The Cloud of Secrecy in the MOU between the Ingraham Government and C&W EXPOSED!!!

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THE PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL PARTY
PLP GETS ITS HANDS ON THE M.O.U. IN DRAFT
18th January 2010

The Progressive Liberal Party has been supplied through an anonymous source the Memorandum of Understanding that the government signed with Cable and Wireless to sell Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd. (BTC).  While several paragraphs as missing from the copy supplied to the PLP and it is unsigned, the PLP believes that it represents what the government intends to do in the sale of BTC.  It confirms the view that the government is giving away BTC at a fire sale and in exchange has pledged Cable and Wireless to secrecy.

We are hereby making available to the press and the public copies of what we have and we demand that the government in the sunshine forthwith publish the entire Memorandum of Understanding and disclose fully all the terms of this secret sweetheart deal.

The PLP is concerned about a number of the provisions in the document.

1. The consideration of $210,000,000 is too little and is a fire sale price for our national asset.  The government has agreed to leave 15 million dollars sitting in the kitty for Cable and Wireless (1.2.1)

2. The voluntary reduction of the work force. By looking at these provisions, it is clear that the first order of Cable and Wireless once it buys the company will be to downsize the staff.  We do not think that the promise of the workforce reductions is voluntary; it is a euphemism for firing people.  The FNM government agrees by this MOU to allow Cable and Wireless to reduce the staff within one year which means that pressure will be put on staff to quit within 12 months.

3. Cable and Wireless came to the table when the MOU was signed in November without a business plan for BTC and they were to produce one by 7th January. Have they now done so and will the Government immediately make available the business plan?

4. There is to be a Share Agreement signed. Where is that Share Agreement and what are its terms?  Will the government immediately make available the full details?

5. The FNM government commits itself to protect a monopoly for Cable and Wireless and prevent any cellular licence from being issued for at least three years after the sale.  If the government violates this clause, the FNM government agrees to pay Cable and Wireless a penalty of $100,000,000 dollars (6.2.4)

7.4.4. The FNM Government agrees to allow Cable and Wireless to control the company BTC from Jamaica and to allow Cable and Wireless to charge fees to the Bahamian entity for services provided by its parent or affiliated companies.  This means that internal charges and expenses will be generated from outside the country and Bahamian consumers will have to pay the costs. (7.8.4)

7.9.1 The FNM government agrees to shut down the pension scheme now used by BTC and create a new one.  The government agrees to pay 39 million dollars to protect the pension fund and to pick up the costs of any future liabilities of that fund except for ten per cent which Cable and Wireless will pay.  But Cable and Wireless will be allowed by the FNM government to seek to persuade the employees who are in the pension scheme to transfer into the new contributory scheme. We believe that the employees will be pressured to join the new scheme which they will have to pay for, We are seriously concerned about this issue and it shows how much of a fire sale the $210,000,000 price is because the Bahamian people in reality will not be getting $210,000,000 but it will be minus 39 million (the minimum pension payment to be given by the government) and 15 million dollars less (the amount for exigencies to be left in the company by the government).

7.10.4 What is most egregious is the FNM government has apparently designed an agreement which will effectively prevent any Bahamian from seeking to buy the company.  There are provisions in the MOU which preclude Cable and Wireless from selling to any company or group that does not have market capitalization of at least $750,000,000.  This puts it out of the reach of any Bahamian company.

Now that the full treachery of the FNM on this bad sweetheart deal has been exposed, we call on the government to step back from the breach and withdraw from this bad sweetheart deal in the interests of the Bahamas.  We appeal to their last ounce of patriotism if there is any left in the FNM leadership.

The PLP warns Cable and Wireless: “buyer beware”.

We attach here to the Memorandum of Understanding.

  • It would really be wonderful to have a leader that believes in his people and their abilities, but instead we seem to have a leader that is always willing to cut us down and prepared to work against us. He seems to think we are not good enough or capable of anything. I hope this thing with cable and wireless is an eye opening experience for Bahamians. If our Prime Minister doesn’t have faith in us, why should we continue to trust him to lead us?

  • @Krossova

    In the past i’ve had my differences with some of your comments, but honestly i believe you are on to something. There is a place in time for politices and we may disagree on somethings or even fight over other hings but i beleive we as a people need to put aside the politics and just have an open and honest debate about the the direction our country is heading. The name calling and the insults doesnot work. I’ve been this route before when my company was purchase by another…We were told there would be no downsizing…….one year later that was not the case.

  • @ truth hurts, its more about providing service, not so much about competing with communications giants like an AT&T or Verizon.
    Cable and Wireless Communication (CWC) is certainly not in a position to compete with them.

    I wish to weigh in on this BTC, matter.
    having observed this whole scenario played out, from the Prime Minister’s announcement in early December, thereabout. I am left to conclude that my government, of whom I voted, in whom I put my TRUST, is found wanting.

    I call on my M P, Mr.Sidney Collie to hold a community Town Meeting in our constituency, Blue Hills.
    I urge him to seek the constituency’s position on this matter of national importance, so as to convey the people’s position when he speaks.

    That is all I wish to say on that at this time……
    I only wish to add, by putting Mr.Collie and my Party on notice. No consultation, don’t bother coming or if the Party get crafty in moving you, I’ll give to the new person what I had for you.

