Sometime last week the Kaieteur News shared information about the ownership/interests of Global Technology and inet. In that article it was reported that the HPS said that he did not know about inet’s license.
Tarron Khemraj wrote a piece in SN analyzing the high cost of electricity and its impact on the private sector. Fact is that high electricity cost and high internet rates and communication costs are strangling businesses in Guyana – and both sectors (Electricity and Commnications) are run by monopolies and/or a handful of persons who were favored by the GoG.
I have always been openly and publicly pro-liberalization even while employed by one of the monopolies.
Now, while inet/GT said that they have had a telecommunication license for many years, I do not know any company other than GT&T or Digicel that received a telecommunication license. In fact, GT&T’s license supposedly precludes any entity from being granted a telecommunication license except in the mobile arena.
So, what happened was that NFMU/GoG gave “permits” to a few entities for use of a certain frequency – for FREE.
These “permits” were, I belive, restricted to the sale and distribution of internet access and were given to Enetworks, Quark Communications Inc and inet. It is important to note that while they received free frequencies, Digicel and GTT had to pay per a complex formula for the spectrum. What was more intriguing was that (maybe) the “freeness” was backed by granting “permits” to use what is usually known as the open spectrum. It was clear that the GoG avoided any legal challenges from GT&T by issuing these permits (instead of licenses).
The main persons behind these three companies (Enetworks, Quark, Nexlink) are known to everyone and one of them even appeared in the list of candidates for one political party at election time.
What was also reported in KN was that Quark Communications operated from within the premises of Queens Atlantic while Inet was acquired by Global Technology whose principals are associated with Queens Atlantic.
The HPS is right to say he does not know them (inet/GT) since if they have a telecommunication license, it would have been with the direct knowledge of the HPS (the NFMU/DoT/PUC all fell under the ambit of the PM and HPS).
Does these three companies operate under influence of one company or one group of persons? Will their collective strenght effectively negate the Dominance of GTT and Digicel? Is communication in Guyana heading into the hands of a few persons?
What is (maybe) not obvious to the public is that Enetworks, Quark Communications Inc., inet and Nexlink Communications are all GUARANTEED a telecommunication license under the new telecommunication (liberalization) legislation “without the need for any application therefor from any of those entities”.
Finally, what is also not obvious to the public is that the PPP and AFC both lack the independence to argue and debate telecommunications liberalization since there is deep conflict of interest. The PPP’s members/candidates are guaranteed licenses
while top persons in the AFC (Ramjattan/Williams) are retained directly and indirectly by GTT and Digicel.
The question begs to be asked: Who will look out for Guyana’s best interest where telecommunication is concerned?