After more than 70 years of existence, the Guyana Press Association [GPA] has elected a woman as its leader. Nazima Raghubir, who has for years been the face of Prime News, one of Guyana’s leading television newscasts, was on January 7, 2018 elected the first female President of the Association. She ran unopposed. The GPA, which was established in 1945, is an organization that represents the interest of practicing media workers in Guyana. The first time the organization came close to having a woman at the helm was when veteran journalist, Julia Johnson, who was elected Vice President under then President Denis Chabrol, was required to act as president for a period. Johnson was among those lauding the historical
development recently. Speaking of her decision to run for office, Nazima said that it was after careful deliberation that she decided to make the crucial decision to pursue the leadership of the GPA.
However, Nazima might have been the most fitting candidate for the post in any case, not only because
of the number of years she has been in the media, but because of the various positions she has held in the past. Other positions she was elected to included: Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, Treasurer and Floor Member. According to Nazima, “I have been a member of the media and GPA for more than a decade and a member of the executive committee of the ACM over the last two years.” The ACM is the Association of Caribbean Media
Workers which represents media workers in the Caribbean and Guyana too. Since Nazima also holds a place on that body, she said, “I feel that with the collective support of GPA’s membership, I can lead an Association that represents all media workers over the next two years.”
Her proposed approach to strengthening the GPA is based on collective action, but according to Nazima, “I
will not make any promises that assume that I propose to do it all by myself. The GPA is as strong as its members and I would encourage members to support the Association beyond the elections.”
Nazima has already crafted a media plan which she hopes will help to propel the efforts of the GPA. Among
her ambitious plans is to build a strong and financially sustainable organisation with a broadened mandate to
execute projects based on the skills of the Association’s membership and allies. Moreover, she envisages a
widened membership base while maintaining its integrity as an Association of journalists and media workers
operating on traditional and new media platforms. During her tenure too, Nazima has her eyes set on
“strengthening relations with regional and international organisations interested in media development in Guyana and the press freedom issues that confront us.” This she anticipates will include strengthening existing relations with the international diplomatic community resident in Guyana, with particular reference to their interest in media development and the strengthening of the democratic process. But even more, the newly installed President is looking to build capacity to ensure that the GPA can respond to crises when they arise, and develop protocols to guide the leadership and members. Also in the pipelines are tactics to develop greater solidarity across the borders of commercial competition through joint projects and activities that promote greater cohesion, Nazima revealed. She is also preparing to establish what she calls, “a pathway for the communicating of concerns over the coverage of state institutions.” Moreover, her presidency is also slated to be laced with moves to review and revise the constitution of the
GPA to take into account the changing realities of media in Guyana even as moves are made to develop a public communication strategy and plan to promote informed opinion on the work and functions of the organization. But even as moves are made to implement her ambitious plan, Nazima made it clear that she will not be working in isolation. For this reason, she stressed the need for the development of a framework for broader sharing of executive responsibilities among the leadership of the organization.