Paramaribo                    Mr. Mike Paul Antonius, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Suriname’s national telecommunications company, Telesur, has emerged the new Chairman of CANTO for a two-year term in office beginning February 2023.   CANTO, the regional trade association of the telecommunications and ICT sector, with more than one hundred and thirty-five (135) member telecom operators, ICT firms and vendors located in more than forty (40) territories in the Americas, the Caribbean and the Netherlands, held its 39th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Paramaribo Suriname, February 5th-7th 2023.  The AGM proceedings of the Association held on the afternoon of Tuesday 7th February 2023, heard and adopted the submission Reports from the outgoing Chairman, Secretary General and Working Committees of the Board for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Also tabled on the agenda was the report on the review of the Financial Statements by an external auditor, was heard and adopted. Election of officers, followed.


Telesur, represented by CEO Mike Antonius was elected unopposed by members, voting either in-person or via proxy.  Mike Antonius succeeds David Cox, who has served out his two consecutive term limits as Chairman from 2019-2023. Dr. Delreo Newman Executive Director, International Government and Regulatory Affairs at Atlantic Tele-Network International (ATNI) and Gerard Cooper, General Manager Operations and Administration, at the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) were also elected unopposed as Vice Chairman and Treasurer of the Board of Directors, respectively.


Six others were elected to service as Directors in fulfilment of the statutory quota of nine directors; Melesia Sutherland, Cable and Wireless Antigua Barbuda; Mark Reynolds of Guyana Telecommunications and Telegraph (GTT); Desha Clifford Digicel Turks and Caicos; Ramadhar Maharajh, Digicel Trinidad and Tobago; Kendall Dupersoy of Telem St. Maarten and former Chairman David Cox of Cable and Wireless, Grenada.


Mike Antonius has had a long and distinguished career at the Surinamese operator.  Mike started working at Telesur, Suriname’s nationally owned telecommunications provider, in 1995 as a Purchasing Officer.  He held various management positions, at the national operator, such as Manager Internet & Multimedia Services, Manager Telesur Netherlands, and Manager Corporate Strategy. He was also instrumental in the introduction of the two-country sim in the Netherlands, making it a profitable business.  In 2016, Mike Antonius was appointed Acting CEO, and was confirmed in the post two years later, in June 2018.  Under his leadership, Telesur has been transformed from being a classical telecom operator to a digital communications service provider. Mike Antonius continues to champion for Telesur, to the benefit of the people of Suriname by extension, a number of digital transformation initiatives, including: the introduction of 5G at thirty (30) sites in Paramaribo, including stand alone and fixed 5G service; the simplification of the billing process in addition to a move to paperless operations; and he is working collaboratively with financial institutions for the introduction of an e-payment system, Uni5Pay.


Speaking to members of the media following his elevation, Mike Antonius said that he is very focused on the digital transformation and so members can expect him to support the digital transformation agenda within CANTO and among the various member companies. He noted that telcos, however, need the support of governments in the region as the digital transformation thrust is not a journey they can go alone, adding “I look forward to collaborate on behalf of CANTO with the governments of the region.”