FNM blames the state of the Country on the PLP?????

16
2745

PLP Gives The Bahamas the Blues

Thursday December 16th, 2010

PRESS STATEMENT: Despite promising hope and help, the PLP set the country back during their term in office from 2002 to 2007. In significant ways they proved as devastating as the worldwide economic downturn which hit The Bahamas beginning in 2008.

Instead of protecting our national interests, the PLP wrecked one public corporation, BEC, and connived to nearly destroy another, BTC.

Within a few short years, they took a profitable electricity company and ran it into the ground. BEC is now borrowing to pay its fuel bills because of their recklessness, poor management and disastrous decisions.

With BTC, the PLP was about to embark on a course of action which would have given the country, the Bahamian Blues by selling the telecommunications company to a dubious entity with unknown beneficiaries.

Now that their Bluewater misadventure is being exposed to the light of day, they are running around attempting to redirect the public’s attention from their near destruction of another Bahamian asset. Under the PLP, BTC would have been stripped of those assets and its future by the Bluewater scheme.

More than $120 million of BTC’s funds would have gone to the special hidden and smudgy interests involved in Bluewater. Under the FNM those funds will go to the Public Treasury for the benefit of the Bahamian people.

Not only was Bluewater going to be exempt from paying $7 million in stamp taxes, it was also not going to be properly regulated because the PLP did not put the legislation and regulatory framework in place to oversee a liberalized telecommunications sector. One can only imagine whose interests this would have served.

The same PLP which treated various state corporations like ZNS and Bahamasair with contempt, including continuing to owe them money, also nearly destroyed within a single disastrous term, state corporations that have served the Bahamian people for decades.

Thankfully, the FNM is turning not only lemons into lemonade. The Ingraham administration is also changing the tune set by the PLP from the Blues into rejoicing that The Bahamas is back on track. The country is becoming a whole new world from telecommunications to tourism to a modernizing government to social advancement and dramatically improved transportation networks.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Internal audit, former workers’ complaints, conflicts of interest cast phone privatization in a disastrous light

    by Eric Jackson

    An 11-page letter to President Moscoso from former employees of the state-owned INTEL phone company, control of which passed to the British-based Cable & Wireless in a 1997 privatization deal, details a train of abuses and seeks to set aside the concession contract. The workers’ complaint is well supported by an internal audit by the company’s Washington office. However, the odds of any action on the complaint are remote — it turns out that the current or former directors, officers and dignitaries of what is probably Panama’s most hated company include Economy and Finance Minister Norberto Delgado, Minister of the Presidency Ivonne Young, Vice-Minister of Economy and Finance Domingo Latorraca, Social Investment Fund chief Arnulfo Escalona and a number of other politically connected individuals.

    The privatization, of course, took place under Ernesto Pérez Balladares’s PRD administration, and PRD member Juan Ramón Porras, the last man to head INTEL, was paid a large bonus for his part in negotiating the phone company’s sale. But it seems that Cable & Wireless played both sides of the political street, winning the concession from a PRD government and then transferring the contract to a subsidiary whose board of directors is top-heavy with prominent Arnulfistas.

    In a bidding process with qualification prerequisites that excluded a number of companies that initially expressed interest, the contest eventually came down to US-based General Telephone (GT) against UK-based Cable & Wireless PLC (C&W). In the end, the bidding wasn’t even close: C&W offered $652 million, as against GT’s $420 million, for 49 percent of the shares and control of the utility. Most of the remaining shares, 49 percent, remained in the government’s hands, while two percent went to the former INTEL employees.

    The wide disparity was curious, and according to the former INTEL workers, it may have been because C&W was privy to information that GT was not. There were large sums of accounts receivable, for example. But more than anything else, GT had no way of knowing that C&W would be allowed to violate the contract immediately and egregiously.

    The concession contract provides that it isn’t transferrable. The day it was signed, C&W transferred its interests to an Algerian subsidiary, Cable & Wireless Panama Holding Limited, which had a stated capital of $500, and passed the non-transferrable operation and administration to Cable & Wireless Cala Management Services Limited, another Algerian company with a stated capital of £1 Sterling. These companies would not have been allowed to bid due to their lack of capitalization, and because the contract required that the bidders had to be registered in Panama, which these subsidiaries were and are not.

