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Out Of Order: Pm’S Office Blasts Jamaican Ceo On Btc Remarks

Balan Nair

Balan Nair

photo

Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

IN an extraordinary statement, the Office of the Prime Minister blasted the head of BTC’s parent company yesterday for “distasteful” and “insulting” comments mocking Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and criticising BTC.

The comments of Balan Nair, president of Liberty Latin America (LiLAC), were made during an internal staff meeting in Jamaica last week and were captured on videos that have since gone viral.

In the clips, Mr Nair says the difference between BTC and its Jamaican counterpart, Flow, was “night and day” . He also joked that Dr Minnis could not look LiLAC officials in the eye while calling for more Bahamians to be employed at the company.

BTC has seen its profit margins decline since Aliv emerged as a competitor in November 2016.

Yesterday, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, called Mr Nair’s comments “unacceptable and extraordinarily inappropriate”.

“I am deeply disappointed by the distasteful and insulting comments,” she said in a statement. “The comments contained in video clips making the rounds on social media represent a troubling mindset and extraordinarily poor judgment. Mr Nair insulted the prime minister, Bahamian workers and the Bahamian people. No matter one’s political affiliation, it’s incumbent upon all Bahamians and the opposition to be of one accord in rejecting Mr Nair’s insulting comments toward The Bahamas. While the government welcomes partnership with international investors, it is unapologetic and steadfast in its efforts to ensure that Bahamian workers are treated fairly and with dignity, whether at BTC or any other entity.

“At every opportunity, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis works to secure opportunities for Bahamians at all levels of employment as well as the good name of the Bahamas. The Bahamas is an exceptional destination for international parties and investors, who are welcomed to invest in our country, which continues to lead the region in a number of areas. International partners should work with goodwill in the ongoing development of the Bahamas and should not pander to various regional audiences.”

In one of the viral clips, Mr Nair said Jamaica is LiLAC’s best performing country.

“There is one downside,” he added. “Everywhere I go I tell everybody else, ‘but Jamaica can do it.’ So if you go to any of our other operations like Bahamas or somewhere else, they’re not going to like you very much. That’s the only downside because everybody is going, ‘what are they drinking in Jamaica that they can do all these things that nobody else can?’ We were just in the Bahamas on Monday and Tuesday too. It’s like a night and day difference.

“My biggest wish is one day they will say ‘we can be like Jamaica, we can do what they’ve done in this country’ and Gary (Sinclair, BTC’s CEO), that’s one of the reasons we asked Gary to take over a larger (role) and be personally in the Bahamas to help them make this transition because he’s done it here and he can do it there and when he does it there, this company will be an even bigger rocket ship because the people in the Bahamas is no different from people in Jamaica. It’s all about attitude. If you feel like you can win, you will win and that’s how the feeling is here.”

In another clip, Mr Nair referred to Dr Minnis when responding to an employee questioning when Jamaicans will be given more senior posts at the company. While laughing, he said: “It is so funny. I’ll tell you a story. Gary and I and a few others was meeting with the prime minister of the Bahamas on Monday and you can see him standing there and his crown jewel, BTC, is run by a Jamaican who’s sitting right across from him and he’s like, he brought up more than once, we need more Bahamians, and he’s not trying to make eye contact with Gary…”

BTC’s CEO Garfield Sinclair said in a statement yesterday that Mr Nair’s comments were taken out of context. However, he did not elaborate on what the proper context was.

“To be clear, no fire has been started,” Mr Sinclair noted. “The statements were taken out of context and do not convey the full essence of the message that was delivered. BTC maintains a good working relationship with the government of the Bahamas and will continue to work together to drive economic growth. Furthermore, Liberty Latin America is extremely supportive of BTC, values its employees, and remains committed to building a culture of high performance where colleagues are able to thrive and deliver moments that matter to our customers.”

BTC employees reacted bitterly to Mr Nair’s comments, according to Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union officials who said they have received non-stop calls from angry staff.

Dion Rolle, BCPOU president, called Mr Nair’s comments disgusting and insulting.

