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Fnm: Btc Deal Is A Betrayal

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia

PRIME Minister Perry Christie’s announcement of a new BTC deal was a “shameful and cynical betrayal of his campaign promise”, the FNM said yesterday.

Opposition Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said the agreement with BTC’s parent company Cable & Wireless Communications was not new because the Bahamian people still do not own the majority of the company.

He was speaking at his party’s headquarters on Mackey Street where he made several criticisms about Mr Christie who had been adamant in his efforts to regain BTC’s majority stake for nearly two years.

With the new agreement, both the Bahamian people and CWC now own 49 per cent of the company. The remaining two per cent has been transferred to a new BTC foundation.

Dr Minnis said: “This is nothing short of deception of the Bahamian people. We have gotten nothing new out of this arrangement. 

“The Prime Minister was right to hold his head down during the press conference (on Wednesday) because it was shameful for the Prime Minister to pretend that the Bahamian people own an entity that is not vested in the treasurer of the Bahamas and whose proceeds are not deposited into the consolidated fund.

“There has been no change in ownership and no transfer of shares to the Bahamian people.  The Prime Minister sheepishly announced that he has struck a deal to regain “majority economic interest” in BTC, not the majority of directors on the board, not the majority of the control of management.

“This is nothing less than a shameful and cynical betrayal of his campaign promise to the Bahamian people where he made majority ownership of BTC a major campaign issue.”

While the FNM is lambasting the government for what they describe as a bad deal, PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts believes Mr Christie has demonstrated skill of ‘moral suasion’ during the negotiations.

He said: “The government’s decision to hold the 5,093,000 shares transferred in trust for the Bahamian people and to be used for permitted purposes is welcome news because Bahamians get to see, touch, feel and experience the tangible benefits of the income derived from the re-acquired shares.”

The shares are expected to contribute to improvements in telecommunications, the development of sports and recreational activity and to assist in expanding technology to help in the fight against crime.

Mr Roberts said there was nothing in the agreement that reasonable Bahamians cannot get behind, support and benefit from.

He said: “To our detractors, gainsayers and critics I invite you to eat crow, to do so liberally and to choke on it. In the end, this pursuit was not a fool’s errand; it was not a waste of time, nor was it a chase after an elusive rainbow as some have gloated.

“There was indeed a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow payable to the Bahamian people in perpetuity - the value and national developmental benefits for our youth are incalculable,” Mr Roberts said.

The Christie administration, he said, is now expected to focus its attention on the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in the Bahamas.

Comments

B_I_D___ 6 years, 5 months ago

Wow...this coming out of a politicians mouth...and we wonder why our country is so F&*((ed up...

He said: “To our detractors, gainsayers and critics I invite you to eat crow, to do so liberally and to choke on it."

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

PM do the smart thing and secretly help fund Bran's Green party. Comrades we have Minnis being the first red shirts leader commenting on the BTC shares, but just wait cause you knows the other red leader Loretta will be doing her own PR "leadership run" press release. Chairman Darron does likes do'in he own thing too. And, still three long years to go before PM Christie does rungs da mighty 2107 General Elections bell. God help my Red Comrades cause the mere thought of either one standing on the leadership deck come 2017, could possible be enough to make them surrender to become Bran DNA Greens.

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 5 months ago

My sanity is already shot Tal...and I just pray there is a viable alternative to the PLP in 2017, cause lord knows we can't handle anymore of the PLP of 2012...and I am not saying the alternative has to be solely the FNM either...but ANYTHING that is actually GOOD for the country...PLP and FNM right now are clearly HORRIBLE.

