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Fnm Warning Over Btc Offer

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Darron Cash

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

“MEANINGLESS shuffling and schemes” will not be in the Prime Minister’s best interests as the government further considers BTC and Cable & Wireless’s final offer, the Free National Movement warned.

On the heels of Prime Minister Perry Christie’s 
postponement of the discussions about Cable & Wireless with his Cabinet to focus on the pressing issue of crime, FNM Chairman Darren Cash told The Tribune yesterday that the postponement, “presents the PM with a valuable opportunity to take another look at the offer and possibly to reconsider the statements he proposes to make to the Bahamian people.”

“The leader of the ‘Take BTC Back’ committee is a senior accountant of long-standing. We expect that he would have advised the Prime Minister of a critical principle in accounting: substance over form,” Mr Cash said.

Two weeks ago, PM Christie said the government had concluded negotiations with Cable and Wireless for the majority stake in Bahamas Telecommunication’s Company Ltd.

The next step, according to the Prime Minister, is to take the proposal to Cabinet for their approval or disapproval – a process he said should be completed before the end of 2013.

“I think it is fair to say that the negotiations are complete, when I met with the outgoing Chairman and the incoming Chairman of CWC in London we had a meeting and I discussed with them the settlement and whether or not there are advantages that can accrue to the Bahamas Broadcasting Corporation as a result of the movement of BTC into television and when it takes place,” he said at the time.

“Their main concern throughout this process was giving up their control of the Board of Director, of which they have control because they own 51 per cent and so that was the real challenge for them in terms of this deal. I think they understood very clearly at all times the importance of the position that the government and the negotiating team had and the question now is the final outcome being presented to my cabinet – which I propose to do before the end of the year, so that we can decide before the end of the year whether we accept or whether we don’t. We will meet before Christmas.”

However, a cabinet meeting initially scheduled for December 30, 2013 to discuss BTC was postponed by the PM to address escalating crime in the aftermath of four persons being murdered at Freedom Park, Fox Hill, in a drive-by shooting.

The Prime Minister said the Cabinet meeting was originally scheduled to formalise a new deal with Cable and Wireless, the current majority owner of BTC, however “nothing is more fundamental” than keeping Bahamians safe.

“I have determined that nothing should distract us at this particular moment in time from the urgent need to escalate the war on crime. Accordingly, this crime-fighting imperative will be the singular focus of Cabinet tomorrow. As a result, Cable and Wireless has agreed that we should postpone the formalisation of the new deal until January.

Mr Cash responded that the prime minister’s announcement in the near future “must be a solid and substantive arrangement.

“Meaningless shuffling and schemes will be easily evident and would not be in the PM’s best interest. And while he has never been able to measure up, Mr. Christie should follow the example of his predecessor in office – Hubert Ingraham – and take the discussion and debate to Parliament.”

“The Bahamian people will not tolerate another shady, back-room deal like Bluewater that nobody understands,” the FNM chairman added.

He concluded that the Bahamian people would have no reason to be optimistic if “the promise of ‘substance’ with respect to BTC is anything like the substance we got after ‘substance’ was promised in the aftermath of the Fox Hill massacre and the ‘emergency’ cabinet meeting.”

In 2011, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham sold 51 per cent of BTC’s shares to CWC with an agreement that the company would have a monopoly of the Telecom’s sector until April 1, 2014.

The sale of BTC was met with heavy resistance from many Bahamians and during the 2012 general elections, the PLP promised to return the majority shares of BTC to Bahamians if elected to office.

Comments

jackflash 3 months, 1 week ago

And all of this while the prospective foreign investor watches and wonders where to invest?

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Honestman 3 months, 1 week ago

As usual this administration is more concerned about keeping face than doing what is best for the country. Everyone knows that the PLP only wants to regain control of BTC so that it can use it to give jobs to its supporters. Why in the world would BTC want to give up it's right to run the organization? Government should SELL its 49% stake in BTC to the public and give Bahamians the right to own a share of the operation.

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 1 week ago

CWC spent over 200 million. No way they'd just give the 2% back. I have seen with my own eyes the weak negotiating skills of the PLP. CWC ate them up. If we did get the 2% back you can be damned sure the deal benefits CWC way more than it does us. With a 200 million dollar investment CWC will not give up control. And they will not give up profits. So what the hell has this government done? The Bahamas cannot afford a 200+ million dollar investment right now. So we know they didn't buy the shares. They gave them something. Maybe no more monopoly clause? Maybe Cable Bahamas is about to lose REV Voice? Who knows. But I do know this was way over the PLP's head. And that tells me we are in deep doo doo.....

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 1 week ago

No way a government run BTC could survive in a competitive market. So doubtful CWC would take a minority stake either. It has to be an all out sale or a very very bad compromise. Bad for us.

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John 3 months, 1 week ago

C&W has Bahamians working as slaves. Ask them how many phone card and top up vendors have gone out-of-business since the slave masters took over. Go to any Mom and Pop store, any gas station, any food store that sells phone cards or top up and ask them "how much you making on them?". and the general response will be, "Well we selling a lot of the product a lot of top up, you kno , but we ainn makin nuttin. Everything is go back to BTC. We ainn even makin enuff to help pay our light bill. And so C&W/ BTC can show a healthy bottom line and export excessive profits out this country.. by ripping off Bahamian workers and small businesses. The stores and persons selling BTC products are subsidizing them and helping BTC show big profits while the small man makes nuttin.while the gov'ment sit on their hands and do nuttin. Its a crime...white collar crime that makes you turn blue.

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John 3 months, 1 week ago

more demonstration of his ignorance!

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John 3 months, 1 week ago

And guess what no reporter, no news media, no radio station will touch this topic because they don't want to lose the lucrative advertising contracts from BTC and the talk show hosts don't want lose their FREE Samsung 4 or galaxy note 3..get it ? Got it? Gone!

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John 3 months, 1 week ago

Hey dummy, service stations are convenient stores. In the US they are the major sellers of phone cards. And so are food stores. If ignorance was a crime you would be on death row..twice!

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concernedcitizen 3 months, 1 week ago

@phonecardjohnnie dude you are an idiot , you want to pay the highest rate in the world so our under educated offspring of idiots can sell phone cards ,,i know four businesses on the family island i live that our happy sellling ph time ,,how many people come in for minutes and by a bag of chips and soda ,,and no i,m not going to name them ,,go put a 100 down and go post paid and get a minute plan ,,doesn,t your God tell you to be wise w/ your money ,,your a f,,kin freak on this ph card sh#t

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John 3 months, 1 week ago

you are the idiot..so go support your four businesses on the family island you live on (sic) It use to be five, What happen one close down aye! that are happy working for 5 cents on the dollar. Your ignorance prevents you from seeing how Cable and Wireless is raping this country. You on here ranting and raving about (black) Bahamians are lazy and don't want to work, but you see nothing wrong with a multinational company like Cable and Wireless fleecing Bahamians and taking our money out of the country. I will not leave it alone until the problem is fixed, and I'm giving them THREE MONTHS. And your freak is in your mirror..just look!

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concernedcitizen 3 months, 1 week ago

@PHCARDJOHNNIE SUCH A SAD LIL MAN ,,HOW DID RACE GET INTO A CONVERSATION ABOUT PH CARDS ??,,,NEXT YOU WILL CALL ME A FORIEGNER OR PAPER BAHAMAIAN ,,DUDE YOU REALLY ARE A MYOPIC LITTLE IDIOT ,,THE BAHAMAS GOVERNMENT IS GETTING DOUBLE THE REVENUE UNDER CWC ,,,SORRY YOU AND YOUR OFFSPRING CAN NO LONGER STAND ON THE ROAD SIDE ,TRY SELLING PEANUTS ,,

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