Gibson: FNM repeatedly shows its lack of faith in Bahamians

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Sen. Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson.

Madame President, at this stage in our country’s development most people will agree that there is no issue more important than law and order. The law is the foundation of any society and especially democracy. Few people will deny that we are experiencing a complete breakdown of law and order in The Bahamas. People who have broken into the seat of justice, the Supreme Court, have not yet been tried.

People who have threatened police officers and killed witnesses have not yet been brought to justice. 35 murders this year. We’re on track for the 3rd consecutive record level of murders. There were 16 murders in March! 16 murders in 31 days. Crime is out of control.

All, clear evidence of chaos.

A complete breakdown of law and order.

In our democracy, Bahamians expected to be extensively consulted on the matter of the sale of the majority (51%) of BTC. In The Bahamas, an archipelago, communication is an essential service. There is nowhere in the FNM Manifesto of 2007 any indication of the intention to sell 51% of BTC.

The FNM in failing to consult on such a critical matter is violating the natural law and custom upon which democracy is founded. Our wise citizens are concerned about the government’s disrespect for natural law and custom.

Bahamians know that when governments break natural law and custom, law abiding citizens have a moral imperative to object i.e. a moral imperative to civil disobedience.

Many wise Bahamians participated in a lawful demonstration against the sale of BTC. In that same week, Bahamians who surfed the internet would have seen over 500,000 people in the UK demonstrating against what they saw as unjust and unethical decisions of their government. Bahamians have compared the response of The Bahamas government with the UK government. In The Bahamas, MPs were threatened by the government that if they voted against the sale of BTC an election would be called. Lawful demonstrators had their wages docked. There were no such threats in the UK. The threats of FNM government were so serious that MP Branville McCartney resigned from the FNM (to which he had belonged for longer than Hubert Ingraham had been a member of the FNM) because of this “personal convictions” and had the courage to vote against this transaction that stinks. Bahamians saw URCA (headed by a former Cable and Wireless employee), try to close down a radio station in a democracy! Some Bahamians wondered whether The Bahamas was on the verge of a dictatorship.

Our young people would have seen raw power in action. If people don’t agree with you, take the law in your own hands. Mash them up. Bahamians said no wonder there is so much lawlessness. Bahamians asked, “when the government acts like this, what can we expect of our young people?”

Bahamians get it. The deal does not pass the smell test. It stinks. That is why the government is so desperate.

This is why I begin my debate with deep regret, but not surprise, that the FNM in the House of Assembly disrespected the Senate and our Constitution when it expressed the view that this debate in the Senate is a “waste of time”; that the sale of BTC “is a done deal”.  Many Bahamians feel that it was really a “done deal” before the debate in House of Assembly began. Some people pointed out to me that when the words “I need the money” were uttered, on the Internet our wise minds asked, “which set of money?” and “money from whom?” The FNM’s lack of respect, contempt for and arrogance towards Bahamians and Bahamian institutions is no longer surprising to Bahamians. Although the FNM inked a deal that has an April 4th deadline, the fact remains that this “sweetheart give away deal” that takes care of FNM special interests requires the consent of the House of Assembly and the Senate.  The Senate must pass the Bills and the Resolution. It is not too late for the FNM Senators in here to find their courage and do the right thing. It was really pathetic to hear the proposer of the Motion, Dion Foulkes, spend only 9 minutes of his hour long speech talking about Cable and Wireless. It is laughable to see MPs and Senators who should know better spend most of their talking about a matter that has been dead for almost 4 years. Bluewater was a proposal for the sale of 49% of the shares in BTC. Cable and Wireless is a sale of the majority of the shares in BTC – 51%. That is a fundamental difference that the FNM cannot answer.