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JohnDoes 6 years, 5 months ago

Well I believe, all that time that they were in meetings they were really discussing how CWC were going to take over ZNS, and on the last day they were probably mitigating on how they were going to lie to the Bahamian people about the b.s of a 'face saving' deal that in turn got us no where as far as the promised 'majority ownership'. I mean it is obvious that the Bahamas is in debt of more than 3 billion and the government does not have enough money to invest in all of these Utility corporations that requires constant upgrades as time goes on. So the answer to all of this will be just as the FNM had envisioned: If we dont have enough money to keep these corporations up to par with the latest technologies of the world, we might as well hire a company that has the infrastructure, supplies, and the focus that all these companies desperately need. A smart business move but at the same time, one will ask, Well why didnt the FNM secure a 51% for the people/Bahamas and 49% for CWC from the get go. I presume the answer to that will be that CWC would not have taken on such an endeavor if they had not secured a majority percentage hence leaving BTC the way it was, and the government still not knowing what to do as well as not having the money to do it.

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 5 months ago

Why on earth would I buy a company for however many millions of dollars, agree to invest 100's of millions more into updating the company, when you are only going to give me a 49/51 split and you retain ownership and control...hell no. No self respecting business...or any business with their head screwed on right would sign up for that deal, especially with a poor run bloated and corrupt government enterprise that you are trying to change and make better.

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

Former Comrade Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham about to speak on the government's handling of the BTC 2% shares take-back.

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

BTC was bought for the same reason people buys crap stuff from Dollar Stores......cause it cheap.

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BahamianPrincess 6 years, 5 months ago

It boggles the mind that Hubert Minnis would make such a blatantly asinine statement, especially after his administration practically gave BTC away. One would think he would have found it prudent to run as far away from this topic as he could. Right now, his comments are nonsensical and quite contrived.

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 5 months ago

She'd fall into that category of D average the government seems so proud to maintain.

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GrassRoot 6 years, 5 months ago

Dear Dr. Minnis, do yourself a favor and send the newspaper a different picture of yours. Thank you very much. A concerned citizen.

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birdiestrachan 6 years, 5 months ago

Dr. Minnis should hang his head in shame because he voted to give BTC away. he must remember that the former Prime Minister knowing that he was giving away BTC voted against it until he caught himself.

Minnis was right there when they put in their clause the penalty of 40 to one hundred million if any Government dared to re open the bad deal they made. The PLP dared and they got back 2% they paid nothing. It does not get any better than that after all the FNM had given them a gift. Minnin was right there when his Leader said "Bahamians need not apply" Did Minnis open his mouth? NO.

As for CWC already making donations. They had no obligation and they could have stopped any time they wanted. Now they have an obligation . and we had two of the Bahamas finest sons working on this deal Mr Wilson and Mr.Mcsweeny.

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

I see something so different. Never again will voters ever dance to da reds General Elections beat. Comrades what a strong contrast between the delicate judgment by PM Christie in regaining the same BTC shares Hubert's regime basically sold-off to foreigners for a monetary song and dance price. Compare the steady head actions of the PM to those who wish to return Bahamaland back to the primitive economic out-of-paychecks leadership days of a Hubert lead into defeat red shirts regime. Comrades it maters not, if lead by Hubert or under the two opposite leadership philosophies of a "all song and dance" Minnis and Loretta, there will be no more dancing with da reds.

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banker 6 years, 5 months ago

Your delusions are convincing no one.

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

Comrade Banker don't be including me in with your own grandeur and unrealistic red shirts goals cause they're all based on delusions that somehow I am the only Bahamalander who wants you reds to stay far away from ever again cashing in on the powerful instruments of government.. Now, we is talk'in "majority" truth.

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Reality_Check 6 years, 5 months ago

This guy Minnis is nothing but a ranting raving lunatic with a short fuse. No matter what blunders the PLP may make, the FNM is going nowhere with Minnis at the helm and the party is making a classic political mistake in not appreciating the significance to which Minnis is an enormous drag on the party's objectives. Most people in the "minority community" know him well for exactly what he is!

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Emac 6 years, 5 months ago

This is 2014 for Christ’s sake! No matter how da cat jump, no government should be allowed to manage or have majority shares any communication, electrical or broadcasting companies. It is just too easy for politicians to abuse these companies by allowing their cronies, sweethearts and other family members, some who aren’t even qualified, to get jobs along with unearned perks in key positions. It’s been happening in the Bahamas for years. Time to stop this shit. Some of these politicians are no different that Papa Doc and Baby Doc, who have raped their country for years, leaving behind a destitute island that partially resembles a country. Shoots... If we don’t watch out we may be taking wooden vessels to some foreign land in search of a better life.

