Interviews and photos by Shabna Ullah

This week on What the People Say we asked persons in Berbice if they have landline telephones or if they want one as well as how many mobile phones they have and which network they use. Here are their responses:

Azarudeen Ally, labourer: `No I do not have a landline telephone but I am glad to have one because the calls would be cheaper. The area where I live at Bush Lot doesn’t have any lines but the other sections of the village have. My parents sent in an application to GT&T a few years ago and they [the company] promised to come but up now we’re still waiting. I have a Digicel mobile phone and everyone else in the home also uses Digicel because we get good service with it.’

Arthur Garrett, security guard: `I have a landline telephone and I use that a lot to make calls. To be honest I do not like to walk around with a cell phone. But I use one because I work mostly at nights and my daughter has to make contact with me sometimes. I am with the Digicel Company.’

Chitrandas Nipekra, retiree: `I am very happy that I have a landline telephone because I do not like to use cell phone. It is cheaper to use the landline phone to make calls. I do not even have a cell phone. As a matter of fact, since I used to work I never liked the idea of the supervisor knowing where I was. All in all I used to carry a radio phone when I was working in the fields. What I noticed with my phone bill is that more calls for within the area are recorded on my phone bill than what I actually make. I would make a record of all the calls I make just to trace it so that is how I know.’

 Paul Depnarine, student: `Yes, I have a landline telephone at home. I also have a mobile phone with two SIM cards but I would only use the GT&T SIM to make calls. Most of the people I call also use GT&T. I do not have any problem with the service and I enjoy the $1 per minute. I only receive calls on my Digicel SIM.’

Dabi Ramphal, vendor: `I use the landline telephone service but right now I am having problems with the receiver and I have to call GT&T to come and replace the phone. I use the phone line mostly for the internet. I also use a Digicel cell phone and I enjoy the ‘free weekend’ promotion. When I have to call GT&T cell phone customers it would be more expensive but nevertheless, it is very convenient.’

Roshawn Bailey, student: `I live at Golden Grove, West Coast Berbice and we got our landline phone at home about two weeks ago. My mother had applied a long time ago and I am happy that we finally got through. Before, I had to go over to my aunt’s house to use her phone when I have to.  I do not have a cell phone.’

George Robin, NIS pensioner: `I am from Trafalgar and I have a landline phone but my problem right now is that since 2006 we applied for electricity but up to now we cannot get it. GPL calling too much of money and the people cannot afford it. The children studying for CSEC exams which would be in about two months and they have to study with flambeau. I have a cell phone with Digicel Company but I only use it when I am going out and in case I need to.’

Jason Porter, construction worker: `Although I have a landline phone I hardly answer it. I told persons to call on my cell phone because I am hardly at home and because I do not like them to know what time I am home. I screen my calls and only take certain calls. That is why most persons would call me on my cell phone. I use the GT&T service and I enjoy the $1 per minute. I had cell phone since I was going to school when it was not so popular.’

Zulaikha Ishak, retired headmistress: `My landline phone is working well but there are persons in the No 4 and No 5 areas that I need to get contact with but their phones are not working well at all. Some persons’ phones there stopped working completely. They have the antenna phones and every time I call I would get a big, loud sound that is killing my ear drum. So they need to remove those antenna phones and put regular lines all over; we need it. I have two cell phones and I use the services of both companies; GT&T and Digicel. But I would use the cell phones only for emergencies. I would mostly use the line phone to make calls.’

Dennis Gordon, labourer:  `I am from Golden Fleece and I got a landline phone for the past three years. Before that I was using cell phones alone to make [and receive] calls. I have both GT&T and Digicel phones and I do not have a problem with any of the networks’.

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