Eyewitness: Free at last…


…from GTT’s monopoly

It’s a little appreciated irony that when the PNC sold off our local telephone company in the first wave of privatisation back in 1990, the US and UK were well on the way to breaking up their telephone companies – “Ma Bell” in the US and “C&W” in the UK. They did so because while the “telephone and telegraph” companies had been seen as “natural monopolies” for over a hundred years, that rationale was now passe. The huge capital expenditures needed to deliver the “public good” of communications to every citizen justified the monopoly, but by 1990, it was accepted that new technologies could deliver the same service much cheaper – with competition!

Yet the PNC gave the fledgling US company ATN a monopoly when they sold our admittedly decrepit and non-functional telephone company just before the first fair and free elections. All right…maybe they had to, because the PNC had wrecked the system to a point where persons had to book an overseas call a week in advance! But there had to be more in the mortar than the pestle when, in addition to giving the ATN-owned GT&T a 20-year monopoly, they accepted a clause in the contract that gave them the right to an automatic extension – if they wanted it.

And, of course, they wanted …actually, they LUSTED IT!! And why not?? GTT was a goldmine for ATN, since the Guyanese diaspora, for one, was willing to pay hundreds of millions to call their relatives “at home”. So, when the contract expired in 2010, ATN strong-armed the PPP and insisted they’d take them to court if the former broke the contract by refusing its extension. By then, both the PPP and PNC had realised what a drag the monopoly was on us ever becoming on par with the rest of the world in the communications arena – the foundation for progress in a globalised world. Yet, GTT played hardball.

Finally, the PPP realised that they had ample grounds for breaking the contract – GTT had materially breached the same by not fulfilling the raison d’etre in the first place. To wit, supplying the entire country with connectivity!! Another reason was that even if ATN took them to Court, they had played ducks and drakes with declaration of profits, and owned back taxes that were worth more than the entire company!!

Yet, for some reason, the PNC’s Cathy Hughes didn’t enforce the law that was unanimously passed to break the monopoly.

The PPP, on the other hand, kept their campaign promise, and the monopoly yoke has finally been thrown off!!

Free at last!! Free at last!!

…but not Public Servants

Back in the day when the Brits were still ruling, “Public Servants” were called – with good reason – “Civil Servants”. The name reflected the ethos of those who worked to keep the wheels of state turning. Acknowledging they were SERVING the people, they were always civil. All of this changed in the 1960s when the CIA decided to overthrow the PPP Government and used them as their spearhead to install the PNC. The leadership changed from being apolitical Civil Servants to PNC sycophants.

And this is where Patrick Yarde – who has been at the head of the GPSU since 1987 and has to be pushing 80 -comes in. You have to remember that Public Servants have to retire when they reach 55 – yet they’re led by a geriatric. He gets away with it because the General Council of the Union is dominated by a cabal of retirees who always back him. At the last GPSU elections in 2017, some of their dirty trucks were revealed by some of Yarde’s challengers.

It was a prelude to MINGO!!

…but not for long

A lot of folks were wondering why Lowenfield and Mingo had been criminally charged for their roles in the attempted elections heist, but Roxanne Myers, who’d been in the thick of things, was running free.

No more!!