The FNM is nothing but a faker who swung the Bahamian people. Can you imagine saving up to take your family to the AA Arena to watch the Heat play the Lakers. You have tickets almost on the floor. You’ve bought your snacks and you’re ready to watch THE game.  No teams come out. The promoter comes out. You’re waiting to hear about the Heat vs Lakers. But he tells you about a game between the Pistons and the Bulls that was to have been played but never happened 4 years ago! That promoter would be a faker who swung you. You would be very angry. The FNMs in Parliament are fakers. The FNM fakers in government swung Bahamians. That is why Bahamians are angry about this deal. It stinks.

The FNM is showcased as fakers by their innuendo campaign against the PLP. The PLPs that they are spreading rumours about own no shares nor any interest in Bluewater. None. As others and I have said before, and I say today in front of the Attorney General, who has a constitutional responsibility to investigate possible crimes, if you have any facts whatsoever to support your innuendo and rumours, give that information to the police. Stop faking. Stop hiding in the halls of Parliament. Make your statements outside where you can face the people that you accuse. Man to man.

The PLP’s position that Bahamians have a right to 21st century communications. That is why in 2002, when we found BTC was not in the position that was worthy of the fine Bahamians that led BTC and by their admission not giving Bahamians the 21st century service that they deserved, we working with that Bahamian management team, immediately set about changing things. Just as a reminder, the management team felt that the condition of BTC, was not far from the abysmal condition in which we found the docks and the airport (especially the runway and the tower). Our successes were all detailed by Senator Fitzgerald and are an appendix to my speech.

When the PLP became the Government in 2002 the cost of International Long Distance Calls was $1.09 per minute. When the FNM came back to office in 2007 they met International Long Distance calls reduced by 70% and Domestic Long Distance calls reduced by 55%.

Now all of a sudden the FNM is talking about wanting to sell BTC because Cellular Rates will go down?

When we were in office and we thought the rates were too high, BTC reduced them. We did not wait for someone foreign to come and reduce rates. BTC has asked URCA for permission to reduce rates. URCA said “no”. Why? Bahamians, don’t you smell the rat? It stinks.

BTC is a proud Bahamian company, built by Bahamians – from a government department to a world class company that Cable and Wireless is salivating to purchase. The names Robert Bartlett, Aubrey Curling, Errol Leach, Vernice Moultrie Cooper, A. B. Johnson, Michael Symonette, Leon Williams and Tellis Symonette, should be forever etched in the annals of history. These and many other BAHAMIANS built BTC into the company that it is today.

We never for one minute, no for not a nanosecond, considered selling the majority of shares (51%) in BTC to a foreign company.

But therein lays the difference between the FNM and the PLP. The PLP stands for Bahamians. The FNM does not. Ask all the Bahamian road contractors who were shut out to an Argentinean company. Ask all the business people on Market St., Blue Hill Road and Prince Charles Drive. Ask the more than 300 Bahamians who signed the Petition against the Bell Island dredging in Exuma. Ask the more than 1,000 lawyers who were not offered the post of DPP on the same terms as the foreign DPP. Ask the unemployed engineers who were shut out of the Ministry of Works in favour of a foreign Director of Works.

Cable and Wireless accepted 49% of the shares in the Trinidad telecoms company. Cable and Wireless  struck a 51% sweetheart giveaway deal in The Bahamas.

Cable and Wireless is laughing all the way to the bank.

FNM special interests have a sweetheart give away deal.

I want to remind the FNM Senators here that we are not a British Colony. We are an independent country. We have been managing our own affairs since 1964. Bahamians built BTC into what it is today. A plum that Cable and Wireless snuck in through the back door to buy in this sweetheart give away deal.

Their decision to sell to C & W makes no sense given C & W’s history and reputation.

As Branville McCartney pointed out, the Prime Minister said that he would “never ever sell BTC to Cable and Wireless”.

Bahamians will not have ownership and control of the majority of BTC.

The agreement calls for the sale of the majority of shares (51%) in BTC to a foreign company.

