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Public Utilities Minister speaks out on price increases by Cable & Wireless

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Monday, March 03, 2003 - The Government of Saint Lucia has spoken out on proposed price changes for various services effective 1st March 2003 by what to date is still the island’s lone telecommunications provider Cable and Wireless. In a statement issued last Thursday, Communications, Works and Public Utilities Minister, Honourable Felix Finisterre, said steps were being taken to address the situation.

According to Minister Finisterre, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) has written to Cable and Wireless designating it ‘dominant’ in the areas of line rental – business, residential and government, local calls, including fixed to mobile, line connection and line reconnection.

The effect of being designated dominant in these areas he said meant that these services would be regulated by the NTRC under the Telecommunications (Tariff) Regulations. Minister Finisterre pointed out that by letter dated 3rd February, 2003, Cable and Wireless was notified that any changes in tariffs for these regulated services should be made under the Telecommunications (Tariff) Regulations. The company he stated has not done so.

“It is therefore the view of the Government of St Lucian that the proposed change by Cable and Wireless has no legal basis and that in fact Cable and Wireless has been advised by the Regulator to desist from attempting to implement such changes under the May 20th Agreement as they had intimated. Further, the NTRC has informed Cable and Wireless that their notification of tariff changes has no legal effect and has therefore refused to approve the said price changes. One therefore expects that Cable and Wireless would comply with the directive of the regulator and not attempt to change its tariffs without regulatory approval,” said Finisterre.

The changes in prices were advertised to commence March 1st 2003 and affects both domestic and international calls.

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