GTT calls for audit into Digicel’s ‘illegal’ bypass with Suriname

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Guyana Telephone Telegraph (GTT) has called for an independent audit into Digicel Guyana Inc unlicensed trans-border link between Guyana and Suriname that has been active for more than five years.

This call was made as the telephone giant and other agencies support to a fair and competitive telecoms landscape. GTT believes that the time has come for this matter to be investigated and brought to light – one that can finally provide transparency to the Guyanese public.

The telephone company, in a release, stated that there is no ambiguity about this bypass activity – in fact, it claimed that it is a demonstration of remarkable arrogance and disregard for rule of law in Guyana.

Only recently, Digicel reportedly indicated to the PUC that its bypass operation was not appropriate for the discussion at hand but did not deny any aspect of the operation.

GTT is also of the view that the ‘illegal’ bypass is causing significant harm to Guyana, financially.

“With liberalisation on the horizon, the practice of equity and transparent conduct of all players is of paramount importance. It is essential that both the public and our leaders have the complete details about Digicel’s bypass operations, and that they understand the full consequences of the company’s actions, which are illegal and in direct violation of their licence,” the company said in a release to the media.

It is based on the aforementioned occurrences that GTT has called for the audit but more importantly, over a period of time and more recently, it was assured that the matter was drawing the attention of the local regulatory authorities.

In addition, by conducting this audit, GTT is of the belief that Guyanese will know the complete details of the alleged unauthorised cross-border link. It is also contending that since assuming office, the Government has pursued a number of audits to bring clarity to various aspects of our economy.

Given the financial significance of an illegal bypass operation, it would certainly seem appropriate for a similar audit to take place with regards to the illegal bypass, the statement added.

Meanwhile, GTT is also calling for Digicel Guyana to release documentation to show where it has made tax payments on the revenue generated by the ‘illegal’ bypass operations.

This, it stated, will determine whether or not the company has failed to pay some US$30 million to the Guyana Treasury for the past five years.

Apart from the loss of taxes, valuable spectrum is being used by Digicel Guyana. “We all have a right to know whether this spectrum has, in fact, been stolen by Digicel,” the release stated.

Only last Tuesday, the PUC held a hearing to determine whether GTT promotions are anti-competitive, as claimed by Digicel Guyana.

As a result of that hearing, it has since been determined that an assessment of the services will be conducted.

This is according to Chairman of the PUC, Justice Prem Persaud. The promotion in question is the “GET MORE PAY LESS” promotion. According to Persaud, it was Digicel’s contention that it could not compete with GTT because of the rates.

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