Cox, others challenge GT&T's monopoly in High Court
Some $1B sought in damages

Stabroek News
April 23, 2000

A constitutional motion challenging the monopoly operations of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company Ltd (GT&T) has been filed in the High court by I-net Communications Inc, Eileen Cox and the Consumers Advisory Bureau.

The motion, which has been filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by their attorneys Stephen G.N. Frazer and C.A. Nigel Hughes, is calling on the court to declare the agreement between the Government of Guyana and Atlantic Tele-Network Inc (ATN), null and void and of no legal effect since it contravened Section 22 of the Civil Law Act, Chapter 6:01 of the Laws of Guyana, which prohibits monopolies. It is also seeking, among other declarations, the Section 7(4) of the Telecommunications Act, 1990, is unconstitutional, null and void insofar as it provides for the issuing of a monopolistic licence in respect of telecommunication service.

The motion filed on April 13, is further asking that the court declare that the failure or neglect by GT&T, the second named defendant, to provide telephone services on demand and in a timely manner to consumers, is a breach of their fundamental right to protection of the law and freedom of expression.

The Attorney General, the phone company and ATN have been named as defendants jointly and severally in the action.

The plaintiffs are requesting that the court declare that the defendants have no right to regulate or otherwise restrict the business purposes to which the telephone lines are used, in particular internet services, and that such regulation or restriction was in breach of their fundamental right of expression.

The plaintiffs are asking that the court offer such relief in these charges and any other that it saw fit. They are also claiming damages in excess of $1 billion.

I-net is desirous of applying for a licence to provide telecommunication services in Guyana, the motion said.

The matter is returnable for May 8, 2000.