  • You know, up to this point I am still indifferent about the sale of BTC. I would support a viable Bahamian conglomerate.but my concern is would any Bahamian entity be able to compete with the AT&T’s, Verizon etc. What is the real $$$$$$$$$ capacity that it will take to keep pace with the Telecoms industry worldwide. We are talking about the National Telecommunication provider and thus we have to be able to provide technology at a pace to compete with countries not just individual companies.

    No one has proffered a feasible plan for us Bahamians to own and compete on a global scale. Can we really do it????????

    • Thats what we call roaming agreements. you should be able to take you BTC Cell phone to any country and be able to use……

  • kevin

    boy SIR LYNDEN O PINDLING IS TURNING IN HIS GRAVE NOW AS WE SPEAK TO SEE HOW HUBERT INGRAHAM HAS THE BAHAMAS,I NO HE NEVER WANTED IT TO BE THIS WAY

  • An interesting article called “European Privatization and its Effect on Financial
    Markets and the Economy from a Social
    Welfare Perspective”
    At this link: http://www.eurojournals.com/irjfe_28_06.pdf
    Thanks BP

  • The Opposition should ask both the government and the CEO of Cable and Wireless if they have directly, or indirectly, had any contact with anyone associated with the Chinese Government. If this deal goes through I think the Bahamian people need to be assured that BTC does not end up under the control of the Chinese government. Let’s wait and see what the PM has to say in the House to reassure Bahamians, of the transparency of this deal?

    • @Groupmouthwisdom, all it’s going to be are more smoke and mirros

  • By signing such an agreement the government has returned us to colonial rule. You can almost hear the shackles being prepared for the people. Next, if this goes through, you’ll hear the whip. Truly, this is an evil of the highest order.

  • Zen

    Does anyone know which members of parliament had the opportunity to see this? (not leaked original)

  • media

    BAHAMAS PRESS IS DEFINITELY THE BAHAMIAN WIKILEAKS!

    WE NEED CHANGE!

  • Good work BP. This draft MOU is further evidence of Ingraham’s disdain for Bahamaians. This is a giveaway to foreign interests yet again. Man this Prime Minister really treats us like crap. Mind you we let him get away with it. One thing we know is that Bahamians went into this marriage, the second time around, knowing how this man is so perhaps we might endure this mis-treatment.

    • media

      We told yinner years ago the man is a traitor and should be HOG TIED and PUBLICALLY WIPPED FOR TREASON!

      BP

  • This document PROVES that the government had NO INTENTION of selling BTC to BAHAMIANS.It also shows that C&W will have a 5 year period of monopoly and BTC’S employees only one year JOB SECURITY.From this agreement i KNOW that some person/s is about to get a HUGE KICK BACK (BRIBE) FROM C&W .

  • paradisefound Lol! Lol!!!

    you is something else Lol!!!

  • Hi Media, Great job once again and no doubt individuals will be reading the MOU in depth.

    Can you please fix your title with the misspelling of a word? It should be spelt “secrecy” and not “secreacy”

    Great scoop, no doubt the Toilet paper will be wetting there pants and will try to spin this in tomorrow’s editorial!!!!!!!!

  • This transaction is a total and absolute disgrace!!!!All those jobs, equipment, vehicles, properties, infrastructure etc… Sold for thirty pieces of silver!! SHAME on this FNM government for this disgraceful transaction.

    • media

      THEY HAVE NO DAMN SHAME! and the people who sit around the Cabinet table should equally share the blame!

      BP

  • gOVT IN THE SUNSHINE MY FOOT.Any MP who votes for this foolishness will surely face the wrath of the people during the next GE.A word to the wise is sufficient.Any PM who does not believe that his people are not worthy of attaining empowerment should be dumped by his party.So far and to their credit members of the governing party have voiced opposition which they should now encourage more of their members to do likewise.

  • If this is the mou , I agree with Andre this is indeed very sad , it now boggles my mind that any government will have even considered this crap of a deal , I’m not any type of big time business dealer or do I have a masters in Business , but with my knowledge of sense from nonsense this piece of crap should have been thrown back in the faces of those who put it together , for the love of God how in the hell could any cabinet and Prime minister of any country approve of this. Im dismayed beyond ,belief .

  • The MOU looks pretty reasonable, but the interpretation of the info is ridiculous! The damn memo states repeatedly that the separations would be voluntary, no one is being forced out. Every corporation that has affiliates or multiple operation sites charges allocations for services, so this is again not out of the ordinary. I’m still waiting to find out what is so bad about this deal. I mean I wish we could get more money too, but it doesn’t sound like any large telecom company was willing to pay what we think we are worth. Value of a company these days is generally 4 to 6 times EBITDA, but it also depends on what the forecast looks like. Since pricing keeps going down across all telecom markets, how does a company grow its profits? There’s already more cell phone lines than people.

    • media

      Deesha what you saw before BP exposed all this DUT? NUTTING! It is not reasonable!

      BP

      • BP, you da best! But seriously, most big businesses with a corporate office require its stores or divisions to pay an allocation for corporate services, so that ain’t no biggie. What’s most important to you? Keep it Bahamianized, I guess, regardless of prices, services and our future? Man, I think the right privatized leadership group could make it work, but the governments have wasted so much precious time. Now the damn company is losing its value quickly.

  • if this is indeed a part of the mou this is a sad day in the bahamas when we the people are reduced to second class citizens in our own bahama land.we the poeple must unite and make this government account to the people for this deal that does not benifit my children and the children of many bahamians for the future.god save the bahamas

    • At least we gon get iphone cheap!