A Cabinet minister yesterday moved a parliamentary motion to create a select committee that will probe the the Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s (BTC) 2011 privatisation. 

A Cabinet minister yesterday moved a parliamentary motion to create a select committee that will probe the the Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s (BTC) 2011 privatisation. 

Shane Gibson, minister of labour and national insurance, described the committee as “critical” to determining the financial merits of the deal that saw a 51 per cent majority BTC stake sold to Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC).

He highlighted BTC’s legacy pension plan deficit, noting that at the date of privatisation it had a surplus but, by the end of 2012, it was running a deficit of some $35 million.

Under the terms of the deal, the legacy pension plan was to be closed to new entrants, who would be placed into a new one sponsored by BTC. The Government was then supposed to take responsibility for ‘filling the hole’.

“The endowment was never made. BTC’s pension by the end of 2012 was running a deficit of some $35 million,” Mr Gibson said.

“That has now ballooned to just under $100 million. We have not taken into consideration the downsizing last year. They are now having a review done to see the impact on that $100 million, which means it was already a net giveaway of BTC.”    

The Ingraham administration sold a 51 per cent controlling interest in BTC for around $206 million. “After the FNM sold BTC, what we did get? That is what the committee will seek to find out,” said Mr Gibson.

    “Money in the bank grew from $44.4 million in 2001 to $135 million in 2007, and it was as high as $170 million in 2007.”

He added that CWC’s financials revealed it had met $63 million of ‘goodwill’ money in BTC’s bank account.

Free National Movement (FNM) leader, Dr Hubert Minnis, pushed back against suggestions that the Ingraham administration had undersold BTC.

“The profits that BTC made between 2001 and 2007 was only as a result of the right-sizing process that the FNM had commenced. Prior to that it was a negative value,” said Dr Minnis.

    FNM deputy leader and opposition finance spokesman, K Peter Turnquest, argued that the sale of BTC had been transparent and done for fair market value in light of two independent valuations.

Mr Turnquest described the motion for the establishment of a select committee as “clearly partisan, political and an abuse of power.”

He accused the Christie administration of seeking to wage a political war “on the people’s dime”, suggesting that the BTC deal probe was a merely a distraction.


Sickened 6 years, 2 months ago

Slap me stupid but I actually agree with Shame - there, I said it! My hope is that this is the beginning of constant investigations into previous government affairs. The PLP should do more of this so, when the FNM get back in power, they too will do lots of investigations into all the crime the PLP have and are currently committing against the people of The Bahamas.


justthefactsplease 6 years, 2 months ago

This is a total election gimmick. You had four and a half years if you were really serious. Unless someone is held accountable, arrested, charged, tried and sentenced to prison this will be nothing more than a colossal waste of time and energy. Do we get a select committee on BAMSI, Road Traffic, VAT money wastage, BOB et al too?


realfreethinker 6 years, 2 months ago

DISTRACTION If yall can't see this for what it is then you deserve the plp. four and a half f..k..g years and now you want talk about select committee. Perry go f@%K yourself and carry your band of merry men with you. The hand writing is on the wall for you corrupt piece of shit.


licks2 6 years, 2 months ago

This cannot help them. . .I did not say will not help them. . .I SAID CANNOT HELP THEM. . .the people have already "dashed" this crew against the stone so to speak. . .they are operating at a diminishing return!

One great writer said. . ." the earth cannot bear-up under a slave when he becomes a king"! Another said. . . " luxury is not fitting for a fool. . .much less for a slave to rule over princes"!

It appears that the PLP is made up of too many persons who have been "fast-tracked" out of the slave mentality into the seats of kings and queens. . .now we have leaders like Mr. Gibson et al acting like a pack of ignorant and corrupt school boys. . .


realfreethinker 6 years, 2 months ago

They aren't acting ignorant and corrupt. THEY ARE IGNORANT AND CORRUPT TO THE CORE.


MonkeeDoo 6 years, 2 months ago

We need a COMMISSION OF INQUIRY into everything that the PLP has touched in the last 4 1/2 years. Little wonder that Christie feels the PLP MUST BE RETURNED TO POWER. Too many of them will be jailed for corruption after such an inquiry.


truetruebahamian 6 years, 2 months ago

Agreed with all of the above - except for sickened's reponse!


asiseeit 6 years, 2 months ago

Smoke and mirrors and a complete waste of our borrowed money.


sheeprunner12 6 years, 2 months ago

Witch hunt to try and smear the FNM .......... rally up the PLP base to register & vote .......... but it will not save the PLP next year ........... the PLP will LOSE the next election by at least 12 seats


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