Digicel Seeks Explanation: Location Of Tape

June 13, 2012

Digicel Bermuda said they are “seeking a full and frank explanation” from the Department of Telecommunications/the Ministry of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy regarding the whereabouts of the audio recording of the meeting held between senior Government representatives and Digicel representatives on 16 September 2011.

Digicels said it was during this “recorded formal meeting that Government’s clear approval for Digicel’s plans to provide international long distance services using Transact’s Class C license was granted. ”

“This meeting followed a lengthy application and approval process that began in July of that year. This formal meeting of 16 September was openly recorded following a specific request having been made by the Government’s team and immediate agreement to such recording having been provided by Digicel Bermuda’s CEO, Mr. Wayne Caines.”

“Digicel was staggered and baffled when Government filed written objections to Digicel’s ILD service in October of last year in the context of legal proceedings then in existence as between Digicel and CellOne. Following receipt of these bizarre objections, Digicel sought a copy of the audio recording of the approval meeting of 16 September from the Department. This request was ignored and then refused.”

“To date, no such copy has been provided and it has been intimated to Digicel that no such recording is available. However, despite numerous written requests, no explanation as to what happened to this critical audio recording has been forthcoming.

“It is unclear to Digicel whether the recording was lost, destroyed, erased or whether there is some other reason why the recording cannot be publicly produced. Digicel is perfectly content for the recording of this meeting to be made public to all concerned. Digicel has nothing to fear from the truth and is calling for full disclosure by the relevant Government officials on this critical matter.”

Digicel Bermuda CEO Wayne Caines comments “Digicel was completely transparent at all stages with what we intended to do in terms of our long distance offerings. Indeed, Digicel specifically requested this meeting on 16 September to, once again, go through all of this with Government and to ensure that Government fully understood what we wanted to do before we proceeded to finally acquire Transact.

“Digicel would not have purchased Transact if this approval had not been granted. I was very happy that Government sought to record the meeting for that purpose as we believed this would avoid any potential for any ambiguity. We are therefore extremely concerned that Government appears unwilling or unable to produce the audio recording of this key meeting where our ILD was actually approved”.

Digicel said the meeting on 16 September was attended by Ms. Patricia DeShields; Acting Director of Telecommunications; Mr. Michael Wells; Telecoms Officer, Department of Telecommunications and Mr. Melvin Douglas; Solicitor General and legal advisor to the Bermuda Government.

According to Digicel, “the meeting was recorded by Ms. DeShields as Acting Director of Telecommunications. This recorded meeting was expressly referenced in the letter written to Digicel dated 20 October 2011 by the Department of Telecommunications in which the approval was expressly and unequivocally confirmed to Digicel to provide ILD services through Transact’s Class C license.

“This letter was openly copied to Dr. Derrick Binns, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy and to Mr. Ronald Simmons; Chairman of the Telecommunications Commission. Neither Mr. Binns nor Mr. Simmons objected to the terms of the letter.”

Mr. Caines further comments “We want the Ministry to come clean publicly on this issue of what happened the audio recording of the meeting where our approval for long distance services was expressly granted by Government.

“We would also like an explanation as to how it came to pass that the Department could write Digicel a letter confirming the approval of the ILD service on 20 October 2011 and then, only 5 days later, file objections with the Supreme Court completely denying the validity of the ILD service.

“What happened between 20 October and 25 October that forced Government into performing such a staggering reversal? The public needs to know and understand what happened to the Ministry’s tape.

“Unless this is explained, the impression could be created that the tape is now missing because its contents completely undermine Ministry belated attempts to object to Digicel’s long distance service. Digicel has nothing to hide and would hope that Government could act likewise.”

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Comments (35)

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  1. SHOWANAX says:

    You made 1.1 BILLION in profit this year. Dont worry, be happy.

    • Soooo says:

      Yeah, Billions and made almost 200 staff in Jamaica redundant (now working the redundencies through the rest of the islands down south) They are reducing their workforce in Cayman by close to 50%… s Bermuda Next???

