Cabinet rift developing over BTC fallout

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Cabinet Ministers are said to be pointing fingers over the BTC privatization . Shown here are Zhivargo Laing, Dion Foulkes, Hubert Ingraham and Brent Symonette. BTC chairman announced a successful court junction to stop the union from any further demonstration.

Nassau, Bahamas: Bahamas Press has learned that a Cabinet rift has developed after the actions by BTC on Monday! A source attending Tuesday’s meeting has confirmed that the call for leadership came by an independently speaking member of the Ingraham Cabinet who voiced ‘SERIOUS CONCERNS’ over the privatization matter.

The Cabinet member according to the source opposes the deal to privatize BTC and has voice his objection to the government’s sale of the profitable company. Bahamas Press has learned that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham lead the Cabinet meeting via teleconference on Tuesday, breaking off his annual vacation, as he sails on a Caribbean cruise. Bahamas Press can also confirm that the Prime Minister Ingraham will not break his vacation, but will return back to the country on Monday as planned.

On yesterday reporters learned that Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes, had not been included in any of the privatization talks and told reporters that he was, “caught by surprise” by the actions of BTC on Monday. Foulkes noted – as he laughed over the matter whilst talking to members of the press – that he thought his minister colleague Zhivargo Laing was dealing with the labour negotiations in reference to the privatization talks.

The statements by Foulkes is said to have sent uneasiness in the Cabinet room at Tuesday’s meeting where questions was posted to Laing over the matter. The informant also told Bahamas Press that the independent speaking minister told the Prime Minister that he knew this was coming, and that it will get worse before it gets any better. It was then, noted the source, that a shouting match began between the minister and the PM over those comments.

Robert Farquarson, president of the BCPOU told the press that the workers at BTC have withdrawn their cooperation with the board of BTC, and that union members will continue in their protest until the Union at BTC has representation around the privatization meetings.

Bahamas Press has also learned that the independently speaking minister also questioned the silence given by the Acting Prime Minister Brent Symonette. Symonette has yet to make a single statement over the situation at BTC, as he assume the commanding control of the country whilst the Prime Minister is on holiday.

Bahamas Press reported over the weekend that Prime Minister is plotting an election plan whilst on his Caribbean Cruise and it is believe that the axing of another minister is in the making.

Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest is at this hour addressing members of the Rotary Club of Nassau where it is said he has made a national statement.

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BTC workers on a slow protest ride on Grand Bahama yesterday.

53 COMMENTS

  1. The people of the Bahamas can make a statement to BTC “TODAY”.
    Boycott BTC and start using INDGO.

  2. Wutless…I am torn ….. BTC services are awful and we all suffer, but I still feel its only right that the employees are made aware of the future of the organization which they work for.

    I think its insulting to sell from under their feet the place where they work and not let them know what’s happening. PLUS remember many of them may be terminated from this act so they should be made to know so they can prepare themselves.

  3. i dont see nothing wrong with the rates at the airport… at least i know and understand what i paying for, we all should it posted at the airport

    bey i say these BTC people should all becut a week pay fa that garbage on Bay Street, when you look at iteen nuttin change in terms of service still was bottom of the bucket and i wouldnt talk about the cell phone service that they making a killin off !!!!

  4. lolllll, WOW…I concur…it was the Obeah ….. something went wrong. I think it was the constant interruptions.

  5. Don’t blame me, y’all let them swing you and now we all suffering. Drama King, it was the obeah. They use some bad mojo.

  6. Bolo you are right !! This is why I say we are under poor governance in this country and the leader is a dictator…no one can run the country in his absence?? This is crazy!!! What happened to the Minister of Labour?

    Why did we vote these people in again?? I have too many questions.

  7. Where the hell are the Senior Cabinet Ministers like Kenneth (the dummy) and others. Hiding behind a blocks and concrete. These “holes” are not Public Managers. The PM is screwed again. He is running all difficult public service office with his junior (Laing), who is being train.

  8. Media,

    I know the first Cabinet meeting will be a HOT one when HI returns naked from the mountains of Haiti. Firstly he will be pissed off that they interrupt his Obeah ceremony and secondly it will be lone cussing out etc about this BTC matter. I wish I could be a fly on the wall. Both Brent and Tommy belly ga break down.

  9. Y’all missing the point. All I am saying is that privatization does not guarantee good service, competition does.

  10. The trouble is with Bahamians yall don’t want to pay for nothing. How the hell you think the airport will make there money to provide you with a good experience. You don’t want parking rates to go up so that you can use a good toilet or get your bag on a good belt for once. You can get drop to the airport if you don’t want to pay for it. I travel through a new airport that you can check you bags before you go through us customs and can now check ya flight and get a good meal now. How much competition you want in this island with less than 250,000 people. All we want is good service.

