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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

March 8, 1999 - OECS states over the weekend met in Saint Lucia to hold dialogue with officials of Cable and Wireless PLC, one of the major telephone entities serving the OECS region. The meeting came on the heels of a revised draft public discussion on telecommunication held in February.

The present position of telecommunications in member countries has laws, licenses and agreements, which are outdated, compared to the situation in well-developed countries and increasingly throughout the world.

Governments of the Region are of the view that there should be a shift from the present position to a situation which is in line with developments worldwide and which will result in benefits to the member countries and their people. The governments say their aim to ensure that the demand for existing telecommunications services is met in order to support economic growth and diversification, provide a suitable environment for tourism, informatics and financial sectors and satisfy the educational and social needs of the community. The governments will endeavour to develop the telecommunications infrastructure and services by providing a liberalised and competitive environment with open entry to stimulate the introduction of an increased range of services using state of the art technology.

Addressing Friday’s meeting, Saint Lucia’s Minister of Communications, Senator Honourable Calixte George, urged all stakeholders to work together diligently for the upward mobility of all states. He warned the utility company though, that governments of the OECS are not going to be "bulldozed", by any specific anti-government policies that C&W may wish initiate"but we certainly will analyse it in our interest, and when I say in our interest, I mean the sovereign interest of all the peoples of the Caribbean and I want to emphasise that in this whole exercise, we will not be dominated any longer by a single monopolistic company when it comes to telecommunications policy in the region, because I think our sovernity is paramount."

Cable and Wireless has served the Caribbean for over one hundred and thirty years and according to Cable and Wireless’ Director of Sales and Marketing, Colin Little his organisation intends to continue serving the OECS region and more importantly plans to be part of the reform process. "We have, as a company in these islands and elsewhere been through many changes and we have always played our part for the benefit of customers." he said.

 

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