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Gov’t, ATNI to conclude liberalisation talks soon

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The Government of Guyana anticipates that the discussions with GTT’s parent company – Atlantic Tele-Network International (ATNI) – will come to an “amicable” conclusion before the end of the year as it relates to the liberalisation of the country’s telecommunications sector.

In a statement issued on Friday, defending the performance of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, subject Minister, Cathy Hughes reiterated that Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, had led the opening of serious discussions with GTT and its parent company in December 2016 to end that company’s claimed exclusivity to international communications and landline services.

Minister Hughes at an Alliance For Change (AFC) press conference earlier this week, told members of the media that within eight months of its formation, the Ministry of Public Telecommunications had succeeded in passing the Telecommunications Act into law which is intended to liberalize the IT sector.  The PPP, she said, had sat on these pieces of legislation for fourteen years doing nothing to or with it.

The July 2016 passage of the Bill was the culmination of many years of lobbying by both APNU and the AFC while in Opposition for advanced telecommunications services to be made available to citizens.  “It is to our credit that we have come this far in less than 2 years,” Minister Hughes stated.

The Ministry noted that when the original agreement was about to expire in 2010, the telephone company did notify the then government of its intention to exercise their contractual right to renew for a further 20 years.

“The PPP’s response was to sell the people of Guyana’s 20 percent share in GT&T for US$30M.  The buyer was Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group based in Hong Kong.  This Government is still utilizing available option to have Datang pay up the US$5M balance from the 2012 sale,” the statement noted.

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