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No Control Of Btc For Govt

Prime Minister Perry Christie

Prime Minister Perry Christie

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

ONE of the government’s lead negotiators in the BTC take-back talks yesterday publicly apologised for his earlier claim that the purchase of BTC was a “horrible deal”.

Franklyn Wilson yesterday backtracked from his harsh stance on Cable and Wireless, saying his earlier claim was not intended to incriminate the company.

He spoke after the Prime Minister’s announcement that slightly less than two per cent of BTC had been transferred to a new foundation which would benefit Bahamians.

When all transfers are completed, CWC will hold a marginally larger number of BTC shares than the government, the company said.

Under the agreement, CWC will transfer slightly less than two per cent of its 51 per cent shareholding to the BTC Foundation, ‘benefitting from regular dividends from BTC,’ said CWC.

The government will hold 49 per cent, the foundation two per cent and CWC 49 per cent. The two per cent transferred by CWC will be non-voting shares.

A senior Bahamian policy advisor will be appointed at BTC to help CWC bosses “ensure the company is managed to the good interest of the Bahamian people.”

Mr Wilson’s conciliatory stance was echoed by other former antagonists of the deal including Prime Minister Perry Christie, who thanked the company’s executives for the positive climate of negotiations.

In previous interviews with the Tribune, Mr Wilson, one of the government’s lead negotiators, called the BTC deal “unwise” and said “the public will soon be presented with considerable evidence as to why this was an horrendously bad deal.”

In fact Mr Wilson said during the take-back negotiations his team had come across several “shocking” details of the BTC deal about which the Bahamian people should be informed.

“We have considerable evidence to support the notion that the public knew better than the policy makers of the day. It was an horrendously bad transaction. In time, the public will be presented with considerable evidence as to why this was so... It’s in the national interests of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas for this horrendously bad transaction to somehow be reversed.”

 These comments of Mr Wilson, a longtime PLP stalwart,  followed a sustained onslaught by PLP leaders, which included Senator Frank Smith accusing BTC of “financially raping the Bahamian people” while under CWC management.

However, yesterday at the press conference to announce the deal between the government and Cable and Wireless, Mr Wilson said his previous statements “were not intended to implicate Cable and Wireless in any way”. He said the new deal is “truly the best combination” for the Bahamas.

He said: “We have developed a great deal of trust in Cable and Wireless and I go on record saying that when this exercise started there was a lot of rumours and talk about the possibility of impropriety on the part of Cable and Wireless or whatever the case may be, but I want the world to know that obviously our committee investigated all those rumours and you heard what you heard but we found no evidence of impropriety with respect to the conduct of Cable and Wireless. And when I, in the media from time to time, spoke about the transaction itself having been a ‘horrendously unwise transaction’ nothing in that was intended to implicate Cable and Wireless as a organisation. I put that on the record.”

Prime Minister Perry Christie said the deal was successfully negotiated at no cost to the government.

He stressed that executive control and management will “continue to rest with CWC”.

“The people of the Bahamas will not pay one single cent, not one. On the contrary, the government has been able to amicably secure the return of majority economic interest in BTC without having to pay anything for it and I should add without having to make any deals to get it done either. In particular there will be no extension of BTC’s monopoly as indicated before by me with the content and approval of Cable and Wireless and no postponement of the liberalisation of the telecommunication sector again as agreed to and indicated by Cable and Wireless,” he said.

“Let us be very clear about this then we will not have paid and will not have to pay for the required shares in any form or fashion. So in financial terms this is a win-win for the government and people of the Bahamas.

“I said that upfront so that all the naysayers out there who were saying that we were wasting our time and that we were going to have to pay huge sums and crippling penalties, I don’t know what they will say now, they have all been proved wrong . Let me say dead wrong.”

The deal will result in the transfer of 5,930,200 shares back to the government to be placed in a foundation that will hold the shares in trust ‘for the Bahamian people.’

“In addition to these shares, the new foundation will also hold all of the dividends and other income and all other economic benefits that will come from ownership of the shares,” said Mr Christie.

“We confidently expect that annual dividends from the required shares will be in the low seven figure range based on historical performance,” he added.

“The income will be separately held and used for the foundation so as to ensure that money will be used only for permitted purposes. Mainly to improve and expand the Bahamian people’s access to and enjoyment of telecommunication technology through the Bahamas. Secondly to assist in the development of athletics and other sporting and recreational activities in the Bahamas and thirdly to assist in the war against crime by expanding the use of CCTV and telecommunication technology as tools of law enforcement.”