The agreement also calls for BTC to have a not less than a 9 member Board, for CWC Bahamas (the new company incorporated for this transaction with no previous experience in anything) to control the Board by having 5 members of the 9 member Board, AND for CWC Bahamas to appoint the Chairman of the Board of Directors. So, CWC Bahamas owns and controls the majority of the shares and controls the Board of Directors of BTC.

We should note that CWC is a newly formed company. Apparently, it was formed especially for this deal. The payment of the money is being guaranteed by Communications and the performance of the promises is being guaranteed by West Indies.

Let’s look at Cable and Wireless.

Here are the words of Grahame Lynch.  Grahame Lynch is the global editorial director of Advanstar Telecom Group

The world’s worst phone company

by Graham Lynch*, 15 April 2001

“It is praised by financial analysts for its remarkable re-invention. It praises itself for what it claims is the world’s most technically capable IP network. But it still makes too much of its money via neo-colonialist monopoly arrangements in third-world countries.

The company is Cable & Wireless. And despite the rave reviews, it remains a company that makes money in odious ways.

Cable & Wireless has a proud beginning, building the first submarine cables in the 19th century. Not long after, it spread out, taking advantage of the economic reach of the British Empire to secure itself telephony franchises in the Caribbean, Central America, the Pacific Ocean and British Far East Asia.

Of course, these days Cable & Wireless gets most attention for its expansive IP network rollout, reaching some 84 cities across the world with OC-192 connectivity.

But this IP-centric business focus isn’t yet profitable. Indeed, as a business unit, it lost some 216 million pounds (US$317M) in the last financial year.

Where does Cable & Wireless make its real money? Jamaica. Ascension Island. Panama. The Falkland Islands. Diego Garcia. And lots of other places that are a) small, b) poor and c) suffer the misfortune to be ex-British colonies.

Together, Cable & Wireless’ island monopolies are home to only a few million people with limited incomes. But Cable & Wireless certainly extracts its pound of flesh.

Indeed, Cable & Wireless made some 203 million pounds (US$298M) in pure profit from its “regional businesses” last year, along with another 71 million pounds (US$104M) in Australia and 282 million pounds (US$414M) from “discontinued operations,” mainly Hongkong Telecom.

For many years, Cable & Wireless made most of its profits from Hong Kong. And although the British finally handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, Hong Kong taxpayers were then forced to cough up billions to “compensate” Cable & Wireless for the early termination of the monopoly license granted by the British administration in the mid-1980s.

And what a monopoly it was. Cable & Wireless took advantage of Hong Kong’s small borders to charge full IDD rates for calls travelling as few as 15 miles to neighboring cities in China and the adjoining enclave of Macau, where the local telephone company was also owned by Cable & Wireless. At one point, Hongkong Telecom was returning almost half its sales in profits!

But while the Hong Kong cash cow has been consigned to history, the cash cow of a whole bunch of former British Empire island nations continues on. A quick perusal of the ITU’s list of international settlement charges shows that the most expensive in the world are almost always levied by a Cable & Wireless property on some island nation. What’s more, these countries are being left behind by Cable & Wireless’ monopoly rents and refusal to invest profits back into their infrastructure.

Just last month, five of them in the East Caribbean got together and said enough is enough. High phone charges and under-investment were leaving them marginalized from the world economy. So they forced Cable & Wireless to step aside and face liberalization. Cable & Wireless was petulant in negotiations, threatening to disrupt telephone service without an orderly transition. After it agreed to the liberalizations, it spitefully laid off hundreds of local workers.

What is most offensive about this odious company is the way it used the monopoly rents of small, poor island nations to subsidize its loss-making fiber networks in rich European and American countries. Its grand new IP network doesn’t extend out to these places — when it’s clear those economies would benefit from being connected to the world’s broadband network.

Off course, not all of the profit makes its way back into first-world IP investment. Some 138 million pounds (US$198M) of it was given back to Cable & Wireless’ British and American shareholders in dividends last year.

