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KINGSTON — Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding is expected to make a statement on the pending  merger  between telecommunications companies Digicel, and Claro, by next week.

Making the disclosure at yesterday's post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz said Mr. Golding would speak to the deal in a “wholesome way”, addressing its effects, what will be done to ensure that competition remains in the telecommunications marketplace, and that consumers would benefit.

“A decision has been made, but the decision has conditionalities, which are still being discussed and negotiated,” Mr. Vaz stated.

Digicel, in March, announced that it had signed an agreement with América Móvil to acquire its Claro business in Jamaica, and to sell to América Móvil its businesses in Honduras and El Salvador.

Meanwhile, on the matter of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) and the recent launch of an investigation into the company’s billing practices by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), Minister Vaz said it is likely that Prime Minister Golding will also be making a statement on the matter.

The OUR last week said it would intensify its regulatory oversight of the light and power company and had taken note of the public outcry over excessive electricity bills in recent months. It would also be investigating, among other things, high consumption complaints; replacement of old meters; and the billing practices of the JPS. The agency is to complete its investigation in six weeks, and make the findings public.

Mr. Vaz  also noted that Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Clive Mullings would be taking to Cabinet the matter of giving more legal teeth to the OUR, by strengthening its powers under the OUR Act, to allow the agency to give greater protection to consumers.

 

By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter