GT&T and BK International go at each other over road construction works

GT&T and BK International go at each other over road construction works

The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) and BK International are at each other again over excavation works being done along the East Bank of Demerara to facilitate the four lane road.

This is not the first time the two parties are at odds but this time things took a different turn with the telecommunication giant planting a new pole in the center of a new carriageway, effectively halting construction on a significant section of the East Bank Four- Lane Extension Project (the area between the Diamond Intersection and the Diamond DSL Supermarket.

The move is seen as a means of retaliation after GT&T accused contractors and other persons involved in the execution of civil works of repeatedly disrupting telephony and data services across the country, sometimes inadvertently.

“The consequential damage to the company’s network infrastructure, especially our buried cables, is disruptive to our business, cost millions to restore, inconveniences our customers, undermines revenue generation, and can potentially compromise national security” GT&T said in a release.

The release further stated “over recent months, several of our business customers who rely on our data service to transmit and receive “mission critical” data and information have been severely affected by service disruptions consequent upon excavation works by contractors and others who failed to ask us whether buried cable was in the vicinity of the excavation site.  These businesses included Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, Republic Bank, Courts (Guyana) Ltd., Guyana Police Force, Demerara Distillers Limited, Guyana / Trinidad Mutual, Diamond Diagnostic Centre, to name a few”

BK International was awarded the contract to construct the new Highway which will alleviate traffic congestion on the East Bank but GT&T said works on the road saw occasioned repeated cable cuts, in excess of ten times  since 2011 and is of tremendous concern to GT&T and inconveniences the company’s customers and the country at large.

But the company owned by Brian Tiwari fired back, stating that “BK International crews were working on the new carriageway when an old GT&T pole collapsed. No BK employees were injured as a result of the collapse but some telephone services on the East Bank were reportedly disrupted. When GT&T crews responded, workers from BK International rendered assistance to pull up the ruptured buried cable”

The construction of the Four Lane Highway started just over two years ago and according to BK International, “the telephone company in February this year had committed to the relocation of its aerial cables and associated fixtures to a new pole route and to relocate buried cables in this area. However, when the pole fell today it was revealed that the cables remained buried under the active construction area”.

GT&T said that thanks to BK International, thousands of its customers as far away as West Bank and West Coast of Demerara, East Bank Essequibo and the Essequibo Coast were affected, while another fibre damage, also detected along the Soesdyke/Linden Highway resulted in the disruption of telephone service to numerous communities in Linden as well as Ituni, Kwakwani, Mahdia and Mabura.

“This situation is not tenable, especially since it is compounded by acts of apparent sabotage and willful vandalism of the network. GT&T has an obligation to protect the integrity of the National Communications Infrastructure but we need the cooperation and assistance of all Guyana if we are to succeed.  We take this opportunity to again encourage public utilities workers, road contractors, and indeed all Guyana to call us on 0777 before commencing excavations which can encounter and damage our buried cable infrastructure” GT&T said.

Filed:  17th September, 2014

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