The public deserves to know why the telecoms legislation was withdrawn

Dear Editor,

I wish to commend the Stabroek News for the excellent editorial `The failure of telecoms reform’ as published in Monday’s edition.  The editorial was highly informative.  It provided an excellent understanding of what has become a very controversial issue.

I have long been concerned about the harmful effects of the on-going monopoly in telecoms in Guyana.  Guyana is the last country in the Caribbean to properly address telecoms liberalisation.  It is because of the monopoly on international services that the people of Guyana pay more for international calls than anyone else in the Caribbean.  It is also the case that monopolies hinder development and investment – this is very obvious in

Guyana I am sorry to say.  Until such time as we embrace proper competitive markets, we will continue to struggle economically and in terms of our development.  It is the responsibility of the Government to deal with this matter.  It should not be influenced only by the wishes of an investor that has millions already.

I am still concerned by the last minute withdrawal of the legislation which was put before Parliament for the purposes of finally liberalizing the telecoms market.   These concerns have been heightened by the subsequent failure to provide any explanation for this extraordinary back flip by the Government.  The failure of this administration to publicly address matters of this nature is a frustrating habit.

We deserve to know why this legislation was withdrawn and what insidious influences were brought to bear to have liberalisation derailed once again. It is the people of Guyana who have lost out here with the preservation of the monopoly. The withdrawal of this legislation was the latest in many sad days for the development of Guyana.

The Stabroek News deserves to be applauded for giving this critical issue the prominence it deserves as well as for explaining the matter of telecoms liberalisation properly to the people of Guyana.

The role of a free press in holding Government and private interests to account is one of the fundamental pillars of a functioning democracy. Guyana needs to have its press continue to ask the hard questions of Govern-ment, especially one that is so secretive.

Well done to the Stabroek News Team!

Yours faithfully,
Michael Fraser

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