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50 cell towers to come down
Trinidad Created: 6 Aug 2007
Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson Regis said more than 50 enforcement notices have been issued for the removal of illegal cell towers nationwide but these notices have been appealed by the telecommunication companies responsible for the sites.

Speaking during a question and answer segment at the launch of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) yesterday at Crowne Plaza, Port-of-Spain, Robinson-Regis said once cell towers do not conform to policy, they are to be removed.

She said the ministry, with army assistance, was going to remove illegal structures when an injunction was filed by Digicel when an attempt was made to remove a cell site on wheels (COW) in Petit Bourg earlier this year.

“We could not use that route so we decided to serve enforcement notices to cell tower owners and occupants of buildings where illegal cell towers have been erected which were supposed to come into force after 28 days.”

She explained though that the telecommunication providers appealed the enforcement and they are now before the Town and Country Appeal Panel.

She said in some cases, telecommunications companies paid $8,000 per month to facilitate cell towers on private property. This, she said, made it difficult to ensure companies comply to regulations.

Robinson-Regis also said she could not understand the Association for Radio Frequency Emissions Control (ArFECTT) vice-president Peter Permell’s accusations that the ministry is responsible for the erection of illegal cell towers. She described Permell as “disingenuous”, stating, “On more than one occasion Peter Permell met with me, and the Town and Country director to discuss this matter.

“We gave him access to all the information we have and have given him as much support as we could. Yet, ArFECTT consistently blames the ministry for the illegal cell towers.”

She added that she did not recognise ArFECTT’s demand for details of illegal cell tower locations as “ArFECTT made their request through the newspapers and not through the ministry.”
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Source: NewsDay, Leiselle Maraj , 12 Jul 2007

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