Feb 12, 2017
Yesterday, I saw an amusing comment from a blogger on the social media website, Demerara Waves. The website carried an op-ed column by a frequent letter writer to the Stabroek News, GHK Lall.
The column was a decent read. But it was a comment by a blogger which really caught my attention. The blogger confused GHK Lall with Glenn Lall, the publisher of this newspaper, and accused the latter of being responsible for what is happening in the country today. Glenn Lall was being confused with GHK Lall
The two persons are different. GHK Lall is Gabriel Lall, a remigrant and an author of a few books. Glenn Lall is a businessman and the publisher of Kaieteur News.
I have the highest regard and respect for Glenn Lall. He is the most knowledgeable person I have known about doing business in Guyana.
If you want to understand the pulse of the business in Guyana, you have to speak to Glenn Lall. If you want to grasp the problems facing the business community, Glenn Lall is the person to speak to. In my opinion, he understands what is happening in the economy better than the Bank of Guyana Governor or the Minister of Finance.
If you want to make an investment, however small it may be, Glenn Lall is someone whose advice you should seek. He will tell you whether it is worth the while and whether you will lose or make a profit. He understands business. That has been his calling all his life.
The Stabroek News recently accused the Kaieteur News of printing letters which it stated were sent exclusively to Stabroek News. The Stabroek News was implicitly accusing this newspaper of lifting material from Stabroek’s letter pages and reproducing it in the Kaieteur News.
The editor of this newspaper, Adam Harris, has replied appropriately to that drivel which is being peddled by Stabroek News. The accusation is clearly a figment of the Stabroek News’s imagination.
But there are deeper forces at work here and this column attempts to explain those forces.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge which separates Kaieteur News and Stabroek News. Stabroek News is bitter because Glenn Lall, not a member of the traditional elite in Guyana, could have started a newspaper and outsold and outperformed the Stabroek News.
David De Caires, a member of the old middle-class elite could never bring himself to accepting that a person like Glenn Lall could produce a paper which would become more popular than his publication. The traditional middle class cannot contemplate a man from humble beginnings becoming more successful than them. This is the fundamental source of the bitterness which Stabroek News has had for the Kaieteur News and its publisher.
Glenn Lall has never allowed class-background to influence his relations with people. Glenn Lall has helped Stabroek News in the past, many times. They know that. He never saw them as competitors. He would always help them when they needed help. He was not envious or bitter towards De Caires. He tried to learn from the man.
What really set the cat among the pigeons, however, was the decision of the former PPP government to withdraw government advertisements from the Stabroek News. That newspaper felt that this move was intended to cripple it. The newspaper was peeved that Kaieteur News did not condemn the decision.
Glenn Lall’s position on the ads issue has always been misunderstood. It was never this newspaper’s position that ads should be denied to Stabroek News. The position of this newspaper was based on the principle that political considerations should not determine the placement of ads. Glenn, as a businessman was opposed to political considerations determining where ads should be placed.
His newspaper had suffered as a result of that policy, since for the first ten years of its existence, it did not receive a single advertisement, as the PPP was not prepared to place government ads in a newspaper edited by Adam Harris, and Glenn was never going to let Adam go just to please the PPP.
Glenn Lall is man of principle and he would rather his newspaper go under rather than yield to pressure to do what in his heart he knew was wrong. He could have eased his problems by simply asking Harris to step down, but he never did, because in his heart he believes that in life if you do not stand up for something, you will fall for anything.
Kaieteur News’s position was always that the placement of ads should be determined by market considerations, that is, circulation, reach and where the advertisers felt they were getting their best returns. Stabroek News felt that it was presumptuous of the government to deny its newspaper government ads.
Glenn Lall has been consistent in his position. He remained opposed to political considerations influencing the ads policy of the government. This is why when the Guyana Times started with minuscule circulation he compared the favourable treatment that newspaper was receiving in terms of government ads with what both the Stabroek and Kaieteur News were receiving. He felt that it was non-market considerations which had allowed Guyana Times to be favoured by the PPP government.
Stabroek News has remained bitter towards Kaieteur News ever since the ads issue. And that bitterness overflowed this past week when it accused this newspaper of publishing letters which were sent exclusively to Stabroek News.
Perhaps its circulation is dipping again. Stabroek News may be looking for the proverbial scapegoat. They should ask Glenn Lall for advice. He will help them.