TTT board sacked  in surprise move

THE entire board of directors of State-owned television station TTT has been fired.

The Lisa Agard-led board was advised of the decision by Communications Minister Donna Cox on Thursday, a source familiar with the board’s operations confirmed to the Sunday Express.

The decision came as a surprise to the directors as there was no formal, prior notice, another source close to TTT’s operations said yesterday.

The board was appointed in June 2018 in the midst of the station’s rebranding from CNMG into TTT.

It was chaired by former Guardian Media Ltd chief executive Agard and included members Karen Lynch, Dr Rita Pemberton, Anthony Bullock, Nadira Lyder and Dr Jameel Sulimani.

Speaking on condition of anonymity yesterday, a source close to the Cabinet said the explanation given for the “re-constitution” of the TTT board was that the Government wanted to “take TTT in a different direction”.

There was speculation also that one of the reasons behind the decision to “re-constitute” the board of directors was as a result of fallout from lack of livestream coverage of the Central Bank’s December 9 news conference in Port of Spain on the changeover from the old $100 bill to the new polymer note.

This could not be immediately confirmed.

Minister Cox could not be reached for comment yesterday as calls and a text message to her cellphone were not answered.

But a source close to Cabinet yesterday told the Sunday Express a new TTT board has already been identified and its members will be announced to the public shortly.

Chairman Agard also could not be reached for comment.

TTT has a long history in T&T, having commenced operations on August 24, 1962.

The station was closed on January 4, 2005 due to financial difficulties.

CNMG started operations on January 5, 2005 as a replacement to TTT.

In 2015, then-public administration minister Maxie Cuffie had detailed the company’s losses, saying CNMG was “burning through” $25 million a month at one point and there had been “wanton wastage and corruption” at the company under the former administration.

A decision was also taken to shut down Government Information Services Ltd (GISL) which had also been operating at a substantial loss.

In April 2016, Cuffie said both entities were costing the State approximately $36 million annually.

The re-branding and return to “TTT” was part of the Government’s plan to revamp the company which was then described as a “drain on the State’s ­resources”.

Re-launched

TTT was formally re-launched on August 30, 2018, which marked the official changeover from CNMG.

The company was envisioned as becoming a “public service broadcaster” focusing on disseminating public and government information and new as well as local entertainment content.

At that time, then-communications minister Stuart Young said the Government was aiming to make the State-owned media organisation the premier choice for local content producers.

Agard had said then that TTT was aiming to grow its market share and earn revenue to sustain itself in the future.

She said the board was working on changing the culture of TTT from one that depended on Government’s monthly subvention to one that earned revenue to sustain itself.

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