Categorized | News, Regional

Outgoing ECTEL chairman wants stronger regulatory mechanism

Gregory-Bowen-and-Vincent-Byron
Passing the baton: Grenada’s Telecom Minister Gregory Bowen (left) greets new ECTEL Chairman Vincent Byron Jr of St. Kitts-Nevis

 

Passing the baton: Grenada’s Telecom Minister Gregory Bowen (left) greets new ECTEL Chairman Vincent Byron Jr of St. Kitts-Nevis

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Oct 16, CMC – Grenada’s telecommunications Minister Gregory Bowen is calling for strong regulatory mechanisms to deal with the changing telecommunication landscape in the Eastern Caribbean.

“In ECTEL (the Eastern Caribbean Telecom Authority) today we’re celebrating 15 years and we’re challenged with the merger of two major telecommunications…providers and it is in this context that we must continue this next year of the regulatory process,” Bowen told the ECTLEL Council meeting here.

The British telecommunications giant, Cable and Wireless Communication (CWC) has acquired Columbus Communication in a deal valued at US$3.025 billion.

The companies said the merger will enable the combined company to significantly accelerate its growth strategy, improve service delivery to customers in the region, offer customers a comprehensive portfolio of high-quality products and services, and strengthen their position against larger competitors.

But while Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have given the merger their approval, the Eastern Caribbean countries, notably those served by ECTEL have not done so.

Bowne told the meeting that they have taken note of the absence of the Electronic Communications Bill, saying its passage played a significant role in the behaviour of the two providers.

“We are bombarded with a plethora of complaints, immediately the merger has been approved, the requests for prices increase, and not only request but a demand, because so far as the providers are concerned, there is nothing law to prevent them from so doing,” he said.

Bowen, who has been replaced as ECTEL chairman by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Attorney General and Minister of Communications Vincent Byron Jr,  urged ECTEL ministers, holding their 32nd Council Meeting, to deepen cooperation in the interest of the people of the sub-region.

“As we look back at our tenure, we must leave to the peoples of the region something positive in the sense that the telecommunications cost will not unduly go up, and this is not from a nostalgic point of view, this is because telecommunications and energy, both these two could cause the demise of the economic transformation of our countries in the region.”

Byron in his address described the telecoms sector as being at a crossroads.

“Here in St. Kitts we…have been a long time host to Cable and Wireless.  At one time they were a sole provider and the merger with Columbus is now one in which the new entity [will] launch…here shortly, but it is an area…we will be looking at, and we hope that it is done in a proper way, that…this entity will abide by the existing regulations, by our statues and that as it is in all the other islands, we would want to welcome this new body in a way that we feel happy and comfortable with them”.

He said the government expects a well regulated and fair environment for all.

“We as a people want the best possible service, quality of service at reasonable rates, proper rates as established by regulators and we hope that these very basic principles are not violated in any of our territories.  We will be monitoring this very closely and we hope that this is adhered to by our service providers.”

The ECTEL gathering ends on Friday with a workshop on the “Regulatory Challenges for Broadcasting in the New Digital Environment.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Gregory-Bowen-and-Vincent-Byron
Passing the baton: Grenada’s Telecom Minister Gregory Bowen (left) greets new ECTEL Chairman Vincent Byron Jr of St. Kitts-Nevis

 

Passing the baton: Grenada’s Telecom Minister Gregory Bowen (left) greets new ECTEL Chairman Vincent Byron Jr of St. Kitts-Nevis

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Oct 16, CMC – Grenada’s telecommunications Minister Gregory Bowen is calling for strong regulatory mechanisms to deal with the changing telecommunication landscape in the Eastern Caribbean.

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“In ECTEL (the Eastern Caribbean Telecom Authority) today we’re celebrating 15 years and we’re challenged with the merger of two major telecommunications…providers and it is in this context that we must continue this next year of the regulatory process,” Bowen told the ECTLEL Council meeting here.

The British telecommunications giant, Cable and Wireless Communication (CWC) has acquired Columbus Communication in a deal valued at US$3.025 billion.

The companies said the merger will enable the combined company to significantly accelerate its growth strategy, improve service delivery to customers in the region, offer customers a comprehensive portfolio of high-quality products and services, and strengthen their position against larger competitors.

But while Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have given the merger their approval, the Eastern Caribbean countries, notably those served by ECTEL have not done so.

Bowne told the meeting that they have taken note of the absence of the Electronic Communications Bill, saying its passage played a significant role in the behaviour of the two providers.

“We are bombarded with a plethora of complaints, immediately the merger has been approved, the requests for prices increase, and not only request but a demand, because so far as the providers are concerned, there is nothing law to prevent them from so doing,” he said.

Bowen, who has been replaced as ECTEL chairman by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Attorney General and Minister of Communications Vincent Byron Jr,  urged ECTEL ministers, holding their 32nd Council Meeting, to deepen cooperation in the interest of the people of the sub-region.

“As we look back at our tenure, we must leave to the peoples of the region something positive in the sense that the telecommunications cost will not unduly go up, and this is not from a nostalgic point of view, this is because telecommunications and energy, both these two could cause the demise of the economic transformation of our countries in the region.”

Byron in his address described the telecoms sector as being at a crossroads.

“Here in St. Kitts we…have been a long time host to Cable and Wireless.  At one time they were a sole provider and the merger with Columbus is now one in which the new entity [will] launch…here shortly, but it is an area…we will be looking at, and we hope that it is done in a proper way, that…this entity will abide by the existing regulations, by our statues and that as it is in all the other islands, we would want to welcome this new body in a way that we feel happy and comfortable with them”.

He said the government expects a well regulated and fair environment for all.

“We as a people want the best possible service, quality of service at reasonable rates, proper rates as established by regulators and we hope that these very basic principles are not violated in any of our territories.  We will be monitoring this very closely and we hope that this is adhered to by our service providers.”

The ECTEL gathering ends on Friday with a workshop on the “Regulatory Challenges for Broadcasting in the New Digital Environment.”