The Progressive Liberal Party also offered criticism, with chairman Fred Mitchell saying the comments were “derogatory and derisory of Bahamians and Bahamian work ethic as well as disrespectful in the extreme to the Bahamian prime minister”.

“The Liberty executive’s comments come against the backdrop of bad service by BTC, the unreliability of its platforms both telephonic and data, and the absence of any indication of forward planning and investment in the Bahamas,” Mr Mitchell said in a statement. “In fact, this executive has a nerve to make fun of Bahamians and the prime minister when their company, Liberty, seems only interested in extracting profits, dismissing employees, stripping the company of its assets and moving jobs overseas.

“Mr Liberty executive, the laugh and joke are on you. You simply run a company poorly and it has nothing to do with Bahamians and their productivity.”

The FNM, in a statement, did not address Mr Nair’s comments directly but attacked the PLP’s response.

“Let us be clear,” the party said, “the PLP is attempting to pull the wool over the country’s eyes once again with a fake show of nationalism. What they should instead be doing is using the coming weeks to personally apologise to us all for their five years of corruption, mismanagement and failure.

“First and foremost, we as a country and a party must again thank Prime Minister Minnis for always standing up for us and our jobs. During the campaign and throughout his time in office, he has always made it a top priority to provide good jobs and put Bahamians in leadership positions in all companies. Once again, he’s proved that he always walks the walk and talks the talk.”

Comments

sheeprunner12 3 months, 4 weeks ago

The joke is on HAI and the FNM .......... they sold BaTelCo for a bowl of porridge.......... and the underwater fibre optic cable as well.

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ohdrap4 3 months, 4 weeks ago

yes, I just bought an ALIV smart phone.

I went to BTC first, hoping to keep my current cell number.

The sales person was not interest, their stock was low, and walked away several times from me and I had to keep calling her.

As I gave up, another employee, shouted from the back:"Thank you for coming, hope to see you soon." I replied : You all are not interested in selling anything.

I went to ALIV, their phone was only about 25 dollars more than the equivalent at BTC, Since the sales person was busy, I was asked to take a seat and, while completing her task, she reassured me several times, "I'll be right with you". I bought the phone,

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The_Oracle 3 months, 4 weeks ago

The Truth can burn, especially if it has been ignored for decades. BTW, What Nair observed in the P.M.'s demeanor is often seen, and half our problem. We ignore all but those who tell us what we want to hear.

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Chucky 3 months, 4 weeks ago

One thing for sure is we don’t see a big demand for our labor around the region.

People from everywhere are here working, but when you travel to another country in our region and it’s extremely rare to find a Bahamian working there.

Whatever that means.

But more honestly, we know all but a very few in our nation are lazy and entitled.

We can deny this forever, but we are experiencing the results from this in all aspects of our lives. Nothing works well here, you get less than half of what you pay for, you can’t get anything fixed or built right. It’s really really frustrating.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Nair's remarks were rightfully aimed at Minnis and nobody else despite Minnis's efforts to cast Nair's net much wider in the hope of stoking some kind of nationalist wave of support which won't even amount to a ripple if anything at all.

Minnis knows there are no jobs anywhere (other than our civil workforce) for Bahamians who have gone through our failed E- public education system. And Nair knows Minnis is only rightfully reaping what has been produced from the seeds sown year after year by his own corrupt FNM government and all previous corrupt PLP and FNM governments alike.

Our arrogant, nasty and most incompetent PM will now do whatever he can to get both Sinclair and Nair terminated. The truth often hearts and try as he may, Minnis cannot deny the truth. LMAO

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concernedcitizen 3 months, 4 weeks ago

I know you don,t like Minnis , but that was not all Nair is saying . Lets be real in forty odd years of independence we can not even keep the frigging lights !!!!!!!.If the we did not have close proximity to the U S and beautiful beaches , none of which is our doing we would be starving . When we tried to build our own the hotels , Ammbassador beach etc , it was a frigging disaster .I once dated a teacher that came from Costa Rica and I asked her what was the difference btw kids in school here and Costa Rica .She said here they are ignorant , meaning poorly educated , and arrogant , thinking they are special .A bad combination .On one parent teacher day she was about to tell a parent about a kids bad behavior and a Bahamian teacher told her don, t the mother will attack you verbally and perhaps physically .