The East Caribbean actions of last month should empower other countries to end C&W’s monopoly deals. Good riddance to the world’s worst telephone company”

You may think that Cable and Wireless has changed. Well, google Cable and Wireless.  You will see that it is losing money and that its share price has continually dropped. Many economists question whether Cable and Wireless is sound financially.

Cable and Wireless Caribbean (“LIME”), has been unable to make a profit in Jamaica in 3 years. Over the last three years losses of J$3 Billion  avg. 2009 Losses of J$3.4 Billion. Will a company that’s losing money be able to meet its financial obligation re. BTC?

LIME has been unable to have a Jamaican run its operations. “Executive Musical Chairs.” Jamaica lost 25 Senior Managers in the last three years and at least 6 CEOs since 2003.

Cable and Wireless does not like competition. You will see story after story of it thriving in a monopolistic environment by failing when faced with competition. It could not compete in the US in the early 2000s and sold out. Digicel (a previously unknown company) is outstripping Cable in Wireless all over the Caribbean. Digicel has 3 times more customers than Cable and Wireless. When faced with competition, Cable and Wireless tires to squash it. Cable and Wireless does not like competition. Ask Digicel about the restraint of trade and other matters that it constantly has to fight with Cable and Wireless.

Cable and Wireless is a union busting company.

Industrial problems in Jamaica, and Barbados.

Lime workers restive

Approximately eight hundred management and non management workers at telecommunications giant-Lime are reportedly restive.

The workers represented by the University and Allied Workers Union, the JTC Executive and Allied Staff, and the National Workers union, have written to the Ministry of Labour over what they say are union busting tactics being imposed by the company.

In its letter yesterday the Unions complained that the company issued emails to the workers asking them to agree to changes to their collective labour agreements.

Calling this a blatant display of union busting by the company, the unions have indicated that their members are seriously incensed and therefore cannot guarantee normality in the company if the behavior is not curtailed. In a joint statement the unions appealed to the Labour Ministry to convene a meeting between the parties in order to resolve the impasse.

© Copyright., Jamaica Gleaner All Rights Reserved
http://go-jamaica.com/news/read_article.php?id=26412

The government has already agreed with Cable and Wireless that it can “right size BTC”. The contract says that the voluntary separation package has been delivered to the government. Bahamians will lose their jobs. Ask the policemen who were told to leave in 48h after 30 years about voluntary separation. Bahamians WILL lose their jobs.

Look at Cable and Wireless’ history in the region.

  • Cable and Wireless in 1998 had 4,052 employees in Jamaica
  • Today Cable & wireless has 1,400 employees in its largest market, Jamaica.

In the 13 Caribbean where Cable and Wireless does business, the total number of employees is down to 2,800 in the entire Caribbean. I’m told that’s about the size of BTC.

And Cable and Wireless has made it clear that it will not continue the non contributory pension plan. The government must set up a feeder trust into which will be paid $39 Million. Apparently, your tax dollars are going into a feeder trust because questions about missing money in the pension fund have not been answered.

There will no longer be a non contributory pension plan.

Their decision to sell 51% makes no sense given what that means for security.

The FNM in the other place and in this place have argued that they have been given a mandate to govern.  Did any voter see in the FNM’s Manifesto of 2007 any indication that the FNM would sell the majority of BTC? The FNM has, without returning to the Bahamian people, decided to sell the majority of shares in BTC to CWC Bahamas Holdings Limited (CWC), a newly formed company, with no track history in the communications business.  The payment of the purchase price is to be guaranteed by Cable and Wireless Communications PLC. Performance of the promises made by Cable and Wireless is guaranteed by Cable and Wireless (West Indies) Limited. In certain circumstances both guarantors can be replaced. There may be circumstances where Bahamians will be doing business with another entity (not Cable and Wireless) whether we like it or not.

