ONCE upon a time, people lined up, coins in hand, to use them. But the mighty payphones in Port of Spain became nothing more than nostalgic nuisances for pedestrians and possibly cash cows for scrap iron dealers.
What was initially thought to be the end of an era in the capital, could very well have been just larceny. Newsday stumbled upon three men disconnecting payphones on Frederick Street yesterday morning and recorded the men loading the devices onto a flat bed truck. One of the men said they were sent by "the company" to remove the payphones as they were now to be sold as scrap iron.
Nothing about the men suggested that they took it upon themselves to rid the city of payphones. The scrap iron trade is lucrative business.
However, contacted for comment, Graeme Suite, senior manager, public relations and external affairs for state telecoms company TSTT, said he was unaware of any authorised removal of the company's payphones.
Suite said he made enquiries and promised to get back to Newsday on whether the company sanctioned the removal, or if it was crooks making off with state resources. Port of Spain mayor Joel Martinez was also baffled.