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Caricel 'comforted' judge finds no apparent threat to national security

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2017 | 10:02 PM

Telecommunication company Caricel says it is comforted by the finding of Supreme Court judge Leighton Pusey that there is no apparent threat to national security as a result of the mobile licence granted to its parent company Symbiote Investments.

Pusey made the finding today in his ruling rejecting Caricel's application for an order seeking to block an investigation by regulators that could result in the revocation of its mobile licence.

Late last year, it was reported that the government had national security concerns about Caricel.

The reports emerged after letters were served on Caricel purporting to be notices of investigation into claims by a foreign government through the Minister of National Security.

In the letters, the Office of Utilities Regulation and the Spectrum Management Authority said their investigations may result in recommendations for the suspension or revocation of Caricel's licences.

Caricel had regarded the letters as an extreme act of hostility, issued in a manner which appeared to deprive it of legal protection.

But according to the judge, Caricel's application for an order seeking to block the investigations was premature.

The judge also denied the Caricel leave to seek judicial review.

Responding to the ruling in a statement this afternoon, Caricel's company secretary, Minett Lawrence, said the entity was satisfied by the legal basis on which the court found that the matter should not go forward for judicial review.

The court found that the "errors or mistakes" in the notices for an investigation into Caricel were harmless, and agreed with the agencies that they were merely informing the entity of their intentions.

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"There was unanimous agreement between all parties and the court that the notices were bad," Lawrence said.

However, the court found that the process embarked on by the agencies was not one which required any notification to Caricel and did not affect the company's rights to the licence or to be heard and defend itself at any stage of the investigation.

The United States has been keeping a close watch on the Caricel developments.

Last year, the Embassy in Kingston tweeted that it found it curious that the Government went ahead and signed a licence last September although the Contractor General had advised against doing so.

The contractor general had raised concern after adverse traces were found against one the directors of Caricel.

However, the name of the director was removed from the company records before the licence was signed.