PLP: Cable and Wireless Plants its CEO in URCA

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Usman Saadat Hubert Ingraham's Man to head URCA.

The Progressive Liberal Party
Cable and Wireless Plants its CEO in URCA
February 13th, 2011

Evidence below confirms the Mr. Saadat said he left Cable and Wireless St. Lucia to return to his homeland in the Far East. However, several months later he ended up in the employ of URCA.

After being informed of his connections to Cable and Wireless, the Progressive Liberal Party conducted an investigation into the background of Mr. Usman Saadat who was first appointed to the position of Director of Policy & Regulation at the Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority (URCA) in (April 2009). He now holds the office of Chief Executive