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John 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Obviously, you reflect exactly what you are saying about the Bahamian children. At your age you are still both ignorant and arrogant with your double, Bahamian hating, no despising, personality. Try sucking lemons.

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concernedcitizen 3 months, 4 weeks ago

You prove the Dunning Kruger effect w the majority of you post . Our nationalism gets in the way of critical thinking as our faux religious believes get in the way of personal responsibility . Your name calling raises no emotions in me at all but tells me all I need to know if I was ever in protracted negotiations w you .

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enough 3 months, 4 weeks ago

We need to stop this foolishness. The first question we should ask is is the statement true, I think we can all agree it is. It would be one thing if it was not true. We will never be better if we do not get our heads out of the sand, come to grips with the reality (not the la la land, false economy that we have been told for years) and fix what needs to be fixed in this country.

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joeblow 3 months, 4 weeks ago

... in this country what is more important that if the statement is true is if feelings were hurt or corns got mashed!

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TheMadHatter 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Press (1) for English. Press (2) for Creole. That's how BTC got to be #2. Did I say number 2? Oh, yeah, I did.

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JackArawak 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Minnis is an idiot and Batelco sucks......it's Wednesday

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concernedcitizen 3 months, 4 weeks ago

In forty six years we can,t even keep the lights on ,,PLP ,,FNM I don't care we cant even do something as simple as provide electricity from diesel generation .Damm we cant even try a murderer in 18 months and have to give them bail ..WE are regressing as a nation ,,If I here nation builder one more time I think I will scream

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banker 3 months, 4 weeks ago

BTC was not worth keeping in 2007 and it's not worth keeping now.

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 4 weeks ago

BTC couldn't make money when it had a monopoly why would anyone expect anything from that company of lazy amateurs???

As for Bahamian management look around. Management is not exactly a strength in our country. But what do we expect from a d average nation? Time for us to stop being offended, acknowledge our inabilities and do something about them.....

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geostorm 3 months, 4 weeks ago

As much as I disliked reading what was said about the BTC employees, I am afraid, if I were honest, I would have to agree with Mr. Nair's statement about them. He is not telling us something that we don't know already. How many times have some of us said the same about Bahamian workers in general. We give lack luster performance and customer service, have negative, entitled attitudes and just expect everything to be handed to us on a platter. What makes matters worse are the union leaders who continue to advocate for such poor performance.

If you want to see what Mr. Nair is talking about, just take a look at what has taken place over the past few months in this country with workers. Everyone's going on strike but yet the service and performance sucks; Water and Sewage, hotel workers, nurses, doctors, and the list goes on!

Don't get mad at Mr. Nair, let's fix our performance and attitudes, we are not the only place where people can do business. I can't blame the Prime Minister for wanting to put his workers first, but he has to first make sure that his workers are up to international standards.

We have to stop taking tea breaks as soon as we get to work, stop going on 2 hour lunch breaks, stop calling out sick to travel to Miami, stop giving attitude when we are asked a question or two. Customer service and pride in our work are key to a successful business; whether it is a government owned one or a private sector one.

Let's take what Mr. Nair said about BTC workers and use it as a catalyst to improve our overall productivity!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 4 weeks ago

The first order of business to right our own ship by improving productivity is to throw Minnis overboard.

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Fitmiss 3 months, 4 weeks ago

I wholeheartedly agree with your comments.

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yeahyasee 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Buddy there is a big difference walking into a BTC store and walking into an Aliv store....this is no hidden secret.

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 4 weeks ago

The PM goes internationally and calls the Bahamas corrupt. When BTC was to be sold the FNM Papa said no Bahamians need apply. he said they the Bahamians could not manage BTC. so he just gave it away to foreigners, for a very small price.

