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BBC Misleading Government
Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2004

By Stephen Kangal

The BBC is a radio competitor of T&T's NBN. The BBC whose well-documented operating inefficiencies have been heavily subsidised by British taxpayers to the tune of million of pounds sterling is ill-equipped to advise Government on the restructuring process of NBN.
I find that the business plan formulated by the BBC, for which Minister Saith must have paid handsomely and that entails the closure/relocation of NBN is a nonsensical proposal. Any local Tom, Dick or Harrylal including Gayelle could have done a better job for substantially less pound sterling.

The advice proffered the BBC to close down NBN for 6 months and then to relocate to busy and cramped Abercombry Street under the CNMG reincarnation cannot be worth the paper on which it is written. To use local parlance, Government is squandering and abusing $120m, excluding the cost of the repairs to the 610 Building, of taxpayers money to fund a dotish and stupid commercial decision that will prove to be suicidal.

Why must Government continue its presence in the mushrooming and over-saturated media industry that is of no strategic importance? Ever since Radio Guardian was nationalised and TTT was launched programming content/reception/appeal deteriorated as operating expenses skyrocketed. Institutional change will not change the statal operating culture of gross inefficiency and mismanagement in a 100% state owned CNMG media outfit. Look at the RHA's and Regional Corporation debacles.

NBN should have been allowed to continue to operate at Maraval Road to maintain and secure its current audience/advertising market share, safeguard its plant and equipment and progressively install its $50m worth of new equipment. Will NBN's Maraval Road go the way of the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd where valuable machinery, fixtures and equipment have been stolen and vandalised?

Where is this new pool of trained and experienced replacement media workers that CNMG will recruit if not the same personnel of the former NBN? Is the proposed CNMG part of Manning's machinery to feed propaganda to the rest of Caricom to increase his standing as the Christmas Father of Caribbean?

T&T taxpayers are being asked to pay a huge price to promote egoism, commercial madness and the elusive search for Caricom windmills.

The NBN bungling fiasco is a prime example of flip-flopping ineptitude in governance and throwing good money after bad. But now money is no problem again.

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