CEO of Cable and Wireless Communications Phil Bentley said the agreement is a “win-win situation” that strengthens the agreement between the government and the company.

He said: “We have a shared vision to ensure that BTC is the key driver for economic growth in the Bahamas. We both want BTC to be the world class telecommunication operator the Bahamian people deserve.

“We will continue to regularly report its progress to government and the government will be represented of course on the Board of Directors and the Prime Minster and I will meet twice a year to discuss progress of the business.

“As the Chairman of BTC I plan to appoint a senior Bahamian policy advisor, to assist myself and the board in ensuring the company is managed  to the good interest of the Bahamian people.”

Comments

JohnDoes 5 years, 8 months ago

DESPITE ALL OF THIS, DO YOU ALL KNOW THAT ZNS WAS HANDED OVER TO CWC as well? YEP ZNS IS ABOUT TO BE PRIVATIZED, I WONDER WHAT PERCENT WE GOT IN THAT...hmm

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 8 months ago

So no control of the board, no majority ownership, no say in the day to day operations of the company...PERFECT...you guys did just what you promised on the Election Campaign trail yet again and delivered on your promises!! Give yourselves a raise and a bonus for a job well done...oh wait...you've done that already, I forgot.

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shortpants 5 years, 8 months ago

But you did not get it back LOL on you .You did'nt have to put out but you do have to shut up.

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hj 5 years, 8 months ago

PC is bragging that he did not pay anything for the "deal". He did not have to pay since he did not get anything.

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MarkTa 5 years, 8 months ago

I can just imagine PC patting himself on his back thinking this was a great deal.

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 8 months ago

...and that's what is so very sad...they are thinking this is all it takes to sway the masses into thinking they can actually accomplish anything they promise...sit back all proud of themselves...think of all this time and effort they spent, you know the various lawyers involved in drafting up all these deals and contracts are just laughing and rolling in the cash of billable hours...wonder how much was spent on this exercise between travel expenses and legal fees....for nuttin'!!

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banker 5 years, 8 months ago

Ha! I told you in another post. CWC retained the proxies of the vote. So they still have 51% control of the company. It is not necessary to retain 51% of the actual shares, as long you control the votes of those shares through the proxies. This is all smoke and mirrors.

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 8 months ago

Sadly...there are segments of this population that will see this whole debacle as a victory and that PGC and da PLP are men of their words and do as they say! Laughable.

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realfreethinker 5 years, 8 months ago

CWC laughing all the way to the bank. A good deal is when you net more than you had before. Now they have ZNS to add to their portfolio

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hj 5 years, 8 months ago

The boys in London must have a good laugh and stories to tell their friends. This is how Bahamian politicians negotiate,instead of getting back they are giving more

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Emac 5 years, 8 months ago

Yeah. The same ones who live in run down communities and keep voting the same people in over and over again who keep them there.

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spoitier 5 years, 8 months ago

So who votes for the FNM? wake up, both parties are full of it.

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concernedcitizen 5 years, 8 months ago

So now the money CWC used to give to sporting events etc is going to go through a "foundation " that will have some of the "boys" paid well to sit on the board/ get jobs ,

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concernedcitizen 5 years, 8 months ago

The shake down and threats of union unrest got a few connected people jobs at a" foundation "//petty shake down /petty pay out ..

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

Hadn't thought about that, if it was a bad deal before and nothing changed...it's still a bad deal...

I don't know if this is saving face or whether PGC actually believes he accomplished something...all I can say is thank God it's not in their hands because that company would be plundered to fill someone's pockets and to cover the bad debt at BOB

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

I said that upfront so that all the naysayers out there who were saying that we were wasting our time and that we were going to have to pay huge sums and crippling penalties, I don’t know what they will say now, they have all been proved wrong . Let me say dead wrong.

I admit I was wrong. I thought that the govt would get something and pay heavily for it. I was dead wrong. They in fact got nothing and paid nothing for it.

