‘Subsidies’ is an economic concept which takes many forms

I wonder whether, if Mr R Ravie Ramcharitar had understood the terms “benefit from” and “subsidized,” he would have written a letter (‘The Guyana Times competes in an open market for advertising, including government advertising’ SN, September 30 ), so laced with misplaced venom and ill-advised reasoning. The term “benefit from” referred to the use of facilities subject to subsidised rentals, duty, and other illegal tax concessions given by President Jagdeo to the Ramroop company Queens Atlantic Investment Inc. (QAII). Mr Ramcharitar should tell us whether Guyana Times Inc is paying market rent, in which case QAII is improperly and immorally exploiting concessions granted by the state – as done by another prominent investor – or is charging rent based on cost which included subsidies in various forms. It is a case of lose-lose for Mr Ramcharitar and his principals.

Second, ‘subsidies’ is an economic concept which takes many forms, including cash disbursements, tax exemptions, preferential exchange rates, governmental contracts with special privileges, and other favourable treatment. Is it not obvious then that advertising by a government to a start-up newspaper that dares not disclose its total circulation, let alone the components of its circulation, falls into that category? What are these prestige advertisements that Guyana Times attracts? Are these the 20% GINA advertisements – in addition to direct government ads – which cannot be justified and certainly not on the basis of any normal circulation criteria?

And what is this about superior circulation and readership among the business and professional community? Since Mr Ramcharitar is so confident about his “facts,” I am sure he would not hesitate to share them with his “superior readership.”

I am disappointed that Mr Ramcharitar would put his name to a letter that so casually deems others as malicious, fearful or jealous. Of whom or of what? Of the real beneficiaries of the PPP/C and President Jagdeo’s largesse, including subsidised land at Pradoville, but who dare not sign such a letter? And was it fear that caused Mr Ramcharitar not even to acknowledge that the identical letter by me appeared in the Kaieteur News as in the Stabroek News? Is his company afraid of the Kaieteur News or is there a more dangerous subliminal prejudice against Stabroek News at work here?

Finally let me say how much I am looking forward to examining a copy of Guyana Times’ annual return and accounts for 2008 which I had hoped the directors would have filed by now. Or is exemption from the statutory filing another concession enjoyed by the Ramroop companies?

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