proceedings (attached hereto are copies of the meeting minutes, and the subsequent meeting minutes which were adopted). Additionally, I wish to state that I rely on my report to you into this matter (attached hereto for easy reference) and reiterate,that the process was fair and transparent, there was due process and all principles of natural justices were adhered to.

Your correspondence sought to discredit this process by making reference to information bordering on hearsay from persons you refer to merely as ‘Directors of GNNL’ with no absolutely no reference to who those directors are and no record of their submissions in this regard. I respectfully submit, that we cannot effect policy decision at this institution of national consequence on such an inconsequential basis.

Accusation of capriciousness

Additionally, in your correspondence, you have alleged that Mr. Duncan’s termination was “arbitrary, capricious, unlawful and in excess of the jurisdiction of the Board.”  I respectfully submit that this characterization is not only insulting and injurious to the integrity of yours truly and the other directors who would have similarly voted for Mr. Duncan’s dismissal but is not reflective of the reality of the process. I wish to remind that over a period of six months:

  •        Mr. Duncan was accused in the media of financial impropriety, mismanagement among other allegations.
  •        The information unearthed by a Board investigation warranted the involvement of the office of the Auditor General.
  •        Mr. Duncan was sent on administrative leave to facilitate the audit during which time he was paid in full.
  •        The report from the State Auditor found multiple violations of financial procedure and questionable transactions as were documented in a report to the board, a copy of which has been provided to your   office.( attached hereto are copies of the preliminary and final report for ease of reference)
  •         Mr. Duncan was afforded all the tenets of natural justice including a board hearing during which he was allowed to be accompanied by an Attorney-at-Law.

In brief, not only was the process that led to Mr. Duncan’s dismissal exceedingly thorough in terms of due process but his dismissal comes under the express jurisdiction of the Board of Directors.

In closing

When I accepted the position of Chair of the Board of Directors of Guyana National Newspapers Limited, it was with the understanding that my professionalism and integrity would not be unfairly assailed.  I find that your letter not only calls into question my professionalism but the professionalism of fellow members of the Board of GNNL.  In light of this, I hereby submit my resignation as Chairman of the Board of Directors, with immediate effect, since I believe I cannot continue to act at the level of ethics that you clearly require of the position.

 

Sincerely,

Ms. Geeta Chandan- Edmond

 

  1. (1) Hon Dawn Hastings- Williams MP

Minister of State

 

(2)Hon. Joseph Harmon, MSM

Director General

 

(3)Mrs. Moshamie Ramotar

Company Secretary

 

GNNL

Ms. Geeta Chandan-Edmond,LLB,LEC

Attorney- at-Law

 

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