CWC's position hasn't changed much either, they accomplished "something" by swatting a pesky fly, the money that they used to give to athletes, Junkanoo, community initiatives ANYWAY, now comes out of the foundation, no fundamental change at all

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 8 months ago

CWC announcement on their website today:

CWC and Government of The Bahamas reach agreement to create BTC Foundation for Bahamians Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) today announces it has reached an agreement with the Government of The Bahamas to establish a charitable foundation dedicated to investing in projects for the benefit of Bahamians. The BTC Foundation will be funded through the contribution by CWC of a 2% economic interest in BTC. The 2% shareholding will not be entitled to any voting rights and therefore CWC will retain majority voting rights in BTC as well as remaining the largest overall shareholder. CWC will also maintain management and Board control of the business, and as a consequence continue to consolidate BTC’s financial results. Phil Bentley, Chief Executive of CWC, commented: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Government to create the BTC Foundation. From the start of our partnership with the Government three years ago, we have been proud for BTC to support good causes for the Bahamian people. Establishing the BTC Foundation enables us to add significantly to the support we provide the community through investments in projects aimed at increasing and improving access to, and enjoyment of, telecommunications technology as well as other important civic projects.”

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 8 months ago

Basically CWC announcement says a foundation was created. Nothing else. PLP truly are in way over their heads.. wow..

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 8 months ago

...and this surprises people...would be VERY curious to see the make up and outlay from this 'foundation'. Hopefully CWC controls the purse strings of the foundation and can tell the government...PLP, FNM or whoever comes next to keep their grubby paws to themselves.

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IsRightWrong 5 years, 8 months ago

Actually CWC has controlling shares as well because they did not transfer the full 2%.Which means that their total shares are slightly greater than the 49% that the government owns.

"He spoke after the Prime Minister’s announcement that slightly less than two per cent of BTC had been transferred to a new foundation which would benefit Bahamians."

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IsRightWrong 5 years, 8 months ago

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...">http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin..." alt="PGC Cabinet don't look too excited about the deal. The look on the Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis' face says it all.">

http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin...">PGC Cabinet don't look too excited about the deal. The look on the Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis' face says it all. by IsRightWrong

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IsRightWrong 5 years, 8 months ago

The press release picture from the guardian says it all. Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis' probably saying to himself WTF just happened

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Reality_Check 5 years, 8 months ago

PM reminds me of that famous line in the 1994 movie Forest Gump:

"Stupid is as stupid does"!

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 8 months ago

Can someone provide facts to the following?

  1. What is the value of the 2% of shares in trust?

  2. How much profit would the trust shares generate in a given year?

  3. How much would it cost to administer the trust?

  4. What is the future trend of the value of the shares after the BTC monopoly ends?

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 8 months ago

3...you can guarantee your bottom dollar that if there is any government 'administration' of the trust, it will be raped and pillaged to the maximum. That trust will be donating money right left and center to some random and obscure event at inflated values to line peoples pockets.

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whybahamas 5 years, 8 months ago

Well, Perry can say that they only own 49% of the shares and the "Bahamas" owns 51%. The rest doesn't matter to the majority. Bigger number always wins right? :)

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

Are you serious?

He can't even claim that if I've understood this thing correctly. From proudandloud : -Slightly less than 2% was transferred. Since nothing was transferred to the govt, they still own 49%. Therefore CWC owns slightly more than 49%. They are STILL the majority shareholder!!!!! This is too unbelievable to be real. I wonder if PGC has grasped this?

Further, I didn't see anything to indicate that the government owns the 2%!!!...what I've understood is that CWC just transferred the 2% to a trust fund that CWC OWNS. you can't make this stuff up...The returns from that investment will be used to fund various charitable organizations and events. But CWC has been contributing to charitable events ALL ALONG. What has Perry gotten? NOTHING.

Further, from his comment that "this will never again come before cabinet", they told him to take this deal and carry his hip!

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birdiestrachan 5 years, 8 months ago

CWC will still manager BTC but when it comes to profit sharing the Government and the foundation will receive the most of the profits. It was a very bad deal in the first place. PM. Ingraham said it could not be changed and he also said in order to change the deal he made. would cause the Government between 40 to 100 million. the Government paid nothing. They received 2% for nothing. even the Tribune said the shares would cost more to purchase. .I would take 2% and not depend on some one to give me a donation if they feel so.

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banker 5 years, 8 months ago

profit sharing the Government and the foundation will receive the most of the profits.

Not true. The shares are not voting shares. BTC retained the 51% voting rights, so they could vote to put just a little bit of money in the 2% foundation.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

But does the government even "own" the "slightly less than 2%"?? I don't see anything in their press release to say the government owns the 2%. All CWC has said is that the returns will benefit the Bahamian people.

