Digicel today publicly called on the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) to hold firm and withstand the severe pressure being applied by UK based Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and Columbus International Inc to rapidly approve the proposed acquisition of Columbus by CWC.
Under the concessions granted to Columbus in Trinidad, CWC/Columbus are obliged to seek regulatory approval from TATT to allow the change of control of Columbus’ operations in Trinidad and Tobago to CWC. TATT is obliged to consider the application and may insist on certain conditions being applied to the proposed transaction before the change of control is approved in Trinidad and Tobago.
Digicel notes that CWC and Columbus have embarked on a strategy of seeking to railroad through this acquisition by seeking to ‘put a gun to the heads’ of regulators right across the Caribbean region. CWC and Columbus seek to do this by artificially setting purported dates for termination of their share purchase agreement. This deliberate ploy is designed to seek to avoid or curtail proper regulatory consideration of the proposed transaction and the undoubted impact that it will have on the telecommunications industry right across the region.
Digicel notes that the situation is even more serious in Trinidad and Tobago considering the fact that CWC already owns 49% of TSTT. Digicel regards this peremptory setting of demands by CWC/Columbus as being wholly inappropriate and highly irregular and is calling upon TATT to reject such demands and to retain control over its own processes, procedures and mandate. The simple fact is that CWC and Columbus can extend or amend these dates without any impediment.
CEO of Digicel Trinidad and Tobago, John Delves, comments; ‘It is not for CWC or Columbus to tell TATT or any other Regulatory body how to do their job or the period of time that they are allowed to do it in. These attempts to force their will on what is a hugely significant regulatory process must be resisted and rejected by TATT. This application to allow the acquisition of Columbus by CWC needs to be subjected to a rigorous review by TATT and a proper, considered analysis of the effects on the telecoms market and industry in Trinidad and Tobago must be conducted and acted upon.
He continues; “CWC and Columbus may feel that their combined might already gives them the right to dictate to Regulators in the region what to do; this cannot be so. We are calling on TATT to fulfil its mandate, and to be allowed to fulfil its mandate, in the best interests of the people of Trinidad and Tobago and not to be dictated to by CWC/Columbus. This includes dictating the time periods allowed for the review process.”