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OECS Statement on Second Engagement between OECS & Cable and Wireless

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August 12, 1999 - The representatives of the OECS Member Countries’ negotiating team met with Cable and Wireless to provide a formal response to Cable and Wireless’ proposal for:

Liberalisation on of the telecommunications sector;

Regulation of the sector; and

Compensation for the removal of Cable and Wireless’ exclusive position within the sector.

The OECS’ negotiating team led by the Honourable Minister of Communications, Senator Calixte George, presented its counter – proposal to the Cable and Wireless Team and following discussions the parties agreed that:

  1. the introduction of a modern telecommunications platform which allows consumers access to high speed communications services is central to the efforts to increase economic development in the region; and
  2. the speedy liberalisation of the telecommunications sector is imperative to achieving such a platform.

The OECS team intends to achieve full liberalisation of the sector between January and December 2000. The parties agree that much progress has been made in today’s meeting and expect that further engagement will lead to the full liberalisation desired within the time – frame set.

Chairman George reiterated that the question of regulation of the sector was a sovereign issue and would be addressed by member governments within the context of the new regulatory system envisaged.

Trevor Clarke, speaking on behalf of the Cable and Wireless team, stated that the company is pleased with the progress made and recommitted to working with the OECS to facilitate economic growth in the region. Mr. Odie Donald, the recently recruited Chief Executive Officer for Cable and Wireless – Caribbean, was in attendance.

On the issue of compensation, the OECS presented a counter – claim and after much discussion it was agreed that the issue of compensation should be deferred.

The OECS has agreed to establish a working group with a mandate to plan the programme leading to full liberalisation by the end of 2000.

 

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