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CWU OPPOSES C&W BID FOR FLOW

posted 8 Nov 2014, 07:07 by Gerry Kangalee

Joseph Remy, Secretary General of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) issued the following statement dated November 7th 2014.

The Communication Workers’ Union would like to express its deep concern about the recent announcement of the impending buyout of Columbus International by Cable and Wireless Communications PLC.

This latest development in the Corporate Prostitution Ring confirms to us and should also confirm to all citizens that there are no ethical or moral values within the Corporate Arena, where Greed and Profiteering are the order of the day.

The Communication Workers’ Union publicly stated its concerns and dismay a few months ago about the obscene approach that was adopted by the recently appointed CEO of Cable and Wireless Communications PLC. Mr. Phil Bentley. We informed the Government and the public that Mr. Bentley was making overt and covert approaches to the Union to have us support his attempt to have majority control of TSTT.

We also went on record and publicly stated that we were vehemently opposed to Cable and Wireless acquisition of Majority Shareholding in our Telecommunication Sector. For that matter, we strongly objected to the notion of any Foreign Multi National holding majority Shareholding in any of the major players in the Telecommunication Sector. We believe that the Telecommunication Sector is critical for the economic, social and cultural development of our sovereign nation and also is very critical for National Security purposes as it is the main driver in modern security intermediation.

We can also recall the statement by Mr. Bentley that he would apply for the third (3rd) Mobile License if he does not get the Government to give in to his bullying tactics for Majority Shareholding in TSTT. This was after his approaches to the CWU were rejected. He subsequently made good of his threat and Cable and Wireless was identified by the Telecommunication Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, as one of four (4) Companies that applied for the third (3rd) Mobile License, ironically along with Flow (Columbus Communication).

The CWU subsequently wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Telecommunication Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Selby Wilson on August 18, 2014 raising our strong objection to this application by Cable and Wireless and pointed to the grave conflict that would arise since they are 49% Shareholders in TSTT. Consistent with the approaches by those who arrogate power unto themselves, Mr. Wilson has not even acknowledged our letter; much less fathom a response to our legitimate claims.

POLICY DIRECTION

This latest development by Cable and Wireless Communications PLC, once again raises serious concerns about the policy direction of the Government as it relates to the Telecommunications Sector. The CWU as a major stakeholder in this Sector would like to call for Governmental intervention in this situation.

The Minister of Finance, Senator Larry Howai as the line Minister responsible for NEL, is now called on to immediately investigate how this development has occurred right under the noses of the Government and the TATT. This is a clear slap in the face and an attempt at vengeance against the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago for their rejection of Cable and Wireless attempt to gain controlling interest in TSTT. This development can have severe debilitating implications for the shareholders of NEL.

We wish to remind all and sundry that we raised our objections about the introduction of unbridled and unfettered competition in the Telecommunication Sector with the advent of the Telecommunication Authority. We were of the belief and are still of the belief that the Telecommunication Sector, which is classified as an Essential Industry under the provision of the Industrial Relations Act, should not be subjected to such a Corporate intrusion.

We warned against placing emphasis on the end game, which are purported cheap services and accessories foisted upon an unsuspecting population as an illusion. We warned against allowing such a critical leg of our economic and social developmental thrust to be placed in the hands of foreign multi nationals whose only interest was and still is the exploitation of our resources and the profiteering from our geographical location and deep resource base.

NEGATIVE FALLOUTS

There are numerous negative fallouts that would emanate from this proposed acquisition primary among them is the issue of conflict of interest. We question if any antitrust regulations or policies were breached by this acquisition.

The CWU would like to publicly condemn the Telecommunication Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, who ironically are staffed at the Senior Level by a bunch of disgruntled former TSTT Employees, and we call on them to wake up from their slumber and deal with this Corporate Malfeasance. They must immediately null the application process for the Third (3rd) Mobile License and deal with the issue of how they impartially handle the issue of spectrum allocation, which is more important for the expansion and development of the Telecommunication Sector in Trinidad and Tobago.

They need to quell and alleviate the growing perception in the Telecommunication Sector that their sole aim and purpose is to collaborate and connive to see the demise of the National Entity that has a social, economic and moral responsibility to provide effective and efficient universal Telecommunication Services to the Citizens of our country. The CWU condemns this corporate act of prostitution committed by Cable and Wireless Communication PLC and Columbus International and we call on the Telecommunication Authority to reject this obscene acquisition. In addition, we call on the Government to heed our numerous calls to get rid of Cable and Wireless from the shores of Trinidad and Tobago as this is only the beginning of their quest for control of our economic future; akin to the days
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