Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Where is the public consultation?

Published:Thursday | May 28, 2015 | 5:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Recently, it was announced that the merger between Cable & Wireless Communications (LIME) and Columbus Communications Inc (Flow) had been completed. This is a mere five months since Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell was first formally advised of the proposed merger and ministerial approval was sought, approval was granted in January of this year. While we must commend this apparent efficiency one wonders if proper due diligence was followed.

In St Lucia recently, where both companies are negotiating a similar merger agreement, their regulatory body has recently invited members of the public to make submissions on the proposed merger as part of a public consultation process. Likewise in Barbados, their Fair Trading Commission found that the proposed merger would create "uncompetitive effects", and only approved the merger after imposing 14 substantial conditions on the proposal. This resulted in LIME in that country dramatically altering its position for the benefit of the people of Barbados. Both countries recognise the need to protect their people and economies from the apparent regional takeover of FLOW by Cable & Wireless Communications. What is so special about us Jamaicans? Who is looking out for our

interest?

After all, in Jamaica we seem to have had no such concerns. I would have thought that we would have learnt our lesson about the dangers that monopolies can create. Instead of an extensive process of negotiation and consultation, we have a hurriedly entered into agreement that leaves the position of the consumer uncertain.

Ricardo Johnson (PhD)

Kingston 6