Grace Kennedy's 151 collect call service to US launched

Stabroek News
October 7, 2000

Grace Kennedy and Company Ltd, a Jamaican firm, is widening its product range on the local market with a new collect calling service in collaboration with the US telephone giant, Sprint.

At a cocktail reception in the Ballet Room of the Cara Lodge Thursday evening, the 3-digit number '151' was introduced as the convenient way to keep in contact with relatives and friends in the United States.

That number allows persons to raise an international Sprint operator who would connect them to the number requested in the US.

Speaking at the launching, Manager of the Jamaica-based International Communications Inc. (Intercom), a subsidiary of Grace Kennedy, Anthony Robinson plugged it as another opportunity to forge inter-regional trade.

The link, he stressed, would facilitate the ongoing commitment between family and friends in the US and those in the Caribbean.

Sprint's Senior Channel Manager, New Products and Markets, Narbeli Galindo expressed her company's pleasure at developing a relationship with local telecommunications providers, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company Limited (GT&T).

Sprint, she said, wanted to make sure that the service to be provided to Guyanese is of a high quality and as successful as the Jamaica operations which began some five years ago.

Market Manager of Sprint, Oscar Molina, noting the company's presence on the Jamaican market and how that had brought a close association with Grace, expressed the hope that this could be extended in Guyana.

Minister of Trade, Tourism and Industry, Geoffrey Da Silva, speaking at the function, welcomed the investment by Grace Kennedy in Guyana.

Reiterating the government's commitment to a single market and economy, Da Silva noted the continuous building of the bond between Guyana and Jamaica as a positive sign.

Guyana, he said, needed investment to bring about development and the best way of achieving this was the building of partnerships and alliances such as the one between Grace and Sprint and now GT&T.

The minister also observed that the investment coincided with government's efforts to rapidly improve local telecommunications with the backing of international financial institutions.

GT&T, he added, is likely to play a key role in facilitating this endeavour. Earlier, Chief Executive Officer of GT&T, Sonita Jagan reminded the audience that the local phone company is already enjoying an extremely positive relationship with Grace Kennedy's remittance service.

She said that it was good for the country to have another large respectable carrier operating in the country since it was coming at a time when problems were being experienced by callers in the US trying to contact Guyana.

Sprint, she stated, has been a friend to GT&T and Guyana since they have supported the company during its rates spat with US telecommunications giant AT&T.

Touching on GT&T's position in relation to telephone delivery, Jagan stated that the company had made proposals to government to ensure resolution of a number of areas of concern.

Calling for an orderly process, the CEO suggested that there is a tendency to ignore certain procedures.

Jagan welcomed the advent of the service and remarked that if the Jamaica experience was anything to go by, then the service could impact in a big way on Guyana's fledgling tourist sector.

At the beginning of the function, Country Director for Grace Kennedy (Guyana) Ltd, Anna Lisa Fraser-Phang told guests that the company is committed to Guyana and had one goal - to be the leading organisation locally.

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