The Jamaican owned telecoms company, Caricel, which was earlier this year granted the country’s third mobile service provide license, is challenging the Contractor General’s report recommending that its licence be revoked.
In a statement this afternoon, Caricel says it has seen the OCG’s Report which was tabled in the House of Representatives yesterday.
The company says it notes several findings which require legal advice and consultation.
Caricel is accusing the OCG of not observing due process and failing to offer it the opportunity to respond to the alleged adverse findings.
The company says it’s surprised by the publication of adverse findings before the company was given an opportunity to be heard by the proper authorities.
According to Caricel – there are several questionable findings which could have easily been clarified by the production of documents that were already in the possession of the regulators.
Among the basis for the OCG’s recommendation that Caricel’s license be revoked, is an expression of concern a few years ago by the National Intelligence Bureau, NIB regarding businessman, George Neil, who’s one of the Company’s Directors. But Caricel is hitting back.
The company has disclosed a document signed in 2015 by Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Crime, Glenmore Hinds, which stated that Neil is not the subject of any police investigation.
Caricel says it must be noted that the document conclusively stated that Mr. Neil was not the subject of any investigation and was in direct response to the concern that he was the subject of an “adverse trace”.
According to Caricel, the JCF’s letter of May 28, 2015 was provided to the Office of Utilities Regulation, OUR and the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.
Caricel says it notes that mention of that document signed by DCP Hinds was made in the OCG report.
According to Caricel, the OCG’s report has not raised any new material that should cause the Minister or Cabinet to resile from their decision to grant its license.
Caricel says Dirk Harrison has merely given his own interpretation of facts that were disclosed by the applicant and known to the regulators and the Minister when the decisions were made.
The company says the OCG does not have the authority to substitute his judgment for that of the Minister, and having made no finding of misconduct on the part of the Minister, it’s extremely surprised by Mr. Harrison’s conclusions.
Caricel says it’s convinced that the OCG’s findings are part of a wider attempt to destabilize its business and render it incapable of competing against the two existing foreign companies in the telecoms business sector, FLOW and DIGICEL,
According to Caricel, any inquiry would reveal that no other applicant has been subjected to this kind of prolonged and sustained scrutiny that this local company has endured.
Caricel says the unusual scrutiny which it has been placed under is worthy of investigation.
AND .. Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Peter Bunting, is criticizing Telecommunications Minister, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, for failing to answer questions about Symbiote Investments and Caricel’s bona fides.
The questions were tabled in Parliament by Bunting two months ago.
Parliament’s standing orders provide for questions asked of Ministers to be answered after the expiration of 21- days.
Mr. Bunting says he notes with interest that Dr. Wheatley has failed to answer the questions despite the expiration of time.
On May 19, Bunting asked Wheatley to say whether he’s aware of trespassing on the spectrum by Caricel and that the issue was brought to the attention of the Police Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Branch, CTOC.
The former Security Minister also asked Dr. Wheatley to disclose whether due diligence done on Caricel had disclosed a legitimate source of funding for the payment of the license as well as the building out of the network.
Bunting had also asked Dr. Wheatley to state the Directors and Shareholders of Caricel.
The OCG report noted that there were recent changes to the listing of Caricel’s Directors – including the addition and subsequent removal of George Neil, Ian Moore and Paul East.
Mr. Bunting was addressing a meeting of the Rotary Club at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Andrew today.
He says he’s not surprised the Telecommunications Minister has failed to answer the questions.
— 30 —