C3 faces fine over CI$500K of missing fees

| 12/10/2023 | 39 Comments
C3, Cayman News Service
Photo from social media

(CNS): The utilities regulator, OfReg, is looking to fine local telecommunications company Infinity Broadband Ltd, known as C3, for failing to pay its annual fees and comply with the obligation to submit financial reports. In a press release this week, the regulator said it had issued repeated enforcement notices but the company had not met its longstanding licence obligations.

However, C3, the only Caymanian-owed telecom company whose shareholders include Premier Wayne Panton, is challenging the demand for fees in the courts. It disputes OfReg’s authority to collect licence fees and is, rather, demanding that the regulator gives back the money that C3 has already paid in previous fees.

OfReg said it had issued an enforcement notice that lists the repeated failures of C3 to pay the fees and its failure to submit its audited financial reports. The regulator also issued a notice outlining the demands for payment of outstanding fees, including any interest accrued, and the proposed imposition of fines for the various breaches.

OfReg said that licence fees are collected from all information and communications technology (ICT) licensees comprising two parts: a royalty fee that OfReg collects on behalf of the government and a regulatory fee that funds the cost of regulating the ICT sector.

Following several reminders and requests sent to C3, OfReg issued the first notice over a year ago in July 2022 setting out its failure to pay its licence fees, which at that time totalled over CI$500,000, including interest. At that time C3 had also failed to submit its required audited financials for 2021.

C3 challenged OfReg’s authority to collect the licence fees, even though this is set out in the ICT licence. OfReg said it continued with its enforcement action in the face of the challenge and issued a final determination in August confirming OfReg’s position that C3 was, and remains, obligated to pay the fees and submit reports.

“As such C3’s failures amounted to a breach of its licence,” the regulator said. “As a consequence, OfReg issued C3 with a further notice on intended fines for the breaches beyond any demand to pay the outstanding fees.”

C3 has now begun a legal challenge. CNS contacted Managing Director Randy Merren, who told us that he was “unfortunately unable to comment” on the issue. There are no details of the case listed on the court website, as it appears the case has been sealed, preventing the public from seeing the claims made by C3.

Since the last enforcement notice, C3 has submitted its outstanding audited financial reports but OfReg said it has not paid any licence fees for the last year.

See the redacted enforcement notice from OfReg here.

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Category: Business, ICT, Politics, Private Sector Oversight

Comments (39)

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  1. Caymanian. says:

    Wait, wasn’t the small, privately owned inter-island airline that fell behind on YEARS of licensing fees also owned by one of the SAME PART OWNERS of C3? Wasn’t one of the most successful media/radio companies on island that also fell behind on YEARS of licensing fees also once owned by ONE OF THE OTHER part owners of C3??? LOL!! Is that the business plan for success? Just don’t pay your licensing fees and call it profit??! Wow!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wonder why auntie Sandy didn’t explode over this one ??? hmmm???

  3. Anonymous says:

    So the Premier’s company wants to short change government?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is this the behind-Closed-Doors court case that was in the news a few weeks ago?

    Dont know why this is an issue, I thought these things were decided at the Lodge meeting before they came to the OfReg Board meeting.

    Also, 3 of the owners are descendants from 2 previous Administrators in Cayman.

    Do the new Lodge families have a grudge against the old Lodge families?

  5. Anonymous says:

    The interim director won’t be interim much longer!

  6. Anonymous says:

    So are we just ignoring the fact that the Premier and Minister of Finance who has sworn to uphold the laws and to collect all revenues owed to the country is suing the Government via his company so that he doesn’t have to pay Government fees/taxes tot he Government he is Premier of?

    Nobody sees anything wrong with any of this ?

  7. Anonymous says:

    OFFREG always getting bad-mouth by the public. How can they function when clients refuse to pay their fees?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t our Premier and other upstanding Caymanian citizen’s part of the ownership of this company? Wasn’t one man behind in fees for his radio and TV licenses? How does everyone just slip up like this?

  9. Anonymous says:

    C3. Very fast to send out their bills and acknowledge payments, yet somehow they never respond to complaints over their service interruptions.

    Pirates, like all other internet providers.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I support C3’s argument that OfReg charges licence fees. This equates essentially to a business tax. Where as taxes are typically collected and used to provide a service to benefit the public at large.
    What service does OfReg provide other than servicing its own needs and perpetuating its own miserable existence?
    Disband OfReg they are a redundant entity, a slag heap for CS lifer, swivel-jockey has-bins and cabinet coattail dingleberries.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ofreg is a complete joke and waste of tax payers money. Time for Gov to realize this and shut them down. They have done nothing for the people of these islands except cost us dearly . Not including their brand new vehicles they purchase every other year

    • Anonymous says:

      Taxpayers do not pay for OfReg. But thanks for your uninformed opinion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fill the boards with failed political supporters and da wa u get…failed people running failing boards.
      Look the business people UDPact kicked off boards and put in milking cronies with political ambitions.

    • Anonymous says:

      So is the Department of Vehicles and Licensing. Wait, I can use this to not pay any more car licenses.

    • Anonymous says:

      OfReg sounds similar to Cayman Attorneys Regulation Authority (CARA).

  12. Anonymous says:

    this place is hilarious, PACT’s optics are systemically corrupt, our leader just doesn’t seem to get it, – this afternoon I’m going to walk out of Fosters with a couple of orange juice cartons. If they object, I’ll take them to court for charging me for the others I bought last week, unsomething believable.

    • Anonymous says:

      In C3’s defense, don’t believe it is as simple as that. From what I heard from other media reports (I was only half listening so could be wrong), it appears that C3 may have another agreement which sets out its license obligations. Sound more like a question of whether the law supersedes that agreement.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why pray tell is the case sealed? Is there an order issued by a judge or is some clerk doing this, as per usual.

  14. Anonymous says:

    time to end the fairytale for all companies moving afoul of the law! in regards to everything!

  15. Anonymous says:

    LOL, so if they win, they’ll be refunding their customers who have been charged to cover these monies paid to OfReg in the past?


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