Review could bring new telecoms option

Wednesday December 02, 2015 Written by Published in Local

Cook Islanders could be one step closer to having another mobile phone company if the High Court asks the Minister of Finance Mark Brown to rethink his rejection of Orama Ltd’s bid for a telecommunications licence.

 

Orama’s William Framhein has applied for a judicial review of Brown’s September decision to decline the company’s application for a licence for radio apparatus which would enable the company to provide a new mobile phone service, data and a wireless internet service.

The application for a judicial review is timetabled for mention in the High Court in Rarotonga on Friday.

Framhein’s lawyer, Brian Mason, said the appeal aimed to have the decision made by the Minister of Finance quashed, or that he is ordered to reconsider his decision.

One of the grounds to support their appeal is that the Minister had adequate information before him to make a decision, whereas Brown had claimed that the information he was given was insufficient.

Even if he needed more information the Regulations specifically provided for the Minister to request more information and he should have chosen this option rather than decline the application completely, said Mason.

“Also, the decision to decline the application in the manner the Minister did seems inconsistent with a very important statement made in the Minister's letter declining the application - namely that it is Government policy to “open the telecommunications arrangements in the Cook Islands.”

The court has ordered the Crown to file a notice of intention to defend or a statement of defence, if it is going to defend the proceeding. There will then be a conference call with Justice Grice to timetable further steps in the proceeding, said Mason.

“Naturally, Orama hopes that the Minister will see the proceeding as a reasonable request and that he will agree to reconsider his decision to decline the application and instead invite Orama to furnish the further information he requires before making a final decision on its application.”

Recently the Asian Development Bank director of urban, social development and public management division, Andrea Iffland, made a bold statement in support of Orama Limited’s bid for a telecom licence.   

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