Sun | Jul 5, 2020

Caricel to keep fighting

Published:Tuesday | April 2, 2019 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

A shutdown is looming for telecommunications company Caricel, potentially affecting its reported 15,000-client base, following a ruling by Jamaica’s second highest court but the company said it will continue the fight to have the licences restored.

The downtown Kingston-based Court of Appeal last Friday denied an application by Symbiote Investments Limited, which operates as Caricel, to stay the minister of science, energy and technology’s decision to revoke its telecommunications licences.

It also refused the company’s request that a temporary stay be granted until it makes an application for permission to appeal to the Privy Council.

In a release yesterday, Caricel said it had been “preparing for this eventuality since December 6, 2016 when it was first advised that its operations constituted a ‘threat to the national security of a foreign country”.

The company said it has consistently followed all applicable legal precedents and regulations in defending its business in the courts and will exercise its right to appeal to the Privy Council against this latest ruling. It added that it is confident that the licences will be fully restored.

Last Friday’s decision reinforces a December 7, 2018 ruling by the Supreme Court that cleared the way for the Government to revoke the telecommunications licences granted to Caricel.

The new ruling also upholds the Supreme court’s decision to deny Symbiote’s application for leave to apply for judicial review of the minister’s decision.

Then Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Andrew Wheatley in 2017 told Parliament that Symbiote had not complied with all the conditions that were attached to its domestic mobile spectrum licence, with the issues including its failure to address the matter of outstanding fees.

Based on recommendations by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), Wheatley initiated the process to revoke the telecommunications licences granted to the company.

Caricel was granted licences to operate in Jamaica by the Government in 2016 despite a recommendation from the contractor general not to do so.