  11. Hemibahamas, I’m no fool, I can check the postmark to see when a bill was mailed. And if it happened 1 month and was only my bill, I would fault the post office. But no, it was Cable Bahamas.

    I say again privatization does not equal good service, competition does. Sooner or later with no competition, them buggers will get comfortable.

    As for the LPIA, where do you deal with their employees face to face to say service better? Look at the parking lot, rates gone sky high. Why? Where else you can park? What other airport you will travel through? Weekends it book right out. I still have to wait for the attendant to bite her sandwich and swallow before I could pay.

  12. BP, I won’t lie, I have a million psort under this topic but I just read the story. LOL!

    I can see many more Cabinet meetings like this. There is something about this collection of Ministers that just ain’t right. They have no charisma or chemistry together.

  13. No union has the right to sit in on a negotiation when a business is being sold. There are things being discussed that is no way their business. Sorry but if you listen to some of these union leaders you know they are short of both pinache and brain cells. They could open their mouths and quash a deal in 2 seconds. Face facts. No government corporation has been run even moderately successfully. Ask yourself why? I have a dozen answers to that. If B.T/C. was a money maker it was only because they overcharged you and I. No to package deals!
    No to unions sitting in on these negotiations! Get rid of all workers who don’t have a clue as to what good service is.

  14. Boy i don’t know what service you gat from Cable Bahamas. Yeah i call tech support and they call you back if it in a minute or the next day. BTC don’t even answer the phone. Bill payment coming late is the postal service problem check ya billing date. Yes if they sell BTC it will open door for competition. It will not be the same equipment anything it will be a upgrade or more modernize equipment and highly trained people not people getting a job from their MP. Cal the Banks, Hotels, Schools, Churches, Businesses and ask them what internet service they using. Also the government ministries switching to Cable internet. I aint bias for Cable but they are way ahead of BTC. Privatization do equal better service, look at the Airport now run better because they aint putting up from rude employees.

  15. Look ,they all work for the company!! They dont have SHARES in the company so there is NO NEED FOR THEM TO BE AT THE TABLE!!!!!!!!
    THEY NEED TO GO TO WORK AND FIX MY DAMN PHONE!!

  16. I still say privatizing does not equal good service. Competition does. Cable Bahamas service has been deplorable over the last 5 years. Have you ever had a problem and called tech support? A couple of years they were top notch, now it takes days for them to call back. Recently, I had my cable cut off for lack of payment so i had to go without until the next day. Only problem was, I DID pay the bill. The next day I provided my receipts and they promised to conduct and investigation as to why the account had not been credited. The month after, they cut me off again. I called customer service she saw the note about the investigation but refused to turn it back on, another night without the cable service I PAID for. And I might mention even the current payments I was making were not being credited to the account as well. i am now forced to pay my bill, fax them a receipt, and hope my cable is on when I get home.

    I could run on about tech’s not showing up to scheduled apointments, bills coming 1 month late or not at all, fuzzy channels, etc. but I think you get the picture.

    Privatization does not equal good service. It will be the same equipment, 1/4 of the same staff, and the same prices that may even increase for family islanders who do not have the population numbers to make servicing them profitable. BTC needs competition.

  17. BTC needs to be privatized so that the innocent public and businesses that depend on good service will not be continue to be penalized by the lousy service provided by the BTC.

  18. Government is not selling BTC 100%. They are still going to be a major shareholder in that company when it get private. Just like the airport. They just will not be running it. Cable Bahamas service is above great not excellent.

  19. I just thought of something. After BTC is privatized, how much will the governments yearly expenditure be for telephone expenses? Will they negotiate a special rate for government accounts? I am sure that they will quickly spend the money they made before any new hospital is built with the money.

  20. I have no problem with cable service, I have a problem with MONOPOLIES and bad service. I am saying why sell BTC and still have a telecom monopoly. Cable Bahamas is privatly owned yet they provide AWFUL service. Competition will change the prices and level of service, not who owns the monopoly.

  21. Only company making money and losing alot also. BTC can make a whole lot more. No first world country government is in the business running a monopoly. That why the government is selling BTC. Yeah they making money but the service they giving is not first world for the money they are making. What ever you want to say about Cable Bahamas Bahamians and the Business community will not survive without Cable Service. You think that it is the passport office fault that you cant get a passport in less than 8 weeks. It BTC and they bad service man the passport office rely on them to be working so that they can issue e-passport. SELL THEM and maybe more investors will come here because we have a stable working telecommunication company.