  2. OMG says:

    So they bought a company and now it is Govt problem?? Sounds like an underhanded move by Digicel to beat all the other players.

    • Truth (Original) says:

      …have you been reading the correspondence at all?

  3. zz says:

    Government was in effect rewriting the rules by allowing Digicel to do this. They chickened out and now cannot admit to complicity otherwise they’d have all the other providers suing them!

  4. So True says:

    With that sort of cash you could make up your own tape….:)

  5. Come Correct says:

    Well you see Mr. Caines, when we had that little cafuffle in the kitchen, the tape you speak of was on the counter, right before Mr. Burgess spinning roundhouse kicked Mr. Scott and he bumped it into the sink…that was running. Luckily Mr.Perinchief noticed this while trying to break up the “cafuffle” and snatched it up out of the sink, but in his absense Mr.Scott tried to superman punch Mr. Burgess in his ear lobe, which he dodged, so he actually superman punched the tape right out of Mr.Perinchief’s hand, Mr. Burgess then countered with a KAMEHAMEA!!! And after that I have no f@ckin idea what happened to the tape.

    Sincerely,
    Minister of Truth and Good Governance

    • Local that left... says:

      That’s one helluva “discussion” lol

    • Truth (Original) says:

      LOL ! “KAMEHAMEA!!!”

    • Peaches & Cream says:

      LAMOOOF!!!! hahahahaha that was cute!

  6. Truth (original) says:

    This is very concerning. Govt needs to come clean with some factual information, not lip service and criticisms.

    FACTS !!

    Digicel 3 – Bda Govt 0

  7. O Shooks says:

    @ Showanax. You must know that injustice anywhere hurts us all everywhere. It appears that our Government insisted that a meeting be recorded. Now that things are not going their way, The Government have refused to produce the tape. How could they not worry ? How they be happy ? Today the Government do it to Digicel tomorrow they do it to YOU !

    • Local that left... says:

      The problem is, why does digicel not have a copy…would make they’re fight much stronger..

  8. Dukes up says:

    Markie marc and the Funkie bunch, haves messed up. They made a decision and are now going back on it. Digicel have every right to be upset. I just hope the foreign owners do not get disgusted with this poor treatment and pull out of Bermuda. we see how this Gov. has Chased away many Reinsurance companies with bad treatment. Not being satisfied with messing that up they now have started frightening off International Telecoms companies.

  9. jussayn says:

    Renee Web, best Telecoms Minister ever. Bring her back, she’ll sort it in a second.

    • Chart says:

      LOL! Or maybe not …

    • Chart says:

      Given the succession of bored, disinterested or incompetent Telecoms ministers we’ve had in recent years, I think you can describe Renee as the “Least Worst” Telecoms Minister :)

    • allcloggedup says:

      oh really? anyway the only comprimise is to now open the market to a free for all….let Digicel have their ILD, let CellOne have their ILD, let TBI have their local/residential Wi-Fi……after all they’re all thumbing their noses at the regulatorsand doing their own thing anyway right?

  10. exfiles says:

    “LicenseGate”
    I think the TBI secret service broke into the Teleco Chambers and stole the tape.

  11. Mad Dawg says:

    It’s not the first time this government has ‘misplaced’ an inconvenient file.

    You’d think with 6 ,500 civil servants they’d be a bit more professional.

    If they can’t produce the tape, they automatically lose, obviously.

  12. xfiles says:

    “LicenseGate”
    Someone has broken into the offices of the Telecoms Commission and stolen the tape!

  13. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Yeah right. Renee Webb. She could have cleaned up Cablevision when she had the chance but didn’t. We are still stuck with poor service from them!

  14. Point noted. says:

    @ OMG, I am not a Digicel Customer, I will admit that the price of my internet and Long distance has gone down drastically. I disagree this is a underhanded move. I can see the open benefit to ME and the entire Market.

