Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 11th 2014 Contents A5
Thursday, December 11, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Digicel executive chairman Denis O Brien
said yesterday that to preserve competition
and protect consumers in the Caribbean,
regional regulators should insist that the
combination of Cable & Wireless Commu-
nications (CWC) and Columbus International
be required to sell assets.
Speaking to regional regulators and telecom
company officials at the start of the two-day
Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU)
forum at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann's, yes-
terday, O'Brien reiterated Digicel's argument
that the proposed acquisition of Columbus
by CWC would lead to a "very substantial
reduction" in six regional countries, including
T&T, and in four product categories, including
fixed broadband, cable television and fixed
As reported exclusively in yesterday's T&T
Guardian, O'Brien spoke at the CTU forum
and held discussions with Finance Minister
Larry Howai at the Ministry of Finance build-
Asking what should regulators do to protect
competition, O'Brien said: "The answer is the
big D: Divestiture. CWC and Columbus will
have duplicate fixed line, cable TV and sub-
marine fibre infrastructure in your markets if
this deal is approved.
"If this merger is to be approved, regulators
in the region will have to insist on the con-
ditions precedent that these duplicate assets
are sold. This is what will preserve compe-
The Digicel chairman said he was not argu-
ing that those assets needed to be sold to Dig-
icel, only that they did need to be sold to some
third party so that competition could prevail.
O'Brien said the spinning off of assets to pre-
serve competition was "the only answer and
the only effective solution."
Work for regulators
He said that as was the case with all merger
approvals frameworks, it was for the regulators
to highlight where concerns existed and "it
is for the parties applying for the permission
to merger that must put forward solutions to
address these problems."
O'Brien said while the risks to competition
were huge, Digicel was not saying that the
merger could not happen or that it necessarily
meant Armageddon for the Caribbean telecoms
"It is only with a comprehensive and thor-
ough economics driven merger impact analy-
sis and the imposition of proper approval
conditions and safeguards that we can pre-
vent our industry sliding back to the dark
days of a monopoly services," the Irishman
In a presentation in which he accused
CWC/Columbus of attempting to "dictate
ridiculous timelines to regional regulators,"
O'Brien noted it took eight months for reg-
ulators to approve the Digicel deal with Claro
in 2011 and ten months to get approval of its
acquisition of a submarine cable company in
He presented several "facts" to the meet-
• The proposed merger will lead to a very
substantial lessening of competition in at least
six geographic markets --- Jamaica, Trinidad
and Tobago, Barbados, St Lucia, St. Vincent
and the Grenadines and Grenada.
He said those were the markets where the
key impact of this proposed deal would most
keenly be felt by consumers.
• In the six markets, the proposed merger
will lead to the creation of a complete monop-
oly or a near monopoly in the following retail
or consumer product markets:
* Broadband Internet Access (both com-
mercial and residential).
* Fixed line services.
* Cable television services.
* Facilities-based ICT services;
• Monopolies almost always lead to higher
prices, poor services, lower levels innovation
and a reduction in investment. "We will be
right back to the 1980s or 1990s," he said.
• The proposed deal will lead to an almost
complete stranglehold on submarine fibre/
international connectivity right across the
JENSEN LA VENDE
Homicide detectives are inves-
tigating three more killings across
the country, including one brazen
attack in the heart of Port-of-
In the most recent incident,
police said residents of the Obser-
vatory Street Plannings heard loud
gunshots around 12.30 pm. When
they investigated they found 32-
year-old Rene La Fleur, of Water-
hole, Cocorite, dead on the side-
La Fleur, police said, may have
recently been released from the
Port-of-Spain General Hospital,
as his hand appeared to have been
recently bandaged. Residents who
gathered to see the body said they
could not identify him, prompting
police to believe he was not from
In the other incident on Tues-
day, police said Simba La Roche,
32, was driving his car along Inde-
pendence Square, near Duncan
Street, around 9.30 pm, when a
gunman in another vehicle pulled
up alongside and shot him.
La Roche was taken to the Port-
of-Spain General Hospital where
he was pronounced dead on arrival.
About an hour later, police said
Dennis St Cyr, 45, was at his
Mohammed Street Extension, St
Augustine, home when a gunman
entered around 11.30 pm and killed
him as he slept.
Relatives of both men did not
want to be identified when
approached by the media at the
Forensic Science Centre, St James,
La Roche's relatives said the
father of one was a "limer" who
was very close to his family, jovial
and loved playing football.
Relatives of St Cyr said he was
killed for confronting two youths
who stole $800 from him on
They said St Cyr, who runs a
parlour, had the money in his pants
pocket when two "youth men"
came in and left. When St Cyr
checked he found the money miss-
ing. The men's relatives repaid the
money after St Cyr complained to
them, relatives said, but the thieves
promised to kill him.
"They (young men) take it to
another level and they end up
bringing a gunman and hit him
The gunman come and kick
down the door, shoot the man in
front his children and wife," St
Cyr's relatives said.
Relatives said St Cyr loved his
five children and apart from run-
ning his parlour also ran fibre optic
cables for several companies.
"This is a real evil, boy. It hurting
me," a childhood friend of St Cyr
"We have to get justice for him.
You can't kill a man for he own
thing, allyuh wrong.
Allyuh take the man money and
then threaten to kill him and then
actually do it? Why boss?" the
These latest killings pushed the
toll to 388 for the year.
Make them sell duplicate assets
Digicel boss wary of regional CWC monopoly...
in heart of PoS
Dennis St Cyr
Digicel chairman Denis O'Brien leaves the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann's, yesterday following day
one of a two-day regulatory forum on developing regional regulatory approaches to current ICT
issues. PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
Police Inspector Michael Veronique, right, speaks to a resident at the scene of yesterday's murder along
Observatory Street, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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