board of the Telecommunications Authority (TATT) has asked
its executive director Dr John Prince, an internationally-recognised
expert in telecom regulation, to proceed on vacation leave
because of dissatisfaction with his conduct.
The decision was taken on Monday night at a special board
meeting which convened at TATTs San Juan offices.
Yesterday, TATT chairman Khalid Hassanali informed Prince
of the decision and asked him to proceed on leave until
The deputy executive director, Cris Seecharan, will act for
Prince during his absence.
are compelling reasons for this decision. Dr Prince had some
leave inside and we asked him to proceed on that, said
He said the board had confidence in Seecharans ability
to manage TATTs affairs.
Prince, a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public
Administration and Information was on secondment to the International
Telecommunications Union when he applied for the post of the
executive director of TATT.
He was given a five-year contract by then chairman, Dr Ralph
Henry after issues with salary negotiations were sorted.
The Guardian understands that the TATT board was upset by
a letter from Prince to the then potential telecommunication
providers indicating a date of November 30, 2005 for interconnection.
A source said Hassanali told the board meeting that the
letter has caused TATT to be placed in a perilous position
given the litigious nature of the parties in the industry.
Physical interconnection between TSTT and Digicel took place
at the end of March and Digicel started offering its mobile
service to the public on April 6. The third concessionaire,
Laqtel, has experienced some financial problems and has not
yet started operations.
Hassanali also complained to the board that Prince had caused
the Authority to be tainted with prejudice because
of statements the executive director made that cost-based
interconnection rates are necessarily symmetrical and reciprocal.
Hassanali said this was an issue before the arbitration panel,
which was set up by TATT to hear a dispute on interconnection.
A complaint was also leveled that a statement that Prince
made, reported in the Guardian of April 6, aggravated the
problem of perceived bias.
The Guardian understands that Prince refuted the allegations
against him in a 12-page reply to Hasannalis charges
and that he is considering his legal options.
Sources also disclosed that Princes reply contains a
long list of the Authoritys achievements in its 22 months
Apart from Hassanali, among directors at Mondays meeting
were Gillian Bishop, Cagney Casimire, Ronald Ramkissoon, Learie-Alleyne-Forte,
Beverley Beckles and Wayne Nakhid, a source said.
Prince, a board member, was not at the meeting and when contacted
declined to say whether he had been invited.
Asked whether he had been asked to proceed on leave, Prince
declined to comment.
Instead, he said, I have travelled to between 60 and
70 countries around the globe advising governments on regulatory
issues involving telecoms. Nothing surprises me.
The Government decided not to renew the two-year term of former
TATT chairman economist Dr Ralph Henry. UWI telecom expert
Dr Kim Mallalieu, a TATT director when the board was first
appointed in July 2004, also did not have her term renewed.
Reporting by Asha Javeed