    If this was such a bad move, why did the ISP and Long Distance Companies not offer these huge redcutions in price before Digicel ISP/Longdistance came along ?

  15. fedup says:

    This is my issue with Government. Evertthing they do is so unprofessional. Yhey are totally blind to see how this effects bermuda:

    - people and businesses here and overseas are watching and take note of how a government behaves. some are like digicel (speak out) and some just pack up and go or if watching from overseas simply decide to go elsewhere. This has been happening for some time already and has not helped the economy. Just ask anyone in the IB industry

    Why digicel might be speaking out:

    - in order to invest and grow companies like digicel use the money markets to raise cash investments from private investors. Thats where a lot of the 1 billion dollars goes back to – investors. Investors take their advice from money managers that rely on analysts. Analsts watch global headlines and markets and write reports on what happens in the telco industry and with specific companies like digicel. When gov goes on record questioning the activities of any company like digicel and also to court industry analysts take note and this creates reputational damage which in turn impacts the ability to raise investments. I wouldnt even be surprised if the US Consulate is taking note and it is being recorded somewhere how Gov handles IB and relations.

    This is likely the case with digicel and if so i would be pissed too. Gov needs to wake up and start taking accountability for their actions.

  16. Reverend Pastor says:

    Its almost as if the Government is misleading Digicel. Imagine that!

  17. media says:

    Wasn’t Walter Roban the Minister when the talks took place and the letter signed…maybe he should resign again.

  18. Serious!!! says:

    Oh Oh sounds like another Watergate moment.

  19. Justice Needed says:

    What is so amazing is that Minister Marc Bean would release such a strong statement in the House last week.

    Surely his is being misled by the Civil Servants !

    One would have thought in an election year, he (Min Bean) would not make such bold statements esp if his team are wrong and hiding/losing key documents.

  20. Zombie Apocalypse says:

    If the tape can’t be produced, the government must automatically lose the argument, and Digicel must automatically win.

  21. LOL (original TM*) says:

    We had a dump fire since then bet alot of records where lost.

    LOL and we all thought it was an accident…….

  22. Amazed says:

    Why is Digicel in the paper everyday? We now have 4 groups saying that Digicel is wrong 1/TBI, 2/Cellone 3/ Northrock 4/ Govt and only one saying Digicel is right 1/ Digicel! LOL who you gonna believe?

    • juiced says:

      @ Amazed.

      Common sense needed please: they are all competitors to Digicel and would have to compete with Digicel. This means giving up some market share, dropping prices (already happened) and less profit. You can’t knock them for trying to stop Digicel. But that does not mean Digicel is in the wrong or that they should not offer the service.
      as for government saying Digicel is wrong, since they dont have thier own 2 cents they are likely just caving into the pressure from the other lot…

    • Mad Dawg says:

      As to “who am I going to believe”‘ well, anyone that says the government is outright plain lying is usually 100% correct.

      Have the 6,500 civil servants found the tape yet?

  23. Talk is not Cheap says:

    @ Amazeed Why are they in the paper everyday ? They paid mega bucks for a company, this after getting permission from the Government, now the Government are saying they did not give them permission ( We saw the Government’s letter to to Digicel giving them permission.)

    Of Course Cellone,northrock and TBI are against them, they are all Digcel’s competitors silly !!!

    Why are Digicel in the papers everyday ? They are a International Company, the Government and the competitors are saying Digicel acting unlawfully, those negative words are affecting thier International Brand… Of course they have to bring the truth in to the public domain…

    Wouldn’t you fight to clear your name if someone accused you of something you did not do ?

    Why are they in the papers everyday ? to ensure you and all other Bermudians get lower prices….

    Digicel make mistakes and I will bust thier chops when necessary, but right is right !! The Government can’t say yes and agree to something and then welch on the permission when challenged…

  24. Rockfish says:

    I just want lower prices for Smart Phones, Service Rates and Excellent Service (including Customer Service) – is that too much to ask for?