The discontent with telecommunications company FLOW formerly LIME reached a critical level in the last days of September as a private citizen staged a protest in front of the store and two legislators called for better service in the House of Assembly.
While the Junior Minister for Trade and Investment Promotion, and Eighth District Representative, Hon. Marlon Penn never referred by name to the company with the unsatisfactory service report, he did announce that the matter should be investigated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC).
Hon. Penn in announcing his unhappiness with the current level of telecommunication service said: “We pay for them and people deserve to get proper service. I would wait patiently to see how they change.”
“There is no reason why we should be having substandard services as it relates to, especially broadband service in the BVI, at this point in our development. It’s an issue. It has been an issue of concern for me for quite some time now and I think the time has come now for us to see some change,” the Junior Minister further declared.
Leader of the Opposition and Third District Representative Hon. Julian Fraser was very clear in his announcement that his complaint was specifically about FLOW. The Legislator also announced that this was the second time he had to lament the company’s service in the House of Assembly.
Hon. Fraser also reported that his service got worst since he made the first complaint: “Who told me to do that (complain) Madam Speaker. It is one of the biggest mistakes I ever made because throughout the whole holiday season I was without internet service completely.”
During the September 23, Private Members business section the Leader of the Opposition told the House that since July his home telephone has not been working. He also said that the telephone in his office was now giving problems and attempts to get assistance from FLOW proved futile: “You call this 800 number and they tell you they gonna call you back and you still waiting for them to call you back. Nothing is being done.”
Hon. Fraser also said that sometimes FLOW personnel check the problem but do not fix it: “They falling over you coming in to your house checking this and checking that and whatever and nothing gets fixed,” he said.
The Legislator also suggested that the company was taking the Territory for granted: “I think what the problem is, Madam Speaker, is that they are taking us for granted. They got bigger fish to fry. All them house lines or landlines they couldn’t be bothered with this.”
Unhappy Customer Stages Public Protest
On September 28, Mr. Lambert de Castro had enough of FLOW and decided to picket the company. The dissatisfied customer of many years stood in front of the Market, opposite FLOW’s flagship store in Road Town armed with a placard that read: “See and Couldn’t Care Less.”
In an interview, Mr de Castro explained that he decided to picket the business because he has a problem with his internet and is unhappy that when he called to report he was transferred to Jamaica. “I called them on their service and they choose to put me to Jamaica.”
He further noted that as a communications company customers of FLOW should be able to report a matter without having to visit the office: “Do I have to go into their business when they have a communications service?” he asked.
When asked, what’s pushing him to the point of protest, Mr. de Castro said: “It’s not about me, it’s about the lesser service to the greater community that they are messing with. Tortolians are very quiet, we go a long way quietly, we put up with a lot of flow, flush, flow flush. My first telephone number was 208…I have been with Cable and Wireless all these years so rightly or wrongly they deserve to improve instead of just taking and taking.”
The resident further noted the he would not be satisfied with just a sit-down with the management of FLOW because he prefers to see the community’s issues addressed: “It is not about what they do for me, it is what they do for the greater community. It is not about me: de Castro’s are never about us it is about the greater community they need to improve.”
“Cable and Wireless have taken up the rates last year for new service that they haven’t put in place yet. I think that the charges need to be reverted until the new service comes online; and for the time that they are out right now with their system they need to stop the charges,” the resident further stated.