Madame President, on 25th August, 2009 Prime Minister Barrow of Belize made following remarks in his Parliament:

“Think on it Mr. Speaker.  Telecommunications uses the airwaves as its medium.  But these airwaves constitute a God-given natural resource of Belize, just like our sun, our sea, our rivers, our forests.  These things together help to make up the patrimony of the Belizean people and the exploitation of that patrimony must always be consistent with the interests of Belizeans.”

Many Bahamians join me in a loud “Amen” and say that the same principles apply to The Bahamas and any other country. Bahamians know that in any country but especially in an archipelago, communications is vital to national security. Gone are the days when Bahamians would accept Mr. Scavella in Pirate’s Well, Mayaguana not having the same access to services as Mrs. Smith in Freeport or Nassau.  A company where the majority of the shares are owned by Bahamians and the Board is controlled by Bahamians is much more likely to be concerned about providing services to far flung communities than is a foreign majority owned and controlled company. Cable Bahamas is the perfect example of this. There too a group 100% owned by Bahamians was turned down by this government. The non Bahamian group promised to have cable and internet access in every Island in The Bahamas. That promise is yet to be fulfilled almost 20 years later. Why not? Because this government told them that it was ok to break their promise to Mrs. Rolle in Spring Point, Acklins, when they pointed out that to keep their promise is economically not feasible.  I hope that we are not here in 10 or 20 years waiting for the Cable and Wireless’ promises to be fulfilled all over The Bahamas. This is why thousands of Bahamians have been demonstrating and speaking and writing against the transfer of BTC. Bahamians exercised their lawful right to demonstrate. The FNM called people engaged in lawful demonstration criminals. That stinks.

Their decision to sell at fire sale price makes no sense. Privatization as planned by the FNM is not in the national interest.

Fire-sale price: sold for less than what BTC assets are worth.

The contract has over 9 pages the list of assets to be sold. [See schedules 2-4 of the Share purchase Agreement]

The experts say that BTC is being sold at a fire sale price. They say that the land and the hardware, including cable network and its potential markets alone are worth more than $210 Million.

The valuation means that BTC is selling at an estimated $1.65 per share and Commonwealth Brewery is selling at $8.33 per share. Can someone please explain?

Cable and Wireless is laughing all the way to the bank.

FNM special interests have a sweetheart give away deal.

Bahamians smell a rat. This deal stinks.

I shall read a post from Facebook issued by THE COMMITTEE TO SAVE BTC FOR BAHAMIANS

PRESS STATEMENT
March 24, 2011
The Committee to Save BTC for Bahamians does not recognize the sale of BTC to Cable & Wireless (LIME) on MORAL GROUNDS; in that the Government has no moral standing to dispose of a National State Asset like BTC to a foreign entity in a way that divides the people along party lines; and in a way where conflicts of interests and the appearance of wrong doing appear on the face of the record.

Justice demands that there is sufficient opposition and legitimate questions on the sale of BTC to CWC to call for a Referendum on the issue, or an early election and a SPECIFIC Commission of Inquiry to answer four (4) questions:


Question #1:

When did CWC came to the Privatization Committee/Government, who brought them to the table and to what extent was the introducing party compensated?

Question #2:

How many MOUs did the Government signed-off on and how and when were they amended?

Question #3:

To what extent was the behavior of KPMG and Higgs & Johnson considered ethical, in light of the nature of the transaction involved? What were they hired to do? How much were they paid? And whether or not they paid a commission to any individual or entity connected with the Privatization Committee or the Government to secure their services?

Question #4:

Considering the apparent conflicts and appearance of wrong doing at URCA, to what extent can Bahamians trust the advice, judgment and regulatory framework organized, designed and drafted by the body? To this end, serious consideration must be given to the disbanding of URCA and then rebuilding the body so that the country can again have confidence in it.

The Committee to Save BTC for Bahamians believes in an OWNERSHIP SOCIETY, that Bahamians should take a stand on this issue and that we must believe in ourselves. We call on all right-thinking Bahamians to conscientiously stand in objection to the resolution to sell 51% of BTC to CWC by lawfully doing everything in their means to resist the Government and CWC until such time as a Referendum or a general election can be held on this issue and a Specific Commission of Inquiry can be held on the events leading up to the sale of 51% of the shares of BTC to CWC.

