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Dec 9, 2016

P.U.C. Considers Amendments to Regulations

Fred Lumor

While the decision has cleared Speednet from having to pay such exorbitant fees, attorney Fred Lumor, who represents the PUC, says that other telecoms providers, including B.T.L., will benefit from the ruling.  The fee, based on the outcome of today’s decision, reverts the sum to fourteen hundred dollars.


Fred Lumor, Attorney for Public Utilities Commission

“Basically the Caribbean Court of Justice says that the Public Utilities Commission stands in the position as a government, so that when they pass legislation and there is what they call genuine doubtful penalization by government or a statutory authority like the PUC, they would have to bear the responsibility and not the citizen and that they disagree with the Court of Appeal that the interpretation of the word channel in the regulation is clear.  So they said if you look at the whole channel and the way it is framed there is doubt, so the rule against the PUC overturned the judgment of the Court of Appeal and ordered the PUC to refund seven hundred thousand plus.  Speednet paid us license fee and deduct what they thought the court feels is the appropriate fee, which is fourteen hundred dollars out of that amount.  And the PUC is also to pay the cost of Smart or Speednet in the Supreme Court/Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice.  That is briefly the outcome of the decision.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Is there any involvement of the Belize Telemedia Limited in this particular matter?”

 

Fred Lumor

“No.  B.T.L. is not a party to it but they will benefit from the decision, meaning that until regulations are amended by the PUC and things are clearly spelt out, they will also pay fourteen hundred license fee for channels through which calls are made and radios, broadcasting and all those things will pay fourteen hundred dollars as an annual fee.  But I think that the outcome of the decision will give impetus to the PUC to amend the regulations and make it clear.”

 

The appeal was heard by Justices Saunders, Wit, Hayton, Anderson and Rajnauth-Lee.  The judgment was authored by Justices Anderson and Wit.

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