Sophia phone service disrupted after new cable thefts

A number of GT&T customers in Section “B” and Plum Park, Block “E” Sophia are without telephone service as more of the company’s cables in the area have been vandalised in a wave of attacks.

The attacks are believed to have been carried out by persons or gangs in the area who are removing the copper wire from the cables to sell. In the most recent ones, 310m of 100 pair distribution cables and 110m of 50 pair distribution cables have been removed in the Plum Park area, whiles 200 and 100 pair cables were removed from the Section “B” area.

One of the vandalized cables in Section `B’ Sophia

GT&T representatives said the cables might have been cut sometime Wednesday night.  Personnel from the telephone company, who were in Sophia yesterday, emphasised that the incident is not the first of its kind, since telephone cables have been cut in the area as recently as last week.

They noted the recent attack in Section “B” occurred in very close proximity to where previous ones were carried out.

Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer of GT&T Allison Parker told Stabroek News that if residents in the area are not vigilant, the company will be forced to refrain from fixing the cables, leaving residents without telephone services. She noted that the attacks are carried out on cables that are located in front of person’s homes, yet no one seems to have a clue as to who the perpetrators are and they do not seem to be concerned.

GT&T has scheduled a meeting with community members for Sunday to address the protection of the telephone service, Parker added.

Errol Farley, GT&T’s engineer responsible for Sophia, lamented that as the company replaces the cables, they are being destroyed.  Farley said, “when we first got the report that cables were cut, we came and see and when the guys came the following day to restore the service, they recognise more of the cable missing.”

Scrap metal dealers are believed to be the main buyers of the stolen copper. Edgar Blackman, Security Manager of GT&T, stated that there seems to be a direct relationship between the scrap metal market and the number of vandalised cables. “The government needs to relook at the whole policy of controlling the scrap metal trade and they may need to bring on board some of the representatives of the companies who are affected so that we may have an input or offer suggestion to the problem,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Louis Jordan, a representative of the Sophia Community Development Council, expressed dissatisfaction over the issue.

He highlighted the importance of telecommunication to communities and called upon Sophia residents to be vigilant so as to protect the service in the area.

He also noted that as a result of the disruption in the telephone service, a number of small businesses, such as internet cafes that rely on the service, have also been affected. One resident, Richard Abrigo, expressed his disappointment at the attacks. Abrigo stated that he has not been able to keep in contact with his children since his telephone service was disrupted.

He added, “I asking the people in Sophia or anybody who passing and see the people who vandalising these things to hold on pon them an mek sure they pay for these things ’cause these things cause money.”

Over the years GT&T has reported numerous instances of vandalism of its telephone cables.

This year, between February 22 and March 2, GT&T reported vandalism of its cables at several places     in Georgetown; Sophia; Liliendaal; Kara Kara, Linden; and Houston.

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