October 24, 2014

Stabroek News called out on malicious attacks

Chairman of Queens Atlantic Inc, Dr Ranjisinghi Ramroop has put on notice the directors and owners of the Stabroek News, citing the newspaper’s constant malicious attacks on Guyana Times and other sister businesses. The latest salvo from the Robb Street-based outfit was on Sunday in an editorial, which sought to link the Guyana Times and Channel 28 with the government, as well as also allowing a vicious letter by Alliance For Change (AFC) member, Sasenarine Singh to be published.

Stabroek News Editor-in-Chief Anand Persaud

Speaking with Guyana Times International on Monday, Dr Ramroop said beginning in 2008, the Stabroek News began to viciously attack the Queens Atlantic Group of Companies and the New GPC Inc in a series of sensational articles and letters, all based on distortions of facts or outright lies.

“Our companies had long been in operation and we sought to understand their rationale: was it a coincidence we launched the Guyana Times that year?” Dr Ramroop queried.

He added: “There is, after all, the political angle with its ultimate goal of capturing and controlling power in Guyana. It is elementary that newspapers can set the agenda of a country by the slant it takes in its editorials and news selection. Guyana had experienced this truth when anti-PPP newspapers created a hysteria that formed the groundwork for removing them from office in the 1960s.

According to Dr Ramroop, the owners and directors of the Stabroek News are the direct descendants of that stratum – depleted, but tenaciously clinging on to its delusions of grandeur and entitlement.

He mentioned that in 1992, a past president of the republic characterised the Stabroek News’ then owner in a certain manner because of his rejection of attempts to broaden the economic base of the country.

“While the racial connotation is disagreeable and odious, it signals the origin of this clique, which has a reflexive rejection of anyone outside their incestuous circle that rises in social or economic status,” Dr Ramroop said.

“It abandoned any pretence to objectivity, descended into gutter journalism and widened its sights to malign individuals deemed friendly to the administration – in this instance, Queens Atlantic, its affiliates and its chairman.” Dr Ramroop said Guyana Times as a member of a business conglomerate that is dedicated to developing Guyana with fresh energy and vision, it is obviously seen as a threat to the Stabroek News’ effete, obsolete and decadent business model and pretentions. “We reject this arrant arrogance and declare that all Guyanese must have an opportunity to develop our motherland. The attacks from the Kaieteur News we attribute to the personal pique of its owner at the new competition.

“But the Stabroek News’ bile and vindictiveness has evidently become so bitter that it has now abandoned even the pretence of operating within the law. In 2008 and 2009, we issued detailed releases revealing the inaccuracies and lies of the SN and KN published in their pages but to no avail. Last year, we had occasion to protest misrepresentations published by the Stabroek News on Nov 7 and Nov 28.”

Dr Ramroop noted that in its business editorial of Dec 3, 2011, the Stabroek News labelled his charge that they were “targeting” his business as due to “hurt feelings”.

“The fact of the matter was that in September, the company had already obtained an injunction restraining the other newspaper, the Kaieteur News, from reprinting the claim and had moved to the High Court to seek redress for the libel. Stabroek News was also sued in November for causing Anthony Vieira to publish a libelous letter on QAII and New GPC. The matter was therefore subjudice (“under judgment”) and the Stabroek News was in contempt of court since they were fully aware of the lawsuit on the matter. It was therefore with great consternation that I noted on November 7, 2011, an article by one Arif Bulkan (In the Diaspora), in which the Stabroek News allowed him to regurgitate the same claims which are still subjudice.

We also refer to the editorial “Broadcasting” published on Sunday 15th January, 2012, and a letter published by Sasenarine Singh on Saturday 14th January, 2012.” The ex-parte injunction was granted by Justice Insanally on December 5, 2011, and the matter came up on December 20, 2011 in Chambers.

Stabroek News Sunday Editor Anna Benjamin

Messrs Hughes, Fields and Stoby and Satram’s Chambers both appeared for Mr Vieira.

Messrs Fitzpatrick, DeCaires & Karran appeared for Stabroek News. There was no appearance for the second defendant (HBTV, Channel 9).

The defendants/respondents were each granted 21 days’ leave to file an affidavit in answer to the injunction and the matter was adjourned to February 7 in Chambers.

Dr Ramroop contends that in so doing, the Stabroek News has mounted an organised campaign to influence ongoing judicial proceedings and has additionally breached an injunction obtained against another party. “We are considering initiating appropriate legal action and are hereby informing the directors of the Stabroek News that they are responsible for the gutter journalism of their newspaper and will be held accountable,” Ramroop declared. He further stated that the Stabroek news has over the years disguised itself as an independent newspaper without divulging its true ownership and directorship and for the purpose of edification, Guyana Times has published some of the principals behind Stabroek News known from 2006 to present.