Jul 27, 2017 News
– offers $1M reward for info on culprits
By Murtland Haley
The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) is upset at the continuous efforts by unknown characters to sabotage the infrastructure used to provide service internet and mobile services to Guyanese.
The company’s frustration was expressed yesterday via its Chief Executive Officer, Justin Nedd at a press conference held at the Ministry of Public Telecommunications to address the issue.
According to the CEO, what is happening is the destruction of the nation’s infrastructure by criminal-minded organisations or individuals who have no interest in seeing Guyana progress.
“It is clear that we have enemies. Having enemies really means we stand up for something. The recent spate of sabotage will only impair ICT growth and growth of Guyana, and over the last 10 days, we have seen four separate and significant cuts to our fibre optic cable across the country.”
In addition, Nedd said that over the last 12 months, GTT has expended more than $50M in lost productivity and repair to infrastructure. He said that despite that figure, private businesses would have also experienced their losses, along with residents that were without connectivity.
Nedd said that this money could have gone towards providing broadband to more homes across the country. Looking back, Nedd said that over the past 10 years, outages occurred whenever the company is making progress. He said that in 2010 when the company brought in a subsea fibre optic cable, it was sabotaged. However, that problem was remedied by GTT technicians.
Nedd said that more recently, in February 2017, when the company made significant headway in providing fast internet on the Essequibo Coast, the project was sabotaged by rogue elements.
Further, the CEO said that having launched a faster internet service, “Blaze”, earlier this month, the company is once again seeing an increase in sabotage.
“This recent development is blatant destruction of the country’s communication infrastructure. I would like to go on record as saying that this is being done by people who know what they are doing. This is an attack on the people of Guyana.”
Moreover, Nedd said that the sabotage is an attack on the 22,000 households GTT wants to provide the 50 megabytes per second for this year.
Nedd reported that the last repair to the cable was done on Tuesday evening by GTT technicians to restore services to 20,000 homes and business that were out of service for several hours. The CEO said that his company is prepared to offer a reward for information to bring an end to the callous exercise.
“We will offer a very handsome reward to anyone who helps us to bring these culprits to justice.” Following the press conference, Nedd said that the reward is set at $1M.
Meanwhile, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, said that the vandalism of overhead, underground or subsurface cables is a serious offence. She referred to Section 131 of the Criminal Law Offence Act Cap 8:01 of the Laws of Guyana, which specify the circumstances under which the act is deemed a criminal offence.
The Minister said that she feels sad about the events taking place, particularly since efforts are being made on one end to ensure that many places in Guyana are connected, while others are working against the grain to prevent such success.
“Anybody that is callous and uncaring to cut a cable that prevents people in the event of a personal emergency…they can’t even pick up the phone to make a call; students that might be preparing now for mock exams…whatever the scenario is, it is totally unacceptable, and we will deal with the perpetrators.”
Further, Hughes said that if the attacks happen to be some warped sense of competition, then in her opinion, in the spirit of fair competition and trade, all companies should be allowed to conduct legitimate and responsible business in the telecommunications sector so as to bring much needed service to Guyanese people.
Fielding questions, Nedd was asked whether the attacks have been reported to the police, to which he answered in the affirmative. However, he refused to comment on what information GTT would have provided to the police to assist with the investigation.
He said that the communities that were affected Tuesday evening include Linden, Mahdia, Bartica, Kwakwani, Ituni and areas along the Linden-Soesdyke highway.
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