Their promises don’t hold water (and though they might manage to lower rates before the election, watch out)/no business plan

The government’s promises fly in the face of the evidence. The fact of the matter is that it is possible right now to get phone service for 10c a minute. The fact of the matter is that 3G service is available now. As MPs said, BTC has asked to give lower rates and 3G service now and an URCA, headed by a former Cable and Wireless employee, has said NO! Why?

The FNM has not spoken about rate rebalancing and the fact that the deal contemplates payment for land line calls.

Let me read the response of a communications expert when he was asked to comment on the Cable and Wireless Business Plan:

“The Business Plan was created in less than 1 day by some Marketing people.  The charts are very appealing and superbly done for Marketing and Sales Presentation Purposes.  However, a Business Plan or 5 -Year Plan needs to be very specific with respect to all the vitals organizations within BTC (Sales, Marketing, Planning, Engineering, Operations, Maintenance, IT, Customer Support, etc.).  I want a 300 Page 5-Year Plan/Business plan.  I want to see that an effort was made by C&W to show that they have spent many months and man-hours analyzing and developing a Plan that will benefit the Bahamas Government, the BTC Employees & the People of the Bahamas. This is unacceptable to the People of the Bahamas.  The Bahamians deserve “commitments, guarantees, and accountability” from C&W.  They do not deserve “eye-wash” charts that have not substance just generalizations.  If this is the best effort by C&W to the People of the Bahamas then they should be embarrassed for not taking this Purchase seriously.  Furthermore, if Mobile Rates are not lower for each and every Bahamian then URCA should be allowed “impose monetary fines” on C&W until such time that the Rates are lower for the Bahamians.  This is a WIN-WIN situation for C&W where there is NO ACCOUNTABLE or CONSEQUENSES.  The People of the Bahamas can only lose because if there is any type of gain in lowering costs, I am sure that C&W will appeal to URCA to create some reason to raise rates once again.

I apologize for my opinions above but honesty and integrity is the only way to conduct a business transaction.  The people of the Bahamas & the BTC employees deserve a better deal than what has been presented.”

Cable and Wireless is silent. The government has not been transparent and has not come clean. Why haven’t the following documents been tabled?

  • The voluntary workforce restructuring plan – The MOU says that the terms of this voluntary restricting were to be agreed by the government and Cable and Wireless NO LATER THAN 7th January, 2011. It is now 1st April, 2011. Where is the plan? Why is the government hiding it? Fakers. Trying to swing Bahamians. It stinks.
  • The CWC support services agreement
  • The LIME support services agreement
  • The statistics that led to the government to make the probably illegal agreement that Bahamians would have the pay a $100 Million penalty

Where are Cable and Wireless’ projections on when they will start charging for land line calls and the projected rates for those calls?

Why did the government agree that any part of BTC business can be managed outside The Bahamas? The agreements call for business to be substantially managed from Bahamas. However, they provide for centers of business to be transferred. The government has no say in this. The agreements put Cable and Wireless in charge of operations and operational decisions.

Bahamians who are already struggling in hard economic times need to know and need to plan. People are struggling to pay bills, buy groceries and pay for school fees. They need to know about these increased costs. They need to know about redundancies, layoffs and voluntary restructuring. The government needs to come clean.

Like many people have said, offering Bahamians shares in these hard economic times that S&P says have been exacerbated by FNM policies is like Marie Antoinette saying “let them eat cake”. What are Bahamians who are struggling to pay their bills going to buy shares with? This sweetheart give away deal stinks

The FNM has repeatedly shown his lack of faith in Bahamians and in the Bahamas. The FNM said “Bahamians need not apply”.

