By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) is maintaining that the problematic 911 system is no fault of theirs.
The Company was responding to accusations by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee that GT&T, which holds a monopoly on landline services is not taking the blame the apparent technical error the service possess.
GT&T noted that the 911 service is installed and operated like any other landline/fixed service provided, the only difference being the use of three digits (911), instead of the standard seven digits.
The Company added that it provides toll free 911 facilities that are housed at Police Stations and are manned solely by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and their operatives.
“Hence GT&T has no responsibility nor visibility as to manning levels and indeed whether or not there are GPF personnel tasked with twenty four hours, seven days (24 x 7) , 365 day manning of the 911 facilities across the country.”
A statement further noted that “prior to 2006, all calls to the 911 number were answered at the Brickdam Police Station regardless of which area of the country the calls originated and at the request of the Guyana Police Force, GT&T officials met in 2005 with the GPF to review the 911 operation.”
The Company explained that a decision was taken at the aforementioned meeting that landline calls to 911 be answered at various police stations based on a detailed schedule submitted by the Guyana Police Force.
GT&T claims it does weekly checks to ensure all lines are technically functional. GT&T records the answering GPF party once the line is answered during these routine tests. Priority is given to faults detected during tests or complaints reported when the line is answered.
GT&T reiterated that the unresponsiveness of the 911 personnel has nothing to do with the service provider.
“Our checks have revealed that the following occur with great frequency (a) the disappearance of handsets from the termination points of 911 lines at various Police Stations, (b) the removal of the handset off the hook, (c) no answer by personnel during standard working hours.”
GT&T added that it values the excellent working relationship that GT&T has with the Ministry of Home Affairs through the Guyana Police Force and would therefore wish for this important National Security matter to be addressed from facts as opposed to apparent innuendo, misconceptions and false conclusions.
GT&T recommends that there is an urgent investigation and review of all facts which would highlight all issues associated with 911 services and reported deficiencies of same.
The Company says it stands ready to supply technical inputs to improvement of said service with an objective of assisting the Ministry in correcting and providing an efficient 911 police response since this would be in the National interest.