  22. BTC is the only corporation making money. I say keep it unless you allow other companies to come in at the same time. If you are going to keep the monopoly, it might as well be government owned because a private owned monopoly would be no better, Cable Bahamas comes to mind.

  23. Wow when you talk about blackberry data service over there they give you a choice for unlimited service or you pay for megabytes you download.But the call minute is phone service not the internet service on the phone. That is where btc is killing us man. Data service is 56 dollars that is crazy on the phone. They might as well charge me for the download cause i don’t download nothing on my blackberry only read email without attachment. you have a point WOW you see the “COMPANIES” they have choices sell BTC man.

  24. I always hear people raving about how good the cell service is in the U.S. and I wonder what they talking about. Yes I may get more bars on my signal meter in most places, but there are still dropped calls, bad connections and expensive rates. Blackberry data service may actually be cheaper here, in the U.S. you are charged by the amount of megabytes you download so your bill can be quite expensive depending on you usage. Just watch the commercials on TV and you will see how the companies are rapping on each other so don’t go thinking that phone service is perfect over there.

  25. The union SHOULD NOT be at any negotiating table when it comes to change of OWNERSHIP. They don’t own the corporation and thus have no say in how the BTC is to be transferred. The Union can advocate to the Govt. but that’s it. When the NEW owners take over then they should be dealt with. Until then shut ya mouth and let what should of been done years ago be done. BTW, how you could be on protest using Govt. vehicles to drive the streets of Nassau. If you want to march, the MARCH. Don’t waste taxpayers money by driving veicles bought for the sole purpose of doing the corporations work. Stupid Bahamaians!!! Whatya expect from Third World fools?

  26. Drama king lol if they make us part of Florida we might be in a better state. Light on everyday, phone working, cell phone working, Good meat in the food stores,proper education system, Good roads, take some of these break down cars off the road.

  27. I don’t think the union need to be at the table as yet until the government find the company that it is going to sell BTC to. The hotel union aint sit at no table when government sell it’s hotels and i don’t mean the private resorts. This is not 1950 and to strike in these times boy. If Btc was giving the correct type of service then i would not have a problem with them. 3 months to get a home phone install jokers man.

  28. Media: You want to know how much BTC made in 2007 and the past? You never used to listen to Leon Williams hey? He could talk for days about how much money they made gross, net, etc. etc.

    I think that’s the main reason why Ingraham/Francis wanted to get rid of him. He was too transparent and always wanted to involve everyone (the unions & the Bahamian public) in everything the company was doing (including privatization).

    You know if he was still around that strike threat would have never gotten to the point it did. Anyway, this is what we wanted and so be it!

  29. When the PM comes thats when the heat turns up. HI aint God the only scary thing about him is that he works Obeah. He is a Toothless Lion. Dont never mess with the Union. The PM will reconcider for the mear fact that he want his party to win in 2012. If he dont then he is destroying the FNM record with the worst Governance in Bahamian History

  30. Cant help you with that Wutless….too young…..but I am thinking of the Parliamentarians, across the board, that we have and I would have to say NO. I dont think it would change their thinking.

  31. Someone tell me pls especially you old school Bahamians (pre 1970) when ya look back in Bahamian History at the Genaral Strike of the 1950’s – and the eventual effect it had on the country, do you think similar action (if this BTC strike turn into that) would bring about any type of CHANGE in the thinkn of our current parlimentarians?

  32. WOW, I am rolling over in laughter…..listen I beg to differ…I dont think they just check in their balls when they going to Cabinet meeting, I think their balls are confiscated whenever they win an election….HI automatically opens his crubbly little hands and expects them to desposit them there.

  33. GCF, your right. If the government is going to sell BTC, how can they have meetings with everyone except the people who are representing BTC employees?

    Plus, the packages that went out last time has no bearing at all on the present BTC employees. They should have sold it back in 2000 like they intended, but they didnt and now its coming back to bite them in the butt.

  34. GCF, the issue is not “packages”. It’s about the workers having a say in the negotiations. The absence of “packages” is just more reason for them to have a voice cause what other factor will be determining who will be let go. I sure glad I don’t work there.

  35. Reminds me of a funny story I once heard. An M.P. once told me that during the last FNM administration, ther ewas a bowl outside the Cabinet meeting room. All members, except Ingraham, were required to leave their balls there before entering. LOL.

  36. There are no BIG secrets at the BTC privatization table. The PM, in my opinion stated it LOUD and clear; …THERE WILL NOT BE ANY PACKAGE DEALS THIS TIME in Batelco!
    But no one had the ball to strike, whiles the PM was on the island.