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

Roland (Pop) Symonette, Lynden Pindling, Hubert ingrahm and Perry Christie came out nowhere to the pinnacle of Bahamaland's power. I have no personal negatives to ever lodge against Dr. Hubert Minnis but I have seen little evidence he can become the fifth PM of Bahamaland,

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leeza 6 years, 5 months ago

You were vey disrespectful in that post, and no one called you out on that. People can only insult you when you allow them to don't give them that power.

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 5 months ago

Review please

HI sold BTC 51% shares for $200 million, 49% Govt. CWC got Board control and 3 yr monopoly.

Of the 49% - 9% was to be sold off to Bahamians

At the end of the 3 years - liberalization of the telecoms market

Where are we today? Perry hasnt sold off the 9% shares to Bahamians CWC still control the BTC Board CWC can wash its hands off corporate sponsorship commitments ..Its in da Trust Liberalization?????????? CWC .....................ZNS in sweet deal?

WHO WON??????????????????????????

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 5 months ago

Better ask the people in the poll who claim that CWC did NOT get the best deal!! LOL

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

These are simple teachings passed down to all of us from our parents and grandparents. The betrayal of one's own principles is the greatest unwritten sin. Comrades while we might not wish to be of like-mind politics let us never underestimate or disrespect the strengths of Bahamaland's most elevated sons, Symonette, Pindling, Ingraham and Christie.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 5 months ago

Ignoring the question of ethics, Christie is nowhere in the class of the other three men, he is NOT a leader. A friend put it all in perspective for me: he makes a piss poor prime minister, but would make an EXCELLENT Governor General, a purely ceremonial post full of pomp and pageantry.

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

Comrades ThisisOurs, if you can't draw on key ethical principles of a office holder of Bahamalander's highest elected office, then what? PM Christie's problem have little to nothing to do with pomp and pageantry.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 5 months ago

I excluded ethics because I would then disqualify Pindling hands down ....I was giving you that he was in fact a remarkable man who took a dark path. He could have been a great leader otherwise.

PGC doesn't have any problems to do with pomp and pageantry, I said he's very good at that kind of thing. If it were the sum total of his job, he'd get excellent marks.

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banker 6 years, 5 months ago

If Christie had key ethical principles, as leader, he would have mandated that Shame Gibson not run. He didn't. Christie is an ineffectual weakling and the puppet masters are Roberts and Wilson.

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John 6 years, 5 months ago

In Christie's favor, he did actively make attempts to place the majority shares back in the hands of the Bahamian people. In his favor too he realized that a significant amount of time had been spent on this matter and it was time to move on. While he did not come away with the additional two percent of the company, he did have something (a token of appreciation for the gift that was given to C&W) to show for the amount of time he spent negotiating this matter. If anyone is to be faulted is the former prime minister, Hubert Ingraham, who did not leave an avenue of exit should the government want to recind this contract with Cable and Wireless. In my opinion, the last person to speak criticism should be Hubert Minnis, who in the publics eye represents the man who did the deal.

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Ocaba 6 years, 5 months ago

No if he wanted Bahamians to have ownership he would have followed through with selling the 9% to actual Bahamians not spending time on a BS negotiation that netted "actual" people nothing.

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John 6 years, 5 months ago

IF you are following the scenario they say the nine percent would be sold after the negotiations for the 2 percent buy back are complete.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 5 months ago

For anyone who believes Perry Christie accomplished anything, CWC's press release:

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.

So exactly what did Perry Christie gain after 2yrs? How much did he pay Franklyn Wilson for a non-result

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 5 months ago

Actually depends on the roundabout...if you are coming from a dual lane onto another dual lane straight ahead both lanes can go straight through.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 5 months ago

I did not know that! (clearly I bought my licence) I always thought they literally merged left right left right...

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