This unpatriotic government that does not believe in Bahamian ownership of the economy told Bahamians that they need not apply. One Bahamian group that did apply was chastised by the FNM. This anti Bahamian said that if the government gave BTC to Bahamians to own and or manage, that in two years they would run it into the ground and the government would be obliged to take it back? We can have a Bahamian Prime Minister but we can’t have a Bahamian CEO of BTC?

BTC was built by Bahamians into the plum that Cable and Wireless wants.

Obviously Bahamians can own and manage BTC. There is no good reason to give a strategic partner majority ownership and control of the national patrimony.

The FNM process to sell has been riddled with improprieties and conflicts of interest and puzzles.

The FNM not yet answered questions about the finders fee, nor divulged the identity of the person who will get a 3% finder’s fee.

As the PLP said at the end of January, “The sale to BTC epitomizes the FNM special interests style of governance: it was done behind closed doors and lacks transparency; it is rife with conflicts of interest; someone is getting a 3% finder’s fee; the small man will be downsized/laid off; the small man’s pension fund and his pension plans are being adversely affected;…”

Bahamians want to know what were Cable and Wireless employees doing in BTC at the end of last year writing to suppliers and acting as though they had taken over management of BTC.

KPMG is the auditor of Cable and Wireless. KPMG did the valuation of BTC.

URCA the CEO of URCA is a former Cable and Wireless employee. He apparently brought to the table another former Cable and Wireless employee as a human resources consultant. Her husband is apparently still a Cable and Wireless employee.

How can Bahamians feel comfortable surrounded by this apparent conflict of interest?

The entire deal stinks to high heaven.

Bahamian interests are not first in The Bahamas. Special interests are written all over this sweetheart giveaway deal. It stinks.

Letter from a Bahamian abroad.

Dear Editor,

Even in the end, the FNM Government was ungracious in victory. One of the point men in the ministerial team, the Hon. Zhirvargo Laing was recorded in the media as saying that BTC was no national treasure. In short he was saying that there was nothing special about BTC that would make the State want to retain it as an iconic symbol of successful state enterprise. It was a sentiment that disregarded the human element in the entire saga – that the Government was playing around with people’s livelihood and their future and their children’s future.

No one was ever suggesting that BTC was a national treasure. The objection to the sale was the manner in which it was carried out, the divesting of majority interest in a “no count” company and the fact is that as sure as the sun will rise there will be retrenchment and uncertainty throughout the ranks of BTC staff.  Regarding uncertainty, can you imagine a BTC employee of ten years standing who has saved long and hard to put his house up to belt course, now going to any financial institution and asking for a 15 year mortgage to complete his house? It is doubtful that his application will be entertained base entirely on the fact that his employment tenure is unsecured.  This is among the practical downside of the sale of the company. The FNM Government must be accused of pushing down and pushing back middle class aspirations.  And Minister Laing has the heart to make these and other callous statements.

The FNM Government plays loose and fast with human suffering. It is paradoxical that a Government with a Trust Agenda would show so little regard for the basic purpose of Government which is to protect and safeguard the welfare (in its classic sense) its citizens from all sorts of human sufferings. Especially when individually they cannot do so for themselves. The intent seems to be to put a stranglehold on the Bahamian people and subdue their aspirations.

But there is really no cause for triumphalism and the grins and smiles of the Government and their supporters will be short-lived. As Shakespeare wrote of Julius Caesar on his return to Rome: “wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?” (Julius Caesar –Act 1 Scene 1)

The PLP when it becomes the next Government of The Bahamas must remain resolute that among its first actions will be to roll back this stain on the fabric of the Bahamian political tapestry and put Bahamians back in control of its destiny.

Please sign me as
A Bahamian Abroad

Thank you.

The FNM is giving us a master class — a master class in politics, a master class in deception, a master class in bullying.

In The Bahamas, Bahamians, who were legally demonstrating, were called criminals. Compare this with the UK where one half million people demonstrated against government policy last week. The right to demonstrate is essential in a democracy. This is not a dictatorship.

