For sanity's sake

Guyana Chronicle
September 8, 2000

THE problems of people trying to telephone Guyana from several overseas countries have become too much and a solution has to be found urgently. Those suffering are now tired of attempts at excuses and it simply is not fair for so many to have been for so long saddled with the nightmare of not being able to make and receive calls.

The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) and the American giant AT&T have in recent months both confirmed that they are talking and hoping to arrive at a compromise to the dispute that triggered the problems that are testing the sanity of many people. How much longer will the talks continue and for how much longer must the situation last?

We yesterday carried a letter from GT&T offering their explanation to the problems and follow up with a story along the same lines in today's issue.

But, as a letter today reflects, people are skeptical at such explanations because something seems to have gone very wrong.

The government has said it is looking into the situation but it has to do more to bring an end to the nightmare.

Somebody, somewhere is just not levelling with the people affected.

Telephones are a vital means of communication today and getting a call from overseas without difficulty can mean the difference between failure and success and life and death in some cases.

Mr Terry Holder, GT&T Deputy General Manger for Public Communications has acknowledged that "attempts by GT&T to avoid service disruption and customer inconvenience seem to have proven futile as we continue to receive reports of inconvenience despite special arrangements with other international carriers, like MCI and Sprint."

"GT&T/ATN remains in discussion with AT&T in the hope that some agreement would be reached in facilitating the flow of U.S. outbound traffic, reducing the frustration of the callers, without, at the same time negatively affecting the revenues so vital for the growth of the industry in Guyana", he said in his letter published yesterday.

The problem with the suggested alternative from GT&T to use Sprint and MCI is that, as far as we understand, these arrangements do not last long and U.S. domestic customers are under pressure to switch carriers.

If these GT&T-AT&T discussions are not bearing fruit, as seems to be the case, it is time for the Government of Guyana to intervene and attempt to find a way out of the mess.

Government officials on business in the United States and Canada are suffering as much as other people trying desperately to communicate with others here, for one reason or another, and they should appreciate the need for an end to the difficulties of calling into Guyana.

There has to be a way out of this unholy mess.

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