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PM aims to take back BTC majority

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Prime Minister Perry Christie

By CELESTE NIXON

Tribune Staff Reporter

cnixon@tribunemedia.net

Prime Minister Perry Christie told an international audience the government will soon engage in discussions to “re-capture” the majority stake in BTC.

During his keynote address at the CANTO Annual Conference and Trade Show in Miami over the weekend, Mr Christie reiterated the governments commitment to regaining the majority shares of and controlling interests in BTC from Cable and Wireless Communications.

He said: “As you know, the majority stake in BTC was sold by my predecessors to Cable and Wireless, and with it, executive control over BTC as well.

“My government, however, was elected with a mandate to take all lawful means to re-capture majority ownership of BTC and I expect that discussions towards that objective will soon begin.”

Following the submission of his resignation letter to the House of Assembly on Thursday, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the government is not serious about its attempt to retake the majority share of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company.

He claimed Prime Minister Perry Christie’s pronouncements on the matter so far are just “fluff”.

When questioned by the media, Mr Ingraham said that he did not believe Mr Christie’s administration was seriously making a bid to do so.

“I don’t think so. I think that is all fluff. And I believe that the owners of BTC believe that is all fluff,” he said.

Mr Ingraham added that he thought it would be better if the Prime Minister followed through with the FNM’s plans to widen the ownership base in BTC by offering nine per cent of its 49 per cent holding to the public.

These shares, Mr Ingraham said, should be sold to the public at the same price that Cable and Wireless Communications was able to purchase its 51 per cent majority stake.

Mr Christie, however said the government will be proceeding with their campaign promise.

Additionally, Mr Christie told attendees in order to increase Caribbean countries GDP and make them competitive with the rest of the world, access to “affordable and reliable” internet is needed.

“It is not because of the lack of skilled labour and talent in the Caribbean but because of the lack of affordable, reliable high speed Internet,” said he said. “Broadband is referred to as the Crude Oil of the 21st Century - I am sure that the Caribbean Executives in this room have from time to time imagined how the economies of the region would change if we could only compete with India for Call Centres for Fortune 500 companies creating thousands of jobs in our island nations.”

Comments

242352 10 years ago

Good job, no I mean great job at scaring away any new FDI...

No company would want to set up shop here now, except maybe the Chinise....

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John 10 years ago

Where are the benefits?

Since Cable and wireless came in to the Bahamas I cannot get any repair sevice. My phone has been off since May and my internet was on the blink since January. B.T.C claims they sent personnel out to do repairs but no one was home. They have my cell number and I told them once they call I ill make arrangements to accommodate them. They must have been calling the three weeks when most and all of the cell phones were down. Hello.

Then look what they do to the phone card/ E Z Top Up business. Persons are working for BTC for free. Standing in the hot sun and cold rain for long hours and going home with less than $10.00 profit at the end of the day. Someimes they are robbed of everything, cards and money, or get counterfeit bills and this can put them out o business overnite.

Same fo EZ Top UP vendors. Many people sell top Up only because there is a great demand for the product, but at the end of the day they make little or nothig from selling Top Up. In fact you can go in the hole very easily if you sell Top Up. Why did the government allow C&W to come here and put Bahamainis ito modern day slavery. They have raped BTC of all its talent and now their product leaves more than a lot to be desired... Go for the 51% and fix BTC.

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242 10 years ago

Cool, what are the plans in place to fix BTC?

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concernedcitizen 10 years ago

come on your phones been out since jan ,and internet since may ,and whenever someone has to resort to such hyperbole as put us in slavery ,come on ,,,oh yeah btc was great ,highest rates in the region for the oldest technology ,,do you realize with every overstaffed goverment enity we all pay more in taxes and have to borrow more as a country to do anything ??

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bigdee 10 years ago

government need to buy back all of btc shares lime need to go back where they come from

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concernedcitizen 10 years ago

yeah then we can overstaff it again and have the highest rates in the region ,your xenophobia out paces coomon sense..

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Tarzan 10 years ago

What a great idea Mr. Prime Minister. Let's have the government regain control and run BTC. Then, in addition to a whole bunch of additional desks where you can park political cronies, we can experience mobile telephone service to the same high standard and at the same exorbitant cost as we get from BEC.

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Arob 10 years ago

Currently, The Bahamas government holds 49% of BTC shares. To gain the majority it needs 2%. Based on the present value of BTC shares, what is the $ value of 2%? I would consider this value plus improvements etc. = price.

For CWC, what is/are the benefit(s)? Based on the government's prior ownership behavior, can it coexist with a 21st century CWC?

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concernedcitizen 10 years ago

it would cost over 100 million ,if cwc agreed ,,the only PGC has to offer them is a longer monopoly ,so as a monopoly goverment can over staff it and cwc can charge whatever they like to cover the cost ,i can,t believe we have members of the public begging to be screwed as long as their party does it to them ..compitition is the way !!!!!!!!!!

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