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concernedcitizen 5 years, 8 months ago

PGC AND THE GOV PAID NOTHING AND GOT NOTHING ,YOU KNOW ANY BUSINESS THAT GIVES ANYONE ANYTHING FOR NOTHING ??HE GOT SQUAT

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JohnDoe 5 years, 8 months ago

Let's follow the math........ the reason nothing was paid is because 2% of nothing equals nothing, zero, nada and zilch. CWC varied the rights of two percent of shares to non-voting and then created a foundation most likely beneficially owned by a trust to disguise the fact that it is still beneficially owned by CWC. CWC will then use this foundation to fund all those charitable activities that they previously expensed in their P&L. Well, with this deal they no longer have to recognize those expenses in their P&L, these cost will now be directly deducted from their retained earnings through dividend payments. CWC continues to consolidate so nothing really changes only now their ratios look a little better.

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banker 5 years, 8 months ago

presshttp://4.bp.blogspot.com/-3GdYNDR7b0s..." title="At the announcement" />

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 8 months ago

LMFAO....that is hysterical!! Nice one!!

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

The LESS THAN 2% goes "somewhere". 49% is with the govt. GREATER THAN 49% goes to CWC. Therefore CWC has majority ownership.

The trust donates money to charitable causes which BTC was doing all along.

I really hope PGC is fully aware of all of this

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TalRussell 5 years, 8 months ago

Comrades wasn't it just before yesterday the red shirts were a thousand percent opposed to the PM making ANY deal with C &W to regain the 2% shares? Now, today you don't think the PM make a good enough deal. What? Regardless, there is not enough negative meat on this BTC deal bone to make leaders Minnis and Loretta think this is what they've been waiting for, to make a comeback from the bad mess Hubert ran away from, by his decision not to stay around as da leader of his once "beloved' (a little humour here) red party in.

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birdiestrachan 5 years, 8 months ago

If a multi million dollar Company gives you 2% of their share free of charge, it is a gift. it as simple as that it is a free gift. it cost you nothing, one received something for nothing. Give thanks.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

They didn't give the govt anything. Why can't people understand that??? The govt got nothing other than a promise from CWC that they will take, for all intents and purposes, "the interest" from the LESS THAN 2% and invest in sports, Junkanoo etc. Which CWC already does

This is why Rory says the foreigners laugh at us. We dress up in all kinds of finery, Rolex watches, luxury cars half million dollar homes but we can't think past a shiny package that someone (inclusive of our own govt) sells us. This is why they find it so easy to steal the rock from right under our feet.

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TalRussell 5 years, 8 months ago

PM tis that time to put your cabinet and MP's under an umbrella of one united message. Comrades talk is cheap, my stylist is full of it. PM Christie could have moved in the House or even with the stroke of da pen, to do whatever he wished in dealing with C & W, but he didn't. It was Hubert who stood up in the House and threatened his own cabinet colleagues and MP's to either support the sale of BTC, or he'd "punish"them by calling a snap General Election. Of course PM Christie knew it would not be easy, Hubert crafted the contract to guarantee it would be difficult.\ to modify. Comrades Hubert's own colleagues had misgivings of their own but Hubert took care of that. Under the circumstances PM Christie did what was open to him to do as a "democratic" PM and should be congratulated for delivering. Comrade reds tis time to move on cause lots other stuff still hanging over from your time in office, and some it ain't so pretty, including billions wasted by inept reds whist at the helm of Bahamaland's power.

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242 5 years, 8 months ago

LOL no wonder they win the election

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EasternGate 5 years, 8 months ago

There is something sinister about this whole affair. I am convinced that C& W was threatened by the Government. I am also aware that dating back from the days of the "Pingdom" Batelco was infested with PLP supporters. I was told that a lot of technical employees were systematically sabotaging BTC since it was sold to C & W

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

If you call rolling on the floor laughing at PGC "threatened", then yeah they were threatened

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TalRussell 5 years, 8 months ago

I want my red Comrades to understand this. IF only Hubert had been as transparent with his own MP's over the controversial sale of the controlling interest in BTC, as PM Christie is over the 2%, we might not be having this conservation, particularly at a time when so many other urgent matters should be occupying the government and opposition's time tables.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

TRANSPARENCY??? Perry Christie wants us to believe that he gained majority ownership in BTC just liked he promised in his 2012 campaign, that's not transparency, that's obfuscation, that's deceit.

BTW what was the negotiating team paid for this non-result?

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banker 5 years, 8 months ago

Man, you take crap outta PGC's behind, call it benny cake, and eat it with gusto. What is the matter with you Tal?

