Kaieteur News
June 18, 2004

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A resolution to the legal wrangles between the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company and Cel Star Guyana Inc. now depends on a ruling by the Court of Appeal.

That is according to Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, Justice Prem Persaud.

On July 1, 2004 arguments by lawyers representing the two companies will be heard in front of Chancellor of the Judiciary Desiree Bernard, Justice Nandram Kissoon and Justice Ian Chang.

On November 17, last year, Cel Star filed a complaint with the Public Utilities Commission outlining an interconnection agreement with GT&T, which was suspended until the dispute over the ownership of Cel Star Guyana was resolved.

The Commission was asked to make an order for interconnection, but after several correspondences the matter reached a stalemate.

The PUC in January wrote to Cel Star about a public hearing to be convened in the matter, but the cellular company said then, that it was not ready.

Chairman of the PUC, Justice Prem Persaud called a public hearing on March 23 last, causing GT&T to file an action preventing the Commission from proceeding with the hearing since the dispute over the ownership of Cel Star was still pending.

The PUC chairman said that Cel Star subsequently filed an action in the High Court against the move by GT&T on the grounds that the company had violated its agreement with Cel Star.

Recognising that the matter in the High Court is likely to go on for almost a decade, the Commission under Section 81 of the PUC Act reverted the matter to the Court of Appeal for a ruling.

The Act states that “The Commission may, upon the application of any party to any proceedings, state a case in writing for the opinion of the Court of Appeal upon any question which in the opinion of the Commission is a question of law”.

Justice Persaud said that once the Court of Appeal rules, the Commission can then make an order by which every party is bound and that there can be no further litigations after the ruling.

Meanwhile GT&T is talking about an undertaking that if there are damages out of the action between Cel Star Caribbean and Cel Star Guyana, it should not be held liable. (Zaheer Abbass)