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posted 30 Mar 2015, 22:28 by Gerry Kangalee

In a statement published on March 27th 2015, the Communication Workers Union accused the Telecommunication Authority of selling out the national interest with relation to their position on the proposed merger of the Cable and Wireless and Columbus Communication.

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) wishes to express its anger and consternation with a recent Media Release from the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) which states that TATT has given approval for the Billion dollar merger between Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and Columbus Communications, the parent Company of local Cable T.V. provider FLOW.

The Communication Workers’ Union is of the view that those entrusted with the authority to manage our resources and ensure that the interest of the Nationals of our Country are secured and protected have failed us miserably.

Firstly, how could this initial transaction have materialized without the knowledge of TATT, National Enterprises Limited (NEL) and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago? It appears that they all fell asleep on the job.

Secondly, how could TATT approve such a transaction without a proper examination of all the issues surrounding this transaction based on the existing shareholding relationship between Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) and CWC and the negative implications for this transaction as it relates to the future operations of TSTT?

Thirdly, how could TATT give approval for the third mobile license to FLOW whilst it was involved in a deal to be acquired by Cable and Wireless Communications? Is this an attempt to facilitate the decimation of TSTT?

In the circumstances, TATT by this recent decision to approve the Columbus Communications (Flow)/Cable and Wireless Communications application for change of control and the resultant merger has literally created the environment to allow unfair competition in our Telecom Sector by allowing two (2) foreign providers to merge whilst one of them (CWC) was an active partner with another provider (TSTT).

Additionally, we are yet to be informed of the Government’s position on this development which became public on or around October 2014. Further, we are yet to be advised of what is the position of NEL and its shareholders on this said matter in light of a purported agreement made between NEL and CWC/ Cable & Wireless West Indies (CWWI), which is contained in a letter dated March 18, 2005.

The CWU questions whether this agreement was sanctioned by the Shareholders of NEL and did it have the support of the Government?

This development, which now has the full support of TATT should be of major concern for all Nationals of Trinidad and Tobago, as it is a move to Re-colonialize our entire Telecom Sector which would facilitate a repatriation of our financial resources by the Colonial Plunderers, Cable and Wireless and its foreign partner Columbus Communications. Additionally, decisions on the future of our National Assets are being made without any communication to us as shareholders and nationals, who are in fact the real owners of these National Assets.

As such, the Communication Workers’ Union is calling on all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to rally around our call for the full local ownership of TSTT and a cancellation of the contaminated bidding process for the third mobile license which has been undermined by the existing relationship between CWC and Columbus Communications.

Further, the CWU calls on the shareholders of NEL to demand a Special General Meeting of its shareholders to get clarity on who made the decision relative to the sale of CWC 49% stake in TSTT and to discuss the implications of the merged operations between CWC and Columbus Communications as it relates to the investment opportunities for NEL and the shareholding structure of TSTT. Additionally the Government must clearly state what its position on this instant matter is and what its vision is for the Telecommunications Sector and what role would be played by TSTT, a Company in which it now has majority ownership.

The CWU as a responsible progressive working-class institution stands in readiness to do all that is necessary to protect our national interest and ensure the economic survival and progressive development of TSTT.