Ramotar dampens Digicel’s Liberalisation hopes with Prorogation

Ramotar dampens Digicel’s Liberalisation hopes with Prorogation

President Donald Ramotar’s decision to prorogue the Parliament of Guyana has resulted in all of the Bills and Motions that were before the House being thrown out and those bills and motions will now have to be resubmitted all over again.

Among the Bills is the Telecommunications Bill which was first laid before the National Assembly in 2o12. After several deferrals by the Government, it was sent to a Special Select Committee. Following meetings with stakeholders and agreement between the parliamentary parties, the final Bill was completed and was slated to be taken before the National Assembly for its second reading after the recess.

Because of the prorogation, that second reading and passage will no longer take place and the Bill will now have to be resubmitted all over again and go through the process of debate and scrutiny.

While both telephone companies Digicel and GT&T, have been looking forward to the passage of the Bill, Digicel has been pressing more for the passage because it would have meant the opening up and development of the telecommunications sector. The company would  have been able to expand its technology and services and strengthen its own network as well as provide its own data services.

The Chief Executive Officer of Digicel, Gregory Dean on  Wednesday told News Source that his company is disappointed with the further delay of the passage of the Bill. He said he does not believe it is understood how important the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector is for the country.

Dean said his immediate concern right now is when will the prorogation period end to pave the way for the passage of the Bill. He said the Bill has already been through discussions, a special select committee and more discussions and he hopes that it will not be forced to go through a long wait whenever the Parliament is called out of prorogation. Digicel’s CEO said he hopes good sense will prevail because the uncertainty of the end of the prorogation is not good for investors. He said investors will get nervous.

The company has invested millions of US dollars since it launched in the Guyana market just over five years ago. The monopoly system on data and landline services has stymied the company’s expansion and development of services.

President Donald Ramotar has not indicated when he intends to recall the Parliament. The prorogation period could last for up to six months. The Government has come under criticism for the move which is being seen as a way of silencing the voice of the people of Guyana.


Filed: 12th November, 2014


You must be logged in to post a comment Login