    Beyond those technicalities, however, Cable & Wireless has indulged in a string of abuses, some of them with complete impunity, others with relative wrist-slappings, that have allowed the company to profit from conduct that was later held improper. There were the efforts to pressure Internet users to switch to C&W, by charging those with dial-up modems to pay phone bills if using other service providers but providing the service for free if using C&W as an ISP. Then, once the company got a lot of customers in the Interior, C&W switched the deal to charge them long distance rates for their online time. There was the time C&W made it impossible for Sinfo.net users to exchange emails with those using Cable & Wireless Internet services. There were blocks against Panamanian Internet websites that didn’t use C&W’s servers. There were the exaggerated charges to connect, disconnect or move telephone lines from one office to another. There were the rate hikes that most of the nation’s business groups complained were ruinous.

    But according to an internal audit, conducted by the company’s Washington subsidiary after it found that KPMG’s local audits were inadequate, the abuses were much worse than the public ever knew. The Washington audit tells a tale of gross mismanagement, fraud and the cheating of contactors, a series of bad practices that raise strong suspicions that somebody has been skimming somewhere, or more likely, that a lot of people have been skimming in a lot of places. There were, for example, payments to do work that had already be done and paid for once. There were materials that were unaccounted for. There were all these political hacks in leading positions.

    The abuses went on thanks to “corporate secrecy” — including from the Panamanian people, who own 49 percent of the shares, and from the former INTEL workers, who own two percent more.

    The bottom line, however, is that even in INTEL’s darkest days, it brought in at least $150 million per year for the Panamanian public coffers. Now the government, which still owns nearly half of the company, gets just $30 million a year, the value of the INTEL workers’ shares is much deflated and the entire Panamanian nation is paying much more for phone service that is at most only marginally improved.

    And the Moscoso administration has too many of its bigwigs on the gravy train to consider doing anything to improve the situation.

    By the terms of its concession contract Cable & Wireless loses its exclusive right to provide fixed line phone service at the end of this year, but they’re resisting the onset of competition by stonewalling on negotiations to create a phone number system that includes new companies. And might you wonder why the government isn’t doing anything to remove the monopolistic obstruction?

    © 2002 by The Panama News
    All Rights Reserved
    For information or problems with this page contact:
    editor@ThePanamaNews.com

    http://www.thepanamanews.com/pn/v_08/issue_14/business_01.html

  2. SHARES in Cable & Wireless Communications fell almost 10 per cent yesterday after the telecommunications provider said dwindling tourist numbers in the Caribbean had hit pre-tax profits.

    Interim revenues were also lower than the city’s expectations and some analysts retained their “sell” recommendations for C&W Communications, which became an independent company in March following a demerger of Cable & Wireless.

    Tony Rice, C&W Communications chief executive, said the company’s full year expectations were unchanged, but that the outlook was mixed for its various divisions.

    “The market situation varies from region to region and our first half performance demonstrates the defensive and cash generative qualities of the group,” he said.

    Mr Rice said the Macao business had been boosted by a 20 per cent increase in visitors attracted by the casinos in the former Portuguese colony. Mr Rice said that there was not much respite for the economy in the Caribbean, C&W Communications’ biggest market. “We do not expect an economic recovery there during this fiscal year,” he said.

    The company’s newly-launched pay TV services in Panama and Monaco “complemented our other service offerings, although it is too early to expect much of a contribution this year”.

    For the six months to September 30, revenues increased from $1.13 billion to $1.16 billion, but pre-tax profits fell 4 per cent to $210 million.

    Earnings per share fell from 3.7 cents to 3.3 cents and the proposed dividend is 2.67 cents. C&W Communications confirmed its intention to hold the full year pay-out at 8 cents.

    C&W Communications operates consumer telecoms businesses in 38 countries. As well as operating data centres and hosting facilities, C&W Communications provides services to 8.3 million mobile, 600,000 broadband and 1.8 million fixed line customers.

    The company was created in March when Cable & Wireless demerged to create C&W Communications and C&W Worldwide, which services corporate and public sector customers rather than consumers.

    Some analysts were not impressed with the results, including Evolution, which retained its “sell” recommendation.

