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Telecoms law for another review

Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman.

Cabinet has approved a US$15,000 (some G$3 million) contract for two consultants to examine existing telecommunications legislation and make recommendations toward the preparation of a new Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill as government looks to reform the sector.

Two Attorneys-at-law, one foreign and one local, have been contracted to take on the task which government hopes will be completed by an undetermined date in September.

“…Technology changes by the hour and we want to ensure that by some date in September we can have that draft legislation for the approval of cabinet and for it to be tabled in the National Assembly for passage,” said Governance Minister on Wednesday during the weekly post-Cabinet press conference.

Detailing some of the work that will be undertaken by the consultants, Trotman said “they are updating the act, looking at the amendments that have been proposed that have come from both stakeholders in the sector as well as from opposition and now government, and I dare say the opposition may have amendments that they wish to propose as well.”

In 2012 the former administration had put forward Telecommunications Bill 2012, Bill # 18 of 2012, which it said would reform the sector. The bill’s passage was continuously deferred however, owing to the reported need for consultations with public and private stakeholders, particularly the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company, which continues to hold the monopoly on landline and international services.

The prorogation of the Tenth Parliament put an end to the bill as proposed by the former administration.

Among other things, the bill is expected to facilitate the liberlaisation of the telecommunications sector in Guyana, thereby allowing companies such as Digicel to roll out higher quality services.