Here’s why Digicel cannot be allowed into The Bahamas Cellular Market!

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Denis O’Brien, Digicel Group’s Founder and Chairman retains 94% ownership of the monolithic company – He takes home ALL THE DAMN MONEY FOR HIMSELF!!!

Digicel chairman Denis O’Brien: will have received nearly all of the dividend of $10 million paid by the company in the first quarter. Photograph: Swoan Parker/Reuters

ALL FOR HIM AND NONE FOR BAHAMIANS THAT’S THE WAY FOR DIGICEL! Something must be wrong with that picture…

Nassau, Bahamas — Digicel circulated in the press this week that it is hopeful that the Christie Government would consider them as the cellular market opens up in the country. The Prime Minister tabled in Parliament last week the proposals [RFP], which would allow the bidding process to begin. The Prime Minister then noted the following, that the company selected must “be committed to having the widest base of Bahamians participating in the ownership of the new company.

“The requirement for there to be broad Bahamian ownership of the new company, Mr. Speaker, is yet another testament of my Government’s commitment to ensuring that ALL Bahamians benefit from the economic fruits of the country and not just a select and privileged few.”

That said, we at Bahamas Press want to remind the public as to who the big player behind Digicel is, and why that company must be struck off the list immediately!

According to Forbes, Financial Times and The Irish Times, Denis O’Brien, Digicel Group’s Founder and Chairman retains 94% ownership of the monolithic company, paying himself approximately USD$650 million in dividends in 2014, up from 2012’s $280 million.

However, O’Brien’s hefty payments are by no means an indicator of the health of the company. According to Irish Times, who gained possession of Digicel Group financial records late last year, the company’s revenues for the 2014 fiscal year were flat in the first quarter, at $678 million while the company’s cash balance dwindled to $768 million a 30% decrease from the same period in 2013. Additionally, the group’s long-term debt widened to $5.8 billion at the end of June from $5.4 billion.

None-the-less the company’s dividend for the quarter was the same as the year before at $10million with Mr. O’Brien, the near sole shareholder, receiving virtually all.

With payouts of this magnitude from Digicel, Mr. Obrien’s largest asset and main source of income, it is not surprising that the 56-year-old self-made businessman’s net worth has nearly doubled in the past three years. In 2012 The Independent, Ireland’s largest though struggling newspaper – in which O’Brien owns significant shares – listed the mogul’s net worth at $3.33 billion. As of February 16, 2015 Forbes estimates his worth at $6.7 billion, making him Ireland’s wealthiest businessman. O’Brien lesser assets include an online jobs company with inroads in China, a number of European radio stations, and recently purchased Topaz, Ireland’s main fuel retailer.

To allow Digicel into the market will mean Bahamians will not be given the chance to own its cellular market, and it will also mean that millions in profits will be shipped off to one man, somewhere in the back of the woods. It will go against the “Believing in Bahamians” policy annunciation by the Christie Government and would again repeat the rituals of the colonizer coming in to pillage the village. This certainly cannot be the way for the future for Bahamians.

Bahamians are indeed against these facts, which only Bahamas Press will present. Digicel must know fishing out some piece of jobs in the town; while packing and raking up millions to ship out of the Bahamas will not go well with the locals.

We will have more to say on Digicel this weekend in our famous Sunday Special!

We report yinner decide!