I am pleased to have been invited to add this message to those expressing solidarity and good wishes to the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) on its 22nd Anniversary. Much has changed in the Orgainsation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) sub-region since the Contracting States (Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) signed the Treaty in 2000 to establish ECTEL.
This 22nd Anniversary of ECTEL is being celebrated under the theme “The Electronic Communications Bill: From Liberalisation to Digital Transformation”. The theme is befitting of this anniversary celebration as it allows the Authority to highlight past work, achievements, and the way forward for a competitive environment for Information Communication Technologies in the Contracting States and the OECS sub-region as a whole.
Over the years, ECTEL has consistently strived to maintain the balance between the rights and responsibilities of service providers on the one hand, and the fair treatment of consumers, on the other. Ensuring an effective legal framework coupled with information and choice availability are among the principal instruments that the Authority has used effectively over the years in the successful pursuit of its mandate. Citizens and residents of the sub-region are the beneficiaries of this approach.
I applaud ECTEL’s leadership team for their drive and active engagement over the years in being the driver of legislation designed to assist their stakeholders in providing quality service to their customers in the region. Some other notable accomplishments include: the code of practice for safeguarding open internet, increased membership of CANTO, implementation of mobile number portability across all Member States, regulation of voice services, development of the Universal Service Fund and the strengthening of the leadership of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC’s) at the national level. Additionally, the work of the Authority in obtaining passage of the Electronic Communications Bill in one Member State and the signaling by other States of doing so in the near future is commendable.
Finally, ECTEL’s work in public education is another critical area deserving commendation. As part of your public education strategy, I note that key stakeholders are targeted to ensure that they understand the role and functions and areas of law that are important to the work of the Authority.
ECTEL must however maintain its vigilance to ensure that there is no infringement of its directives and laws and consistently take steps to inform the public on matters pertaining to the interests of consumers. Of course, the risk of unfair competition is an ever-present possibility and the Authority must remain astute to guard against this risk. We offer our encouragement to you to remain steadfast in the protection of the consumers, especially those who are most vulnerable and ensure that all legitimate business enterprises have an equal opportunity to participate in a modern regulated environment.
I wish to commend the directors and staff of ECTEL on the keen discharge of their roles toward fulfilling the Authority’s mandate. Our economic advancement as a sub-region depends on a transparent and fair ecosystem within which consumers and businesses can interact on a competitive yet fair playing field. ECTEL has understood this thrust and continues to develop policies and strategies in its drive to create and maintain a level playing field for all its stakeholders.
On behalf of the Judiciary and staff of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and on my own behalf, I extend best wishes to ECTEL on the occasion of its 22nd Anniversary and wish the Authority continued success as its evolution continues in the years ahead. The Eastern Caribbean is a better place because of your contribution to regional development.
Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE, LL.D
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