Castries, Saint Lucia. April 8, 2016- The Ministers with responsibility for Telecommunications in the OECS region will meet in Saint Lucia on Wednesday April 13th. The Ministers will consider new legislation, which is designed among other purposes, to strengthen the rules on consumer rights and also ensure that the climate for investment remains open and competitive.
The main agenda item for the 33rd meeting of the ECTEL Council of Ministers is the consideration of the new draft Electronic Communications Bill (EC Bill). The EC Bill contains provisions on changes to the licensing process to facilitate investment in all the ECTEL Member States, new rules to address some of the competition issues facing the sector and recommendations on the strengthening of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions (NTRCS) to make them more efficient and effective. The EC Bill also outlines improved rules for the resolution of quality of service issues faced by consumers.
In addition to the EC Bill, the ECTEL Council of Ministers will consider new quality of service regulations and have initial discussions on consumer protection regulations, retail pricing, wholesale pricing and the sharing of infrastructure, which are currently out for public consultation. The Council will consider a recommendation on measures to address the impact of the merger of Cable & Wireless Communications and Columbus International in light of the impasse in negotiations between ECTEL and the companies.
The Managing Director of ECTEL Mr. Embert Charles, says this a very important
meeting which will advance the policy objectives of the Member States. He notes: “These submissions to the Ministers are in response to the directives of the ECTEL Council of Ministers late last year for the Directorate to advance the process of regulatory reform, in order to address the wide range of emerging issues in the electronic communications sector in the ECTEL Member States.”
Following their deliberations and decisions, the approved new regulatory instruments including the EC Bill and an amended ECTEL Treaty will be submitted to the Member States for promulgation.
The ECTEL Council of Ministers is made up Ministers with responsibility for telecommunications in the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The governments of Antigua and Barbuda and Montserrat have been participating, as observers, in the deliberations of the ECTEL Council of Ministers since 2012.