Submitted by Anthony Davis
“It may not have the blessing of regional regulators and even consumers at this stage, but shareholders of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), the parent of LIME, today voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger with Columbus International Inc., operator of the consumer brand, Flow” – Barbados Today
Once again the former colonial masters – in the form of the CWC shareholders – are seeking to put their former slaves – in the form of the regulators of the various Caribbean countries – back in shackles. How else is one to interpret the words of CWC’s Chairman Sir Richard Lapthorne when he sees it as a foregone conclusion that, if the shareholders in Britain – which it takes an 8.5 hour flight to get to – have voted for this juggernaut, the regulators here must only ask how high when the shareholders say to jump.
I find it an affront to the dignity and intelligence of the people of the Caribbean that he could come to such a conclusion without any of the regulators having made a decision. In Britain there are still persons who think that Barbados is part of Jamaica, and I have a big problem with that.
LIME is already showing its true face by insisting that, in order to get LIME TV, one must buy a LIME mobile phone. What can we expect when it becomes such a behemoth?
The situation in the Caribbean is not “consistent with global industry trends” as CWC will have us believe, because, for example, when one looks at the European and British telecoms markets there are already several industry players and therefore more competition whereas here it will not have any, and we do not need a monopoly here again.
I think that the private sector, the Minister of Business, Minister of Labour, the Minister of Finance, and the FTC especially should take a long hard look at this proposed merger. This is maybe a case where CARICOM can play a part, instead of sitting on the sidelines.
I note with dismay that the regulators in the Caribbean seem to be throwing their hands up in despair when it comes to this merger. They must comply with our rules and regulations like any other company. How many people will be sent cap-in-hand to the Welfare Department?
Not one word has been said about those who will be sent home – after Christmas perhaps – by LIME after it becomes a monopoly. Government – which is having a cash flow problem – must demand a figure from LIME!
People: “Beware of gift-bearing Greeks!”