The quality of service offered by the telephone company

By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
July 31, 2000

Last week we asked members of the public about the performance of the Guyana Power and Light. This week we asked the man/woman-in-the-street to share their views on whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied with the services being provided by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company. Their views follow:

Krishna Persaud - businessman: 'I live in the Mahaicony Creek and I do not have a telephone although a few of my colleagues in the creek have cellular phones. Keeping one is very expensive. After being in the country for a decade now I cannot say what GT&T can do and cannot do. What I do know is that they should have done better. Mahaicony for example, is a very progressive farming area with a very large population which could afford to pay for the telephone service. Residents there are being bypassed. Is it because the majority of the people there are farmers? If I had a telephone I would not be in town today [Saturday] and lose out on much needed resources. I have not been successful in many things I came in town to look after. If I had a telephone, I would have known before hand that I should not have been in town now.'

Shondel - self-employed: 'Sophia has no telephones. It is as though GT&T has joined in ignoring the people of Sophia. However, Sophia is an area that is developing and it should not be ignored. The area will yet be one which will be counted. While GT&T may not be able to provide every home with residential phones at this time, at least the company could have taken the initiative to provide telephone booths in the area. There are many people living there and once night steps in, we are virtually cut off. If anyone gets sick at night it is hell oh hell to get out from there. If there are phone booths around at least someone can call a taxi which will be able to come to a point at least.'

Deonarine Budhan - public sector employee: 'GT&T could do better. I live in Windsor Forest on the West Coast Demerara. Windsor Forest has eight long streets with many houses. Right now we face a lot of embarrassment when asking other people in the area to use their phones. There are over 1,000 people in this area who need telephones. Only three persons, as far as I know, in my area have telephones. We pay $100 to make a call. Sometimes the people whose phones you use are moody and then you get no privacy. After ten years while there has been some improvement in the service that was already there, GT&T's expansion plans still remain plans. There is very little contact with relatives overseas. In these modern days of improved technology when we are talking about information technology and the internet we do not even have telephones.'

Gloria St Marthe - housewife: 'I am very satisfied with the service I get at home. I think that GT&T has been fairly reliable. Bills are sent on time and once paid promptly there are no problems. There are basically two things which I think GT&T should take note of. One is that the service provided by the telephone card is not reliable and it is too expensive. In addition I live in the East Ruimveldt Housing Scheme and we do not have telephones in the area. As such everyday people come asking me to use the phone. If it is an emergency I allow them to use it but I don't allow people coming to call their boyfriends or girlfriends. East Ruimveldt is a heavily populated area and if GT&T put down phone boxes in the area that could assist until GT&T could give every home a line. A telephone is very important.'

Suresh Hardowar - factory operator: 'Right now I am not satisfied with GT&T's service at all. How could I be when I do not even have a telephone? I live in Enmore and over 95% of the people there do not have phones. Just a small percent has. While it may not be a case of discrimination I think it certainly is a case of foot-dragging. There are many smaller places in the area that have already gotten phones. For instance Enterprise Gardens just a few miles away just came into existence and GT&T has put down 600 lines there. Enmore is one of the biggest communities on the East Coast of Demerara. University Gardens, LBI and Mon Repos which were all given priority above Enmore, lumped together can fit into Enmore.'

Nazim Ali - farmer: 'I don't have a phone so I cannot say I am satisfied with GT&T's service. I live in Clonbrook where the fibre optic cable passes through to go to Berbice and our village was bypassed. I hope there is going to be a telephone service in the area sooner or later because GT&T was in the area taking down names just last week. Couple years ago when they were installing lines along the coast we were optimistic. We thought that telephones had come our way but they stopped at Nooten Zuil which is smaller than our village and went on to Mahaica. We were disappointed. And the people of Clonbrook can pay their bills. After all we have the Minister of Finance Saisnarine Kowlessar living in the village.'

Joy Ann Park - pharmacist: 'I do not have a phone at home but as far as I know based on my experience at work there has been improvement in some areas. For instance the bills are regular unlike that of the Guyana Power and Light. With the GT&T once you make an overseas call you can know how much you owe on the bill by calling the company and so regulate your calls. However, GT&T now needs to expand its service to include more subscribers. Since 1992 I applied for a service and I am still waiting though many people who applied after me have already gotten through. A phone is not a luxury item. I think that if GT&T is given some competition it will expand its service more rapidly.'

Compton: 'I do have a telephone so that is one good but the area with which I am not quite satisfied is in the out-of-town calls. At one time I had 78 out of town calls (on the bill) and it is just me and my wife and both of us could not account for the calls. I did not bother to query because I would have had to pay the bill anyway. One of my neighbours had the same experience, even though her phone was programmed only for Georgetown calls. She queried hers. My other problem is with the phone cards. It is time wasting and of no use in an emergency. Most of the time the circuits are busy when I want to use the card and it frustrates me.'

Richard Edwards - businessman: 'I don't have a phone and I have not applied for one because I am not sure I will be one of the fortunate ones to get one because of the area in which I live. I also know of the frustrations many people in my area have gone through to get one. It is a clear case of discrimination where if you are privileged you get through as against the under-privileged. A phone would improve my business but I have done well without one so far.'

Elon Shepherd - boxer:'My problem with GT&T is basically in the use of the phone cards they have provided. The problem is that the circuits are always busy and you have to keep on trying and trying especially when trying to get through with overseas calls. Put it this way, the card system is inefficient, frustrating and expensive.'

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