PHILIP BRAVE DAVIS, MP
9th December, 2010
GUESS WHO’S COLLECTING THE FINDER’S FEE IN THE BTC SALE?
PRESS STATEMENT: I find it indeed incredible to see members of the Free National Movement engage in the political masquerading with deflections of the facts on BTC at a time when the future of workers all across this country hang in the balance.
Firstly, it should be made clear that my colleagues and I did not initiate the meeting between Cable and Wireless representatives Sharon Brown and David Shaw.
At the outset of the meeting on Wednesday, I declared my interest as the former legal representative for Blue Water, a group with considerable expertise and access to cutting edge technology in the global telecommunications sector, who had placed a bid for the Corporation’s 49% minority stake under the former Christie Government.
That aside, it was clear from our meeting that the representatives of Cable and Wireless were unable to share with our delegation any details of the “secret deal” and have failed to explain the Memorandum of Understanding.
Cable and Wireless representatives were unable to explain the role The Bahamas will play in its overall Caribbean network or give direction as to how hundreds of employees at BTC will be impacted. They called the meeting , yet they had no answers!
My colleagues and I find it very strange that the Prime Minister of the Bahamas speaks of being open on matters of national concern, but yet practices high-level corporate secrecy, and lacks the needed transparency and openness in the sale of this most valuable public asset.
The Ingraham Government has yet to provide a list of bidders for the purchase of the profitable asset and their bids nor could they explain how they came to the conclusions how some 30% of the Bahamian workforce at BTC will be made jobless. When we sat with Cable and Wireless yesterday, they explained they had not completed plans for staff.
No one has spoken to the tens of Millions in liabilities of the BTC pension fund and how this sale will affect the hardworking staff members who have given so many years of services to our country through BTC. They expect to receive their pensions and should not be held responsible for the shortfall caused by the Prime Minister’s reckless first attempt to privatize the corporation almost 10 years ago.
This Government has yet to tell us how a former executive of Cable and Wireless who now heads URCA will regulate their operations in the Bahamas in the interest of the Bahamian consumer and not Cable and Wireless. It is clear that the Bahamian people and the workers at BTC are the ones who have been dealt a deadly blow
Plans by the FNM Government to sell 51% majority control of BTC is a bad deal, and to sell the public asset far below its market value is indeed reckless to say the least and cannot be justified as being in the public interest.
The Ingraham Government should know that as the Government of the Bahamas that they have a sacred duty to look after the well being of Bahamians – the protection of jobs should be priority one.
Unlike the PLP, The FNM government continues to be led down a blind path by abdicating this responsibility and appears hell-bent on signing a deal with Cable and Wireless knowing that much needed jobs will be lost. In fact, they have made it their mantra to fire workers, in this second term in office as done recently at The Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas and in the Police, Immigration and Customs departments.
Additionally, rather than focusing their energies on the PLP and myself, the Government should confirm or deny if there is a finder’s fee being collected in the sale of BTC. Who is the person collecting that fee, and what is the percentage being collected on the sale? The government should also come clean and state, whether a member of the board at BTC is indeed the beneficiary.
My colleagues and I find it shocking to see the FNM machine focus on us while they avoid explaining the facts to the Bahamian people. Our people deserve better!