By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A LOCAL tabloid’s article that $1 million will be paid to the government’s negotiating team for recapturing the majority shares in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company was dismissed as “completely false” by Prime Minister Christie.
Yesterday, hours after The Punch published its lead
story – “PLP’s BTC Talks Team Set to Be Paid $1 million”– Prime Minister Christie released a statement denying the story.
“The story appearing on the front page of today’s Punch alleging that the Government’s negotiating team for BTC will receive the sum of $1 million is completely untrue,” said the statement.
“In fact, the members of the Government’s negotiating team are serving on a completely unpaid basis. They have not received, are not receiving, and will not receive any remuneration of any kind for or in connection with their services.”
The tabloid reported that the team, facing the obstacle of a $100 million penalty clause agreed by the previous administration under former PM Hubert Ingraham, would be paid $1 million for their services should the government succeed in recapturing two per cent of the shares giving them the majority 51 per cent shareholding of the telecommunications company.
At present government holds 49 per cent in the telecommunications company that was purchased by Cable & Wireless from the Ingraham government. Cable & Wireless holds the controlling 51 per cent, and recently reported that even with its 49 per cent government is earning more now than it did when it owned the whole company.
The negotiating team consists of Frankie Wilson, former Attorney General Sean McWeeney, lawyer Roena Bethel and former BTC CEO Leon Williams.
In lead up to the May general elections, Mr Christie and his party promised to negotiate with Cable and Wireless, controlling owners of BTC, concerning the government taking back two per cent of CW’s controlling shares.
The idea was met with much criticism, locally and internationally. However, Mr Christie and the government remain firm in their commitment to regain control of the company.