Sun | Aug 20, 2017

DPP rules on Symbiote - Llewellyn, police confirm action but mum on pronouncement

Published:Wednesday | February 1, 2017 | 2:00 AMJovan Johnson
Llewellyn

The saga involving the Andrew Holness administration and telecoms company Symbiote, which trades as Caricel, has taken another turn with confirmation that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) made a ruling on an aspect of the matter late last year.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Clifford Chambers said the ruling followed a police investigation involving Caricel, which has three licences to operate as a telecommunications provider. The company, however, believes that those licences are threatened as the Government, under United States-led pressure, pursues a probe that could lead to their revocation.

This latest probe is coming after the one Chambers said was conducted last year.

"Yes, I can confirm that investigations were done. Yes, I can confirm a file was submitted. Yes, I can confirm that a ruling was received from the DPP, but, as it relates to the content, I could not say what it is right now," said the deputy commander at the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch.

DPP Paula Llewellyn said she would not comment on the matter "at this time".

Yesterday, Opposition Spokesman on Technology Julian Robinson tabled questions in the House of Representatives on the issue to the Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who declared "we did our due diligence" last September when he authorised the signing of the $2.7-billion spectrum licence - the last of the three.

But months after, the Government came under pressure from its Canadian, British, and American partners who have raised security concerns about the licences being issued to Caricel.

Among other things, Robinson is questioning whether there is a DPP ruling in the saga and is requesting the details. He also wants to know whether Holness got "new" information from the US questioning the "fit and proper" quality of a director, shareholder or person associated with Caricel.

In authorising the licences, the Holness administration went against a recommendation of Contractor General Dirk Harrison not to do so because of an "adverse trace" against George Neil, a player in the company.

Writing in The Sunday Gleaner recently, attorney-at-law, Daniel Thwaites, tracked the timeline of events and questioned what Holness knew, when and what was done.

"If he did, in fact, have the information, but then went ahead to issue the licence, it goes to judgment and character," Thwaites said.

A Supreme Court judge last month dismissed an application by Symbiote to stop a probe by the Spectrum Management Authority and the Office of Utilities Regulation.

jovan.johnson@gleanerjm.com