The FNM Government can not find Bahamian lawyers to work in the court system they have to employ lawyers from Africa. As I have said before. the doc has only to open his mouth and all with just a little common sense knows.

Mr Pindling

, Nor Mr; Christie never spoke ill of the Bahamas or its people But the FNM Government does, It has been documented.

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FreeportFreddy 3 months, 4 weeks ago

"Mr Pindling, Nor Mr; Christie never spoke ill of the Bahamas or its people"

NO - they just stole from them and made fools of them!

GROW UP!

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concernedcitizen 3 months, 4 weeks ago

@ Birdie FNM Papa made shares avaiuable in the port for Bahamians for as little as five hundred dollars , did you buy any ??He also made it so civil servants could buy shares in the port and have it deducted from their pay w no interest , did any of your civil servant friends get any ??

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TalRussell 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Comrade Sister Pakesia, whilst words BTC's Balan may be disrespectful and distasteful, but weren't they spoken intended a free Colony of Out Islands, so why rush call consequences for insulting Imperials but not for African monkey calling, yes, true.......

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 4 weeks ago

The FNM response to this matter is so poor. They attack the PLP and not Balan Nair, How dumb is that?

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TigerB 3 months, 4 weeks ago

When the smoke all clears the customer is king. IF he is not happy with a product he should move on from it. I fired BTC 3 years now... Aliv is the time. BTC is private, not like those days when it was bloated. Maybe that 2% percent that Perry got back can help out a bit.

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Baha10 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Send this Idiot back to Jamaica, along with the “fronted” Yello Gang, who have ruined the BTC Yellow Page business and are also Jamaican and were preferred over the BTC Employee Group due to insider kick backs!

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ohdrap4 3 months, 4 weeks ago

the yellow pages were ruined long before that, when thry put in the hands of a very very lazy bahamian with many letters behind her name. she got a golden parachute eventually.

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Shares in the Port??. eleven families own 40% all of the Bahamas Government own 40% and 30 thousand or more Bahamians own 20% ..

The FNM papa sold BTC just about gave it away. The owners have all of the documents They know who the FNM fellows. are

Should the FNM papa be proud??

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concernedcitizen 3 months, 4 weeks ago

And under the PLP Batelco was not compatible w any other networks while D Bartlett was using BTC buying power , our tax dollars , to wheel and deal and sell telecoms services to TCI etc ..Thank God Papa got 200 million for half a telephone company running on an outdated platform ..Who owned the port before ??could Birdie buy shares in Union dock or John Alfred dock ??

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John 3 months, 4 weeks ago

What Balan Nair needs to explain is why so many CEO's and other senior personnel have come and gone from BTC after it became Liberalised. BTC no longer has a soul or a personality. It is like a bus stop or train station, where you always meet a different set of people and hardly ever the same. The family spirit has been consumed and the working environment has become cold and harsh. There have been persons at BTC who have tried to revive and maintain the 'family' structure at BTC, which has paid dividends in the past. But they have been cut and shredded like kast week's newspaper and discarded at the earliest opportunity. And so what you see at the front desk in terms of service, attitude, performance and productivity is what has trickled down from the numerous CEO"s that headed the company in the past few years. A young boy once asked a vet what should he do to make his dog a better guard dog and more protective. The vet response, "make him feel that he is in control of the home and a part of the family. His natural instincts will tell him to guard what is his and to protect those who show him love and affection.' Some people teach a dog to be vicious and attack on command, but after that he doesn't give a shit about who he attacks because he only working for his reputationand a lil bit of food.

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concernedcitizen 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Ohh you mean like the warm fuzzy family feeling BEC gives you , and don,t give me nonsense about the contract the PLP signed w Powersecure messing it up .Powersecure was only involved for about four years and we have not been able to keep the lights on since the late 1970 ,s .If your nationalism makes it alright for you to accept mediocre ,, more power to you sitting sweating in the dark , I prefer to think critical and have options for my retirement of how and where I will live .

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