The FNM is masterful at bullying. Why else would people exercising their lawful right to demonstrate have salaries their salaries cut? Ask Bran McCartney and Steve McKinney about FNM bullying. Ask the many Bahamians who have left the FNM about FNM bullying.

Ask John Bostwick and Darron cash why they are opposing this immoral sweetheart give away deal.

Ask those FNMs who were scared by the threat of an election if they voted their conscience about FNM bullying.

This BTC deal stinks — and there isn’t a Bahamian who doesn’t know it — including the terrified MPs and Senators in the FNM.

It’s time for leadership that puts The Bahamas, and Bahamians, first.

The PLP is opposed to the sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless. If the sale goes through, the PLP will upon coming to office move to regain the majority shares forthwith from Cable and Wireless.

The PLP believes in a share owning democracy and will sell shares in BTC in tranches to the Bahamian people. The PLP will allow competition and will liberalize the telecommunications market.

As Bob Marley says:

“You can fool some people sometimes,
But you can’t fool all the people all the time.
So now we see the light

We gonna stand up for our rights!

Get up, stand up!

Stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up!
Don’t give up the fight!”

Senators of the FNM: Do the right thing for The Bahamas – vote against this deal.

For once, show some courage!

APPENDIX

Fiber Optic cables connecting New Providence, to Eleuthera, Exuma, Ragged Island, Inagua, Mayguana, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Crooked Island, Cat Island, Abaco, Andros and Grand Bahama in a Ring Topology

  • Fiber optic Cable connecting The Bahamas to Haiti a country of 10.8 Million Residents. Cable and Wireless admits that this is a plum for them.
  • Fiber Optic Cable connecting Bimini to Grand Bahama. Sometimes Bimini residents would be without Telecommunications for days when there was catastrophic failure of the now discontinued Tropospheric Scatter Radio System
  • GSM Cellular Service with GPRS and EDGE to make your Blackberries work
  • 3G CDMA cellular service to accommodate Visitors to our country using Sprint, Verizon or any other CDMA customers once they got here
  • Wi-Fi in this House of Assembly or in The Cabinet office where you could use your laptop to surf the Internet
  • Video Conferencing Network at the Royal Bahamas Police Headquarters where the Commissioner of Police can have his weekly briefings and include senior officers from Six Islands on a Video Conferencing Network
  • Police Trunking Network to allow the Commissioner of Police or his officers to communicate simultaneously with officers on multiple islands
  • a Call Centre
  • A National Operational Control Centre (NOCC) that can monitor its entire network from a single location. Cable & Wireless does not have one as sophisticated as BTC’s in the Caribbean and that they were awed when they saw BTC’s NOCC.
  • DSL. Prior to BTC providing DSL the only provider of high speed Internet in the country was Cable Bahamas charging $99 per month for service. BTC introduced DSL at $34.99 per month and within a month Cable Bahamas reduced its prices from $99.00 per month to $34.95 per month.
  • Voice over IP (VoIP) offering the VIBE. It helps to reduce the telecommunications cost of our students and citizens living abroad.
  • $15 Million in the Bank. Compare this with the $4.47 Million that the PLP met in the bank in 2002.
  • 296,000 plus Cellular customers and 242 plus GSM cell sites, 62 TDMA Cell sites and 21 CDMA cell sites.
  • 140 Cellular Roaming Agreements in place.

4 COMMENTS

  1. There are some faces that should be permanently removed from the face of the PLP; especially the ones who don’t acknowledge their superiors.

  2. Even in Egypt old habits die hard. Egypt’s army is in full control and they have now announced that they want to outlaw protests. Yes, the exact type of protests the people used to bring down former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

  3. Its several days after the BTC fiasco and I cant wait for the many lies.I ran across a talking telephone and laughed as am told this phone has existed for yrs right here in the Bahamas.I am pissed that very soon technology that presently exzists in the Bahamas will come out as being a first just to impress those of us who might not know.

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