Did you know?

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Did you know?

Did-You-Know-.3113112Did you know telephones were first introduced into St. Lucia in 1896?   In 1897, the Director of Public Works revealed that it had fifty subscribers and added: “The ultimate number will probably, not exceed 100.”  True enough, until the 1960s, very few people in St. Lucia had telephones.

The Government- operated service was an archaic system, in which callers had to crank a handle to generate sufficient power to reach the telephone exchange, supply the telephone operator with a telephone number and wait to be connected.  Outside of Castries, telephones were available only to a few upper-class households and the emergency services.  Conversations had to be kept concise so as not to overload the system’s capacity.

In 1964, British-owned Cable & Wireless moved into the eastern Caribbean, including St. Lucia and set up a new an elaborate inter-island and international communications network with automatic telephone services.

In the 1990s, the system was digitized.  However, Cable & Wireless’ 30-year monopoly ended in 2001.  Then St. Lucia and the other territories allowed other telecom companies to operate and provide telecommunication services.

Source: A History of St. Lucia by Harmsen, Ellis & Devaux – 2012

This feature runs every Tuesday and Thursday. It is compiled by daughter of the soil Anselma Aimable, a former agricultural officer and former correspondent for Caribbean Net News, who has a deep interest in local culture and history. Send ideas and tips to [email protected]

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