    “The Panamanian business was particularly disappointing, reporting a 4 per cent revenue miss and 7 per cent EBITDA miss,” it said. “Most damningly, C&W Communications generated just $16 million of cash flow in the period compared with our $59 million forecast.”

    Mark James, an analyst at Liberium, said the results “don’t make pretty reading” and added that the decline in figures from the Panama and Caribbean businesses was of concern.

    “We remain of the view that problems in these businesses are structural (ie: competition) and that those hoping for cyclical recovery will be disappointed,” he said.

    At C&W Communications’ annual meeting in July, the board received a rebuke from investors on executive pay.

    More than a fifth of votes went against the remuneration report, which included plans to raise the salary of chief executive Tony Rice by 17 per cent to $1.1 million (£726,000) in 2010-11.

    The vote revealed that a substantial minority of shareholders remained unhappy with the company’s remuneration practices. A controversial incentive plan paid out £32 million to senior managers of the combined business last year.

    Cable & Wireless Communications’ remuneration committee argued that the new package takes Mr Rice’s pay to a competitive market rate but the Association of British Insurers raised concerns over remuneration practices.

    On Thursday shares in C&W Communications fell 4.97p, or 9.2 per cent, to 49.08p.

    Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/Cable-and-Wireless-Communications-results-disappoint_8121749#ixzz18VwpGYAj

  3. The Most Hated Company
    Oct 18th, 2010 by Jaylar
    Share
    How Cable & Wireless became so despised it had to change its name to Lime

    Up until 1988 Jamaica had its own telephone company. The Jamaica Telephone Company, JTC, was a statutory body, and the only telecommunications company in Jamaica.

    It was a monopoly, it was state run, and the service was as any other governmental agency; however, the prices were excellent; a flat rate per month, and Kingston numbers were five digits; so one didn’t have to dial 92, one would simple go ahead and dial 37347.

    When Hurricane Gilbert hit, it took down the phone lines, and the vultures descended.

    Via the most corrupt slieght of hand, the Jamaican Telephone Company suddenly became a ‘public’ company offering shares. That British Cable & Wireless had invested xyz millions into getting telephone service back up seemed not to be noticable, although many people wondered who was paying for this.

    Suddenly, JTC became a public share offering company, and people bought shares. However, the vast bulk was purchased by C & W of England through a proxy. Within less than a year Jamaica lost its telephone company and a UK based one now controlled.

    Essential industries should never be controlled by foreigners. In many countries it is law, and those owned by foreigners are nationalised. Simply but, how could any rational being entrust an essential service to a foreign country?

    C & W, operating as Telecommunications of Jamaica, decided to wring as much money out of the public as it could. Suddenly, on an island slightly larger than Manhattan there were long distance calls from one Parish to another.

    Of course, the long distance call was expensive, but then costs went up across the board. Gone were the flat rates, gone were all the statutory protections. TOJ did what it pleased, when it pleased, how it pleased, and made mega-profits.

    TOJ wasn’t interested in the Internet. So Jamaica was left out of the world wide web. TOJ wasn’t interested in cell phones, so Jamaica, a ninety minute flight from Miami had no cell service.

    When cell service arrived it was; Pay $4000 for a cell phone. Pay $4000 to have it ‘activated’. Pay #4000 in advance for calls. When one had spent $3800 the cell phone ceased to operate, and another sum in advance needed to be paid.

    Cell service, however, was only extended to 5% of the island; in short, the same places that had landlines would have cell service, and the places that had no land line phone did not.

    By 1995 Cable & Wireless ceased to hide behind it’s mask of Telecommunications of Jamaica and came out of the closet. It now decided to offer a very expensive and limited Internet Service. To get customers it offered this service ‘free’ save one had to pay for the telephone time, as it was ‘dial-up’.

    The ‘free’ service went from April to November, then the charges came in.

    C & W claimed that a particular cable cost $22,000 US dollars, when it actually cost $2,000.

    A law was drafted, calling itself the ‘Telecommunications Act of 1994’. since its passage was considered a ‘done deal’. The Act gave C & W the rights to all forms of communication, including those not yet invented.

