Guyanese will manage to overcome this difficulty
Imagine us poor Guyanese for a moment. We didn’t spend so much on the cheap internet calls at the internet cafes spread across the length and breadth of Guyana.
I don’t even think many of us were conscious that it was an illegal operation — an illegal practice to be engaged in. We saved thousands of dollars by using the service. Rates were manageable and affordable.
We would connect with our relatives in the Caribbean islands, North America, and even Europe. Well, it seems all of that will be no more.
One cannot blame the telephone company from trying to recuperate lost revenues each time a call is made from one of these internet cafes or bottom house call centres to overseas, but, this new development only adds to the many sufferings of the Guyanese people.
It brings a new twist to what we thought was sinister enough in the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT). This will really hurt people.
Maybe there are some alternatives or measures that GT&T can take to cushion the effects. Maybe GT&T can help people connect with their relatives and friends and still collect their much needed revenues that were lost through the years of the ‘internet phoning’ habits.
Maybe GT&T can lower its rates charged to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to get on the internet platforms. These ISPs in return will charge lesser internet rates. In doing so, more persons can access the internet and use emailing and instant messaging to keep in touch. It is a pretty good idea since GT&T is clamping down on the cheap overseas internet calls.
This will also raise our statistics of households connected to the internet. Our population can benefit much from this as well. Maybe lowering their international rates too won’t be such a bad idea, since this is what prompted the existence of these internet call venues throughout Guyana.
So, for now, we have to hold on to internet software like the Microsoft Network (MSN), Yahoo Instant Messenger (YAHOO IM), and such to chat with writing to our families and friends as opposed to talking to them perhaps for half an hour on the internet telephone. Let’s hope that GT&T doesn’t decide to block these features as well anytime soon. That would just be downright wrong.
But all in all, knowing how inventive and clever Guyanese are (you can never underestimate them), they will find some other way(s) to get ahead of this new difficulty.
Leon Jameson Suseran