SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, has assured company technicians and engineers working in the field that their decision not to enter a home to complete a customer installation for fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus, is supported by management as part of the company’s current Coronavirus Contingency Plan.
The CEO was responding to questions from one media body yesterday, suggesting that TelEm Group is sending its technical workers into customer homes without proper protection, therefore putting them as risk of being infected from the Coronavirus - The comment was made prior to new government guidelines that go into effect Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
“Seeing that these new measures have been put into place by Government, we will be suspending all home installations and repairs for the rest of this week and possibly longer,” said Mr. Dupersoy earlier this morning.
He said the duration of this action will depend on further information from government.
“We regret that this may lead to members of the public and TelEm Group customers waiting for connections and repairs not being served,” said Mr. Dupersoy.
The CEO had previously assured that TelEm Group had informed personnel and technicians carrying out installations, in writing and also verbally, that they could enter homes at their own discretion.
“If the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were not available, our workers in the field and also contractors were advised not to enter any home, and again to use their own judgement,” said Mr. Dupersoy.
The CCO said because of the stay at home instructions from government, internet access has become even more important than before to customers, some of whom are now working from home and some of whom are depending on the internet for entertainment and to provide continued education for children who are not in the classroom.
“In some cases, the internet is the only way grandparents can stay in contact with their children and grandchildren. It is the only way parents can keep in contact with their children overseas whom they may be worried about,” said the CEO. He says all of this was putting an added responsibility on the company to continue to provide service at the highest level possible and even make new installations for those requesting them.
According to Mr. Dupersoy, the telecommunication services provided by TelEm Group have been classified as being “essential” to the community, therefore personnel were called on, before these latest guidelines, to assist in providing that service as best they can while the company did all it could to secure their safety.
Mr. Dupersoy also assured that the company had taken several steps to protect its workers in the field including consulting with a doctor about the safety protocols to put in place and providing a checklist for employees and contractors on the precise steps they should follow when doing an installation.
“The doctor advised against providing gloves and facemasks because they can lead to a false sense of protection, however, we informed the technicians and contractors that if they found it more comfortable wearing gloves and masks, then they would be provided,” continued the CEO, noting that the maintaining of a social distance of 2 meters when entering homes and paying keen attention to your surroundings while frequently washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds are more effective ways of keeping safe.
“I wish to state clearly once more that TelEm Group was not requiring technicians to enter homes if they did not feel comfortable doing such – it was left at that time to their discretion,” said Mr. Dupersoy.