Parry Speaks Out On Caribbean Cable Commmunication Affair

Nevis Premier - Joseph Parry

Nevis Premier – Joseph Parry

Charlestown, Nevis
November 26, 2009

Premier of Nevis and Minister of Information, the Hon. Joseph Parry addressed the ongoing termination of government access through Nevis Television Channel 8 by Caribbean Cable Communications via the Federation’s major radio stations Wednesday morning.

Caribbean Cable Communications, the sole provider of cable television on the island, denied viewers on Nevis the opportunity to receive regular updates on the only access granted to the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) for local programming including local news.

The denial was confirmed by a statement issued by Caribbean Cable Communications on Tuesday morning.  The statement purports that the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) was advised that its part-time channel sharing service would no longer be offered effective close of business on Friday, November 20th, 2009.

“I am aware that there is widespread speculation that the termination is as a result of no payment on behalf of government.  This is unfounded and inaccurate as the service has always been free of charge from inception,” said Premier Parry.

The Premier also said that it was apparent that Caribbean Cable Communications would like to engage new local programmers but that would be difficult since only the Nevis Island Administration had the power to grant such licenses. Any granting of licenses by Caribbean Cable Communications for local programming, he explained, was a usurpation of the authority of the Government of Nevis.

The Nevis Reformation Party-led government has had to address Nevisians and residents on the island of issues related to Caribbean Cable Communications in the past.  On February 1st, 2007 Caribbean Cable Communications had written to the Nevis Island Administration to advise that effective March 1st, 2007 they would propose an increase in rates to its subscribers on Nevis.

According to Mr. Parry, he and his administration did not approve of the increase. The matter was then referred to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) whose Chairman wrote to Caribbean Cable and directed them to suspend the proposed rate increase, pending a determination by the Commission whether the rates were fair and reasonable.

In March of 2007, Caribbean Cable submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the PUC and stated its case for the proposed increase in rates and attempted to justify the increase. However, the increase was not deem justifiable and was disallowed.

Caribbean Cable Communications thereafter filed a claim in the High Court. After the matter was heard before the judge, the attorney and the President of Caribbean Cable Communications, Mr. Lee Bertman approached the Administration with proposals to have the matter resolved.

The proposals were not accepted by the Government as Premier Parry said and cited that they were not in the best interest of the government and the people of Nevis.

When the ruling of the High Court Judge was delivered, the judge indicated in paragraph 72 that The NIA was the government on Nevis. And it had a duty to act fairly in the best interest of the people of Nevis.

Premier Parry also compared the present government’s record in relation to rate increases by Caribbean Cable Communications and the past administration and cited that “the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) never took the responsible position of referring any rate increase to the PUC.”

During Mr. Parry’s statement he noted that in 1998, Caribbean Cable sought an increase and the CCM government did not expressly agree with it but did not oppose it either.

He added that in 2003, Caribbean Cable Communications requested that every subscriber had to pay the $10.00 increase approved by the former administration. However, the former Premier publicly said he would not pay the increase and he did not!

The Hon. Joseph Parry concluded by stating, “My government is prepared to use its plenitude of powers to ensure that good Administration prevails in this fair land of ours.” 

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