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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06GEORGETOWN910 2006-09-12 20:36:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Georgetown
Cable title:  

GUYANA ECONOMIC & COMMERCIAL ROUND-UP

Tags:   ECON ECPS EAIR EFIN ELTN EINV SOCI GY 
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VZCZCXRO0947
RR RUEHGR
DE RUEHGE #0910 2552036
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 122036Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4057
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
					  UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 000910 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ECPS EAIR EFIN ELTN EINV SOCI GY
SUBJECT: GUYANA ECONOMIC & COMMERCIAL ROUND-UP
August 2006

Contents of August 2006 Guyana Economic/Commercial Highlights:



1. GT&T: Cellular Network to Improve


2. Digicel to Launch GSM Network in Guyana


3. Inflation Watch: Consumer Price Index - July 2006


4. Berbice Bridge Gets US$5.4 Million


5. Civil Aviation: BWIA Implements New Security Measures

REFS: A) GEORGETOWN 417, B) GEORGETOWN 174, C) GEORGETOWN 233



--------------------------


GT&T: Cellular Network to Improve


--------------------------





1. Chief Executive Officer of U.S.-owned Guyana Telephone and
Telegraph (GT&T), Major General (Retired) Joseph Singh, announced on
August 11, that all police 911 emergency numbers throughout Guyana
have become operational and that the company continues to expand its
cellular and rural landline networks. The announcement came amid
complaints that the nationwide 911 network is often inoperable and
that cellular phone calls are frequently dropped. Singh noted that
the network expansion is being done partly in preparation for the
upcoming Cricket World Cup to be held in Guyana in March 2007. The
country's spotty communication network has been cited as a potential
security vulnerability (Ref A).



--------------------------


Digicel to Launch GSM Network in Guyana


--------------------------





2. Fast growing mobile telecommunications company, Digicel, will
soon be allowed a licence to launch a GSM (Global Systems Mobile)
network in Guyana, according to an announcement the Chief Executive
Officer of the Digicel Group, Colm Delves. The GOG and Digicel
concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on August 14. Meanwhile,
speculation continues to swirl around a potential Digicel buyout of
U.S.-owned Cel*Star, one of Guyana's two cellular service providers.
Cel*Star CEO Pierre Strasser has decliend to confirm such
speculation with EmbOffs. The acquisition of the new licence will
add Guyana to Digicel's twenty-one markets across the region. The
announcement confirms President Jagdeo's proclamtion last Spring
that Digicel's entry was imminent (Ref B).



--------------------------



--------------------------


Inflation Watch: Consumer Price Index - July 2006


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. The Bureau of Statistics reported that the overall price level of
consumer items monitored in the Urban (Georgetown) Consumer Price
Index (CPI) for the month of July 2006 recorded a 0.3% increase from
the previous month. Year-to-date inflation from December 2005 to
July 2006 was measured at 3.7%. On an annual basis, from July 2005
to July 2006, the CPI index rose by 8.1%, a slight decrease from the
8.3% annual inflation reported at year-end 2005.



--------------------------


Berbice Bridge gets US$5.4 Million


--------------------------





4. The Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI) on August 23 presented a
ceremonial check for US$5.4 million to the consortium of the Bosch
Rexroth BV of the Netherlands and Mabey and Johnson of the United
Kingdom to represent the first tranche of payment for the design and
construction of a bridge across the Berbice River. Site preparation
for the building of the bridge will begin on October 1, 2006 and
completed is slated for the first quarter of 2008. A consortium of
private companies and quasi-governmental organizations are financing
the 1.75 kilometer floating bridge, with funding for access roads
provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). In a press
conference shortly before the August 28 national election, President
Jagdeo dismissed suggestions that the timing of the announcement was
politically motivated. As described in Ref C, the Berbice River
Bridge has long been an apple in the eye of the ruling People's
Progressive Party.



--------------------------


Civil Aviation: BWIA Implements New Security
Measures


--------------------------





5. British West Indies Airways, the only provider of daily flights
from Guyana to the U.S., publicized new security measures for
persons traveling to and from non-United States locations to the
U.S. on August 10. Civil aviation authorities reported minimal
disruption due to the stricter security requirements. TSA is
expected in country in October to inspect operations at Cheddi Jagan
International Airport in Timehri.

ROBINSON