Jamaican startup execs hit with legal charges

Jamaican startup execs hit with legal charges

Jamaica’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has charged several executives from the now-defunct startup Symbiote Investment (Caricel) for breaching the country’s Telecommunications Act.

Charges were issued against Symbiote’s CEO and company secretary - the husband and wife Lowell and Minette Lawrence – along with director Nathalie Neil and an executive of a different company, Xtrinet’s Livingstone Hinds.

The Jamaica Gleaner reports that the four were charged with one count of conspiracy to use spectrum without a licence, and five counts of using spectrum without a licence. These actions would violate Section 63A (1) (b) of Jamaica’s Telecommunications Act.

In late 2018, Jamaica’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of allowing the government to revoke Caricel’s operating licences. Almost immediate afterwards on 10th December 2018, the company handed over control of its licensed facilities and operations to Xtrinet.

Caricel acquired a licence to offer 4G services in May 2016 for JMD2.65 billion (US$19.4 million). It fell afoul of Jamaica’s courts in October 2017 after trying to sell its business to South Africa’s Involution Limited.

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