    Therefore, when the CAT goes away, the RATS come out and play.?When the Cat returns, the rats will go back to eating their cheese, and suffer intellectual constipation

  37. By Drama King on Aug 13, 2008

    You are right….none of them are that bold. They probably were cussing him behind his back but they need to remember that he is in the mountains of Haiti in touch with original, raw Obeah, so he might have a crystal ball watching them as we speak.

    I never see nothing like this yet. When Pindling was PM and he leave the country he boys them keep the country in check. When Perry leave the country, he boys was trying to take over. But when Hubert leave the country, he boys does go into hiding, i mean they does turn of they celly an everyting. Lone busy signal. Lol

    I think HI have pictures of the Young Eunuchs in compromising positions because i have never seen such scary men in my life.

    We might as well start learning the US national anthem, because it aint long now until we Hubert and Brent makes us officially apart of Florida.

  38. By WOW! on Aug 13, 2008

    Altec, which one of them have the balls to make a decision without Hubert permission. You must want to go to a state funeral hey?
    Hey WOW! remember the PM named Brent, Laing, Tommy, Dion, and Carl the YOUNG TURKS? i think a name change is in order. How about the YOUNG EUNUCHS? Look like they lost their nuts since 1992 and cant find them.

  39. Guys I just find out where Brent was, working hard at selling out our rights and sovereignty. The U.S. now has the right to board and search any vessel flying a Bahamian flag ANYWHERE in the whole, wide world.

  40. You are right….none of them are that bold. They probably were cussing him behind his back but they need to remember that he is in the mountains of Haiti in touch with original, raw Obeah, so he might have a crystal ball watching them as we speak.

  41. Altec, which one of them have the balls to make a decision without Hubert permission. You must want to go to a state funeral hey?

  42. This whole mess is something else. I saw the BTC workers assembled at the BCPOU hall today. They were having a hot meeting. This is sad that all they want is to be included in talks of the sale of where they work. Its sad, but quite usual for the actions of a dictator – Hubert Ingraham.

  43. Well Altec your right in your comments but wrong in some others. Tommy for one has no say in the privatization talks. THE PM is. The PM is the Minister directly over looking the sale. So it would be wrong to say Tommy & Co. But Ingraham and Co. would be more appropriate.

    NOT a single word is known by the public as to HOW MUCH BTC made last year or years before. AND WHY WE ASK???? Nobody knows or we should say little is known. But Ingraham and Christie says its a burden and so we guess us islanders know no better and so said it is.

    But here is the million dollar question. WHY IS DION not in the talks? Is he not the Minister of LABOUR?

  44. One more point, I asked this in another post and i have to ask it again, who is advising Tommy, Lanig, Dion and Brent privately? Cause whoever they are, they have no understanding of timing and seizing an opportunity.

    This strke was a perfect time for one of them 4 to show some leadership. But what did they do:
    Dion: play crazy on tv and point the finger at Laing
    Laing: point the finger at a currently traveling PM
    Brent: pull of he magician’s hat and PUFF, disappeared in a ball of smoke
    Carl: he glad Hubert cussing out someone else for a change.

  45. GCF, i dont think your numbers are correct, but i do agree with the gist of your statement. BTC is making money hand over fist but what has to be mentioned is the fact that BTC also has one of the highest rates in the Caribbean.

    But back to the strike – whats so sad is that all the BTC Union want is to be at the table while privatization talks are going on. Thats all. They are not asking for nothing else. the government actions are suspicious. its obvious something fishy is going on that the gov dont want them to know about until the 11th hour.

    If Tommy and Co just agree to let the Union have a seat at the table, there would be no strike. The government was stalling the Union and made the error of setting up a defunct consultation group that included the Union, THAT NEVER MET nor was it going to. Thats a slap in the Union’s face. To go to that length to keep the Union out is a sign that the gov is up to something, and rightfully so, the Union call the gov out.

  46. Lets face facts:
    The “LOVE” of Money is the root of all evil. You show me evil, and I can trace it back to”..THE LOVE OF MONEY.”
    Lets just do a simple math:
    200,000 cell phone users average spending $10 per day = 2,000,000.00 per day.
    Those figures add up to 730,000,000.00 annually.
    For about SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR, only on cell phones revenues?
    I am surprise “BUSH” haven’t plan an invasion on BTC yet. Or maybe he did.

  47. At this hour BTC employees are assembled outside the headquarters on JFK drive. As the Union leaders are responding to the Court injunction by BTC board.

    Bahamas Press/Editor

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