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bytheway 5 years, 8 months ago

Reading all this "stuff" just blows my mind!! Whatever will the next big project be? Can't wait to find out!

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

BTC was a cash cow to Cable and wireless from the beginning. They came here scrapped half the staff, dismantled the distribution channel and left Bahamian vendors and store owners selling their products for peanuts, took over the cell phone market by advertising falsely that phones purchased from other vendors may be faulty and not work on their system and doing many unethitical things that they could not get away with in Canada, the USA or the UK with. They were never prepared to give up control of BTC that was handed to them on an FNM sliver platter, or the easy cash profits that go with it. The fact is that unless the competition comes in with very deep pockets and are willing to build a new cellular service from the ground up, they will have to interface with BTC/C&W. This will mean more revenue for Cable and Wireless. This will also mean that Cable and Wireless will determine, indirectly, what the quality of the service of the new competitor will be and also what the minimum standards are. ANd since they will be piggy backing of BTC the chances are there will be no lower prices...more chances of price fixing if anything...Hubert made a big mistake letting control of this company slip away like that, because they can now make it impossible for competition to operate in the Bahamas...No wonder they are saying ;bring it on, we ready!"

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SP 5 years, 8 months ago

You red shirts short memory idiots conveniently forgot it was your "One Man Jackass" that created this whole dumb mess in the first place.

At least PGC had the ability to get SOMETHING BACK for the country...."One Man Jackass" said all was irreversible!

Thank you Mr. Christie for doing what could have been done to resolve another "One Man Jackass" puck up.

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

So the music played but no one danced..wonder why?NO ONE DANCED!

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TalRussell 5 years, 8 months ago

Comrade Banker stick with your Photoshop "story telling" enhancements projects cause tis better than acting like some red neurotic in front Tribune readers. Still ya is my red Comrade friend.

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 8 months ago

That's because all the police are too busy shaking down Haitians, both legal and illegal and threatening to take them out to the detention centre unless they give them all the cash they are carrying. You have scores of illegal Haitians living within blocks of Fox Hill Police station and it happens almost every day. They know the Haitians won't argue, mention the detention centre and they immediately know to offer up cash and they can walk free. Ain't no national ID card going to stop that and get these people deported.

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Stapedius 5 years, 8 months ago

The thing that concerns me is the loyalty that the two major parties have for there leaders. Perry has become a liability to the PLP as I believe Sir Lynden did and even Hubert to the FNM. When are we going to realise that the party is bigger than any one individual. I personally never believed Perry should have become leader. I think BJ would have done a better job. But that ship has sailed so no use thinking about that. Both of these major parties need to get to a point where they can say to their leaders 'it's time to move on.' Perry will make it harder for the PLP as party to command the respect of the Bahamian people. Its not about being treacherous or being a Judas. Its about survival of the party and simply knowing when to bow out gracefully. You shouldn't have to be chased out or lose your shorts in an election. Not when you've been in Parliament for 40+years.

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 8 months ago

Agreed...I will be the first to admit to only ever voting FNM in my voting lifetime...I had serious reservations when Tommy T was running, and not surprisingly we lost that one. As it stands now, I know I would not vote PLP, but with the FNM in its current state, I would not vote FNM either. They either need to up their game...and earn the respect of the people by doing the right thing...QUICKLY...or a third party (not necessarily saying the DNA) needs to come about as a solid viable alternative. I am afraid for this country come 2017, obviously the PLP and PGC have got to go, the FNM are still blown apart and struggling, and I'm not too sure if the DNA roster last election could have led effectively either, so if we end up with the same again come 2017...what the heck are we going to do...sign up for another 5 years of poor governance? Truly frightened with the prospects for a good government come 2017.

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 8 months ago

Let us not ever forget folks. BTC was only profitable because the FNM came to power in 92 and fired a ton of staff. For decades ping drowned Batelco in employees for votes. up to 92 Batelco was losing every year. After letting go the extra staff (with full pension by the way) Batelco saw a 53 million profit.

So selling BTC was a good idea, kept the PLP from over staffing it again and puts more money into the treasury now.

Check your history. It wasn't that long ago....

FNM is the only choice baby!

Shut up sicko and go find yasef a woman....

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concernedcitizen 5 years, 8 months ago

@WOMEN WOULD BEAT SICKO AND WASH HIS MOUTH OUT W/ LIFE BUOY SOAP

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 8 months ago

This is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Rory" should be censored for his obsene comments.

Where is the webmaster????????????????????

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