Long-awaited telecoms bill put off until recess ends

Prime Minister Sam Hinds was this afternoon granted another deferment on the second reading of a critical telecoms liberalisation bill which means it won’t be addressed until October at the earliest.

It was the latest in a series of deferrals that Hinds had sought from the House and is likely to irk Digicel which has been campaigning aggressively for an end to the telecoms monopoly held by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) since 1990. Hinds told the House today that the government needs more time for deliberations with GT&T and its parent company ATN.

Digicel had issued the following statement on Tuesday:

“Following official notification by the Honourable Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds, that the Telecommunication and PUC Bills  will be progressing in parliament on Wednesday, August 07, Digicel is looking forward  to the early passage and with it, the ending of the telephone monopoly.

“Commenting on this recent update, Digicel’s Chief Executive Officer, Gregory Dean says `Digicel is pleased to learn of this new development which is great news for Guyana.’

“`The Bills have been on the Parliamentary agenda since August 09, 2012 and while the wait has been a long one, we welcome the decision to progress following fruitful discussions between the Government and stakeholders,’” Dean said.

“Digicel can begin preparations with more certainty to introduce a number of incredible products and services especially in the areas of international calling and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as the company seeks to become Guyana’s leading communications network instead of only providing mobile communication services.

“`The people of Guyana deserve to have the benefits of full and open competition in all sectors including the telecommunications sector,’” Dean concluded.

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