NewsThe Opposition UWP Offers its Defense Against the Closure of Sky FM

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 4, 2022115864 min

SKY FM, operating illegally since last year as the broadcasting voice of the United Workers Party (UWP) ahead of the July 2021 General Elections, was ordered off the air on March 7, 2022 by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC).

The station had earlier been informed of its illegal operation and ordered to put its house in order in September 2021 and given a month to do so.

But despite official warnings to cease and desist its illegal operation, SKY FM’s operators ignored the call by the Minister responsible for broadcasting, Stephenson King, to abide by the law or face the legal consequences.

SKY FM’s operators were warned that ignoring the warnings and orders could result in an imposition of a one-million-dollar ($1,000,000) fine and ten years imprisonment.

UWP Leader Chastanet, former NTRC Chairman Lionel Ellis and Sky FM presenter Therold Prudent offered discordant responses to the closure of the Station in the last week.

Chastanet admits his administration (between 2016 and 2021) was aware that Sky FM was operating illegally, but argues that others also did.

In remarks on his Facebook Page and to the Press on March 8, the former Prime Minister and Minister for Finance said “two other local media houses” owed the government $400,000 and $90,000, respectively, but his Administration did not pursue them. While Chastanet’s claim has not been ascertained, he has, nonetheless, confused the issue of not having a license with non-payment of fees due by owners of a license.

Ellis, on the other hand, claimed the Station was operating on 93.1 FM with a license transferred by Kairi FM, never mind the broadcasting law does not permit the transfer of licenses.

Therold Prudent, an unsuccessful on-again-off-again Gros islet candidate for both major political parties and announcer on Sky FM, claimed the government had not given them enough time “ to correct “ the situation, a clear admission that the Station should not have started operation in the first place without a license.

On March 8, while parliamentarians observed International Women’s Day and discussed the long-overdue Domestic Violence Bill, the UWP mounted a pro-Sky FM protest outside the House of Assembly.

Meanwhile, Prudent promised that Sky and UWP supporters “intend to have a protracted protest against the government,” over the issue of Sky FM’s closure, while the Station continues broadcasting via other platforms.

St. Lucia News Online

One comment

  • Ras Biko

    March 14, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    Very well-written article. Your journalistic style has exceeded my expectation. You are driven by the facts, not hyperbole or ideology. You have debunked the venomous lies and filth that’s spewed daily by the opportunistic charlatan, Allan Chastanet.

    Reply

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