    Fortunately for Jamaica there were enough geeks to prevent its passage, the election of a more fey Minister and the end of C & W’s monopoly.

    In 2001 when Digicel arrived in Jamaica, everyone lined up for its cell service. They didn’t know what it was, how much it would cost but any company NOT C& W would get the customers. Digicel wound up with more than 3x the customers of C & W in less than a year and has continued to be the Market Leader.

    Between 2001 and 2010 C & W has declined to such extent, that outside of government offices and major businesses, few people use their services for landlines. Homeowners will use the Flow service, where they can get Internet, Cable and land line, (with free overseas calling). The only thing that stops Flow from completely taking over is the limitations on their coverage.

    Aware that people were calling C & W “Careless and Worthless” they sought to fool the public by a change of name to Lime. Some people call it ‘Lame’ others ‘Slime’ and they can’t even give their service away.

    Although up until 2008 they had offered a relatively cheap GPRS service, their innate stupidity and greed caused them to alter the offering so that it was dropped.

    C & W is the best example of how not to do business.

    Read more: http://www.bukisa.com/articles/376703_the-most-hated-company#ixzz18Vqrs7ak

  4. All I have to say is we Bahamians have a saying that applies to this ‘FNM communication’! ‘When ya dumb, ya dangerous’! This is just sad!

    P.S. We don’t want your ‘Lemonade or your LIME’!!

  5. Media, I was reading this waiting to see an asterisk or something and see you write something like, “this is just a joke to see if you were paying attention.” Boy Carl Bethel can’t be serious with this foolishness. The only people stupid enough to pay attention to rubbish like this are the people who support the FNM still after all this BS.

  6. These guys should be a shame of themselves, I cannot believe that they are governing this country and spouting stupidness like this, who is the government of the day?, the PLP, I know we got some ignorant Bahamian, who have to work everyday to put food on their table, but know one is this out of touch to believe these idiots trying to pass the buck, govern this country you inept fools, and stop being foolish, who’s idea is this anyway?, HAI and this team is out of touch.

  7. BP I HOPE YOU MADE THEM PAY YOU TO PUT THIS S.H.I.T ON YOUR BLOG; THAT’S ALL IT IS A PILE OF COW DUNG. THEY REALLY THINK THAT EVEN THE FEW FNMs WHO ARE LEFT WILL BELIEVE THIS SHIT?

  8. That is the most BULL-SHIT I have ever heard. We don’t care about them, we put you there to protect us. i am personally tired of the Government blaming the PLP. We put you there, don’t sell to C&W . It is not a good deal for the Country.
    I am dissapointed in PAPA. He has to give it up. He is obviously not the same PAPA.
    We don’t want to hear about the PLP. We want you to keep BTC for us. Don’t BULL-SHIT us. We are not all FNM fools, we might have supported you, but not your FOOLS.

  9. I am so sorry for this FNM Government. The Prime Minister and his demons are trying all they can to discredit the PLP. Isn’t that something. instead of them spreading the christmas joy, they are spitting out hate. SHAME ON YOU. Come on PAPA PLEASE WISH YOUR CHILDREN MERRY CHRISTMAS. YOU DID NOT GIVE US ANY BONUS OR INCREMENT, THE LEAST YOU COULD DO IS SAY HAPPY HOLIDAY AND STOP BLAMING THE PLP. TRUST ME, I AM A VERY YOUNG PERSON, AND I AM TIRED OF YOUR LIES UPON LIES UPON LIES. MAYBE YOU ARE OLD AND TIRED, SO REST YOUR BODY. OKAY. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

    • Man sorry in their release they say the PLP gave the country the Blues, but the fact is they are the ones in POWER! THEY DUMB EH?

      bp

  10. The FNM has concluded that we are stupid!! Their Chief Defender : The Tribune also looks down on Bahamaians. Perhaps we deserve that label because we returned Ingraham to office. Christie and James Smith left a booming economy. Now look at what we are stuck with. People do not only fear crime..they fear Ingraham and he revels in it.

    Only Christ could help us remove this elected dictator.

  11. Three and a half years into their term and the FNM is still blaming the PLP for our country’s current woes. Will the nonsense ever stop? Someone needs to let their PR team know that they are current government.

Comments are closed.