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'Face-Saving' Deal With Btc

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

The Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s (BTC) controlling shareholder will enable Perry Christie to claim he has regained majority ownership for Bahamians by handing two per cent of its equity stake to a foundation, in a ‘face saving’ deal.

This is the main feature of the agreement that has been worked out by London-based Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) and the Christie administration’s negotiating team, with nothing changing at BTC in terms of its daily operations.

The key terms, as revealed by well-placed sources to Tribune Business yesterday, are:

• CWC will retain Board and management control at BTC.

An entity, called The BTC Foundation, will be created to own the two per cent equity stake that CWC is relinquishing in the privatised carrier.

The foundation, a trust-type structure, will make donations to a variety of Bahamian social and community projects.

This will leave both CWC and the Government with matching 49 per cent equity stakes in BTC.

There is no indication that the agreement with CWC involves an extension to BTC’s three-year post-privatisation cellular monopoly, which is due to expire on April 6, 2014.

There had been fears CWC would seek an extension to this in return for relinquishing majority control, something that would have denied Bahamian consumers the benefits of reduced prices, improved services and greater choice stemming from competition.

The details of the deal were effectively confirmed by panicky phone calls to Tribune Business from BTC and government-related sources, who - informed of this newspaper’s likely article - asked whether it had a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed between CWC and the Government.

Offers were also made to this newspaper to ‘drop the story’, in return for ‘exclusive interviews’ with unnamed persons.

Comments

bnewbold 7 months, 1 week ago

So with all the crime happening the PM finds that a deal with BTC is more important?

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URD 7 months, 1 week ago

This man is pathetic! Wasting Bahamians time and money.

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TalRussell 7 months, 1 week ago

Tribune's Business Editor Comrade Neil I hope the PM's success at regaining majority ownership in BTC is not too complex to tempt you into presenting to readers a basis report as to the importance of what really happened. Sometimes even my Comrade friends upstairs at Shirley and Deveaux Streets, also have to step and say, not this time Hubert. The red shirts dogma's torch has now been extinguished when it comes to taking back Bahamaanders 2% ownership control. It can make you really Hubert dizzy and journalistic lazy walk'in up them Tribune steps.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

It's a non victory. They got nothing...Cable and Wireless found a way to get them off their backs while retaining control and not giving them anything...no additional board appointments, no managerial control...Nothing....all this time and drama...for nothing....

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K4C 7 months, 1 week ago

Bush politics totally 3rd world, hang your head in SHAME p g in SHAME you have once again con Bahamians and the Bahamas.

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242 7 months, 1 week ago

Handing 2% over to a foundation? Would like to see full details. Doesn't seem like the government "recaptured" it

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voltairehumor 7 months, 1 week ago

give it back to the govt so they can ruin it like the govt ruins everything.

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TalRussell 7 months, 1 week ago

How could PM Christie possibly come out this any worse than Hubert's sell-off play? Comrades what we're damn sure about is Hubert, even with opposition from within his own cabinet and House MP's who had to be silenced under a threat to call a snap general election, signed over 52% foreigner ownership in BTC. Right?

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

Do you mean, how could the Bahamian people come out any better?

BOB.

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Tarzan 7 months, 1 week ago

I'm sorry Tal but I really cannot follow your reasoning. What is it about the total failure of government ownership that you don't get? Do you really think it is good for Bahamians to pay triple or four times the power rates that prevail in Florida where power is provided by private companies? Do you really think the privatization of telephone companies that took place in the rest of the civilized world some twenty years ago was some kind of horrible mistake? What is it you don't understand about the gross harm that results when politicians get their hands on large enterprises with lots of juicy jobs to pass out to their pals and supporters? Please give us an example of any such enterprise that is not a total disaster?

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Honestman 7 months, 1 week ago

The PM insults Bahamians intelligence with this "deal". The electorate would have had more respect for him and his party if he had been up front and said "I'm sorry but I couldn't get what I promised you". The electorate for the most part know how politics works and would have accepted that he tried. He and his administration have wasted so much energy on this worthless exercise. It became an obsession and what has been gained? Nothing! All that has happened is the PM has made himself look foolish. Why is it so important for him to "keep face"? True leaders own up to their mistakes.

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Apostle 7 months, 1 week ago

Unfortunately the prime minister must pay Cable and Wireless $56M just to say "I regained the majority share in BTC". They got 52% of BTC for $206M. What a waste of time and money and still doesn't have control.

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IsRightWrong 7 months, 1 week ago

It's a farce and many people will eat this foolishness up. Unfortunately so many Bahamians fell for okie doke during the campaign. Any individual with an ounce of sense knew that they couldn't get controlling shares back......not at the price they were willing to pay. At the end of the day this deal makes BTC bottom line look better. Before any donations/charitable contributions were a part of their expenses but now they will flow through the trust hence they don't have to record it as an expense. No telling what other expenses can be diverted by BTC through the trust. The boys in London are rolling over with laughter. I'm sure we were are globally perceived as a bunch of idiots.

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hj 7 months, 1 week ago

I am sure that their perception was reinforced after they have met some of the politicians

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voltairehumor 7 months, 1 week ago

i'm sure this is the only action taken by the govt and the bahamas that has the world saying "hahhaha what idiots!"

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hj 7 months, 1 week ago

Shares will still be sold to the Bahamian public and C&W still maintains control. Was not that the plan from the beginning? So really what has changed? The 2% that will go into the trust. So this is what PC was negotiating for the last 18 months, a foundation?

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realfreethinker 7 months, 1 week ago

That man is an ass clown not worthy of the high position he holds. He done gone and lose his marbles. we spent 18 months and how many millions for the status quo.

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GrassRoot 7 months, 1 week ago

No, only the deal. now they need to set up the foundation. takes another 18 months, now PC can become a FOUNDING FATHER as well.

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IsRightWrong 7 months, 1 week ago

It's a shame that a shrewd businessman like Franklin Wilson allowed himself to get caught up in this mess. He knew from jump street that they couldn't get back majority shares. It goes to show you that people do and say dumb sh#t just to back their political party.

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GQ 7 months, 1 week ago

Seems to me what Mr. Christie accomplished is like kissing your sister.

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Reality_Check 7 months, 1 week ago

Perry (Vomit) Christie, Franky (Snake) Wilson and Sean (QC) McWeeney all got one royal whooping at the costly expense of Bahamian taxpayers as a result of their willingness to let politics interfere with common sense and good judgement when it come to our country honouring its contractual obligations. What stupidity!

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IsRightWrong 7 months, 1 week ago

The real stupidity will take place when the people accept this as a victory for the country. I wonder what the BTC union will say because operational control did not change. If union bosses support this BS, then their pockets were filled in the back room.

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nationbuilder 7 months, 1 week ago

and they tried to bribe the newspaper to not expose their charade! i would say you cant make this stuff up, but it actually happens all the time

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MarkTa 7 months, 1 week ago

If the information was completely made up, wouldnt there be risk of a lawsuit?

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banker 7 months, 1 week ago

Sad, so sad. Just another sign of the mental decay of the Bahamas, and the unbalanced clown Perry Christie leading them. It's shameful to admit to being Bahamian on the world stage with Christie, Mitchell, Wilchcombe et al at the wheels of power in this country. It will take several generations to recover.

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nationbuilder 7 months, 1 week ago

yup, we do need more competition, and this year we are due to get it - if corruption doesn't succeed instead

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GrassRoot 7 months, 1 week ago

don't understand the "more" part. please elaborate.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

What could really be scary is if he actually believes he achieved something...

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URD 7 months, 1 week ago

So instead of BTC making donations, BTC Trust Foundation will be making the donations?

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GrassRoot 7 months, 1 week ago

to the needy elites of the Bahamas.

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242 7 months, 1 week ago

Who is on the board of the BTC foundation? And where or who does the profit the foundation makes go to?

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GrassRoot 7 months, 1 week ago

you know the answer. yellow than red, money is invested into the local economy (food and beverage) and will absolutely benefit the needy of our society.

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GrassRoot 7 months, 1 week ago

am sure the foundation charter prohibits the board from exercising the voting powers for the shares.

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birdiestrachan 7 months, 1 week ago

The truth is the Bahamas Government has equal shares, with cable and wireless and the Bahamian people own two %.The Bahamas Government gave up nothing at all Pm Ingraham left heavy monetary penalties in place if the bad deal he made was touched. It cost the Government nothing.. All of the talk of the treasury not having any money to buy shares was nonsense the former Government and their leader should be ashamed. but they will spin. it is a win, win deal. LET THEM EAT CROW

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

The PLP ate it all already, there's no meat left on those bones. There's no win and There's no money. CWC is laughing at PGC. That's the sad truth. Their goal was majority ownership and they Failed. They cannot raid the kitty, they cannot give out overinflated contracts to their side businesses. They Failed.

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B_I_D___ 7 months, 1 week ago

Now that's funny right there...ignorance is bliss...the blind leading the blind...

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IsRightWrong 7 months, 1 week ago

The foundation owns 2% and does not have voting rights. The foundation is just a vehicle to donate funds instead of BTC. BTC wins because the still control the company and they don't have to donate directly from the company which means they will have better net profits. Don't understand take a quick course in finance.

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thomas 7 months, 1 week ago

I wonder how the staff at BTC feels about this. It seems nothing has changed for them.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

Nothing has changed for anyone. CWC makes all the decisions. The gift owns 49%. Nothing has changed.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

Should read: ...the govt owns...

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hnhanna 7 months, 1 week ago

They should sell the 2% of BTC to the Bahamian People; this new deal is just pure crap

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ThisIsOurs 7 months, 1 week ago

It's not crap, it's nothing. Absolutely nothing changed. Majority ownership means you get to set the direction of the company. CWC has retained the right to set the direction of the company. What else is there to say?

It's a publicity stunt for PGC, and the swatting of a pesky fly for CWC.

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