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Govt scraps controversial cable repair deal

19 Aug 2015

Guyana’s new government has scrapped a controversial deal with a local firm for the repair and maintenance of the fibre-optic network connecting the nation to Brazil, Demerara Waves reports. The Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, informed the head of Dax Construction Company that the contract would be cancelled and that the company should immediately cease all work on the cable, although Dax would be fairly treated for the work already completed, Mr Harmon assured. Work on the cable began in 2011 as part of the state’s e-government project, but the rollout has encountered a host of problems, from contractors lacking the equipment or expertise to install the cable to deployed sections being damaged by other construction work and vandals.

The government has now hired a ‘team of telecommunications experts’ to advise on the project, and advise on the best way to proceed with the programme. A statement from the minister’s office noted: ‘Upon completion of the review the team will report on the project execution, the amount of money expended, the performance of contractors and consultants; they are also expected to advise government on the possible utilisation of the cable and on the way forward.’

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in April this year the government signed a 40-year deal with Dax Construction, under which the company was given exclusive use of a portion of the cable’s capacity and tax exemptions on the import of certain vehicles and equipment in exchange for repairing and maintaining the cable. The government claimed that the agreement provided a ‘cost-free’ means of making the long-delayed system operational, but the pact was criticised for being vague and open to abuse.


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