DIGICEL GUYANA DEMANDS EXPLANATION FROM GT&T / ATN ABOUT DEFERAL OF LIBERALISATION LEGISLATION
Government Spokesman attributes last minute withdrawal of legislation to threats of legal action from ATN, GT&T’s US Owners
Friday, September 30, 2011 – Georgetown, Guyana: Digicel Guyana is demanding a full and frank explanation from GT&T’s US owners, Atlantic Tele-Networks (“ATN”) regarding the nature and extent of any legal threats made against the Government of Guyana concerning the planned introduction of telecommunications reform in Guyana last week.
Media reports in Guyana today attribute the dramatic 11th hour reversal by Government last week to the “possibility of litigation and acrimony” which arose following communications between the Government and US based ATN / GT&T. These reports appear to contradict statements made by GT&T’s CEO, Yog Mahadeo, last week when he stated that GT&T had made no last minute representations or submissions to Government on this issue. This statement has now been openly contradicted by the Government of Guyana. A full and frank explanation from GT&T / ATN is required.
Gregory Dean, CEO of Digicel Guyana comments; “It really is a matter of very grave concern that a US based multinational would seek to intimidate and bully the Government of Guyana into submission in relation to a matter of such fundamental importance to the development of telecommunications and the economy of Guyana as a whole. The people of Guyana deserve to know the whole truth about this most unfortunate episode”.
These comments follow statements made by Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon in which the “fear of litigation” on the part of ATN was alluded to as a significant factor in the dramatic last ditch reversal of the Government’s plans to liberalise the telecommunications market. The passage of this legislation would have provided for immediate competition in the international calling market and would have led tosignificant reduction in the price of international calls for Guyanese consumers.
Digicel has formally written to Government seeking an explanation of events last week and is awaiting a response. However, circumstances now demand that GT&T and its American owners come clean in relation to their actions which have, it would seem, led to the withdrawal of the liberalisation legislation which has been promised for so long.
Meanwhile, Digicel welcomes His Excellency, President Bharrat Jagdeo’s public statement at the GuyExpo launch on the commitment of the Government to liberalisation. Further, the telecoms provider believes the factors that lead to the most recent failure ought to be revealed and discussed by stakeholders so that solutions can be found to avoid failure in the future.
“The people of Guyana deserve to have the benefits of full and open competition in all sectors including the telecommunications sector. They should no longer continue to be losers financially and be denied access to new technologies.,” Dean concluded.
ABOUT DIGICEL GROUP
After ten years of operation, Digicel Group Limited has 11.5 million customers across its 32 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.
Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Cup. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team.
Digicel also runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Jamaica, Haiti and Papua New Guinea which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.
In 2004, Digicel developed Digicel Rising Stars – an annual talent show to support aspiring young music artists in the Caribbean. The show has spanned the Eastern Caribbean, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago ranking as one of the top-rated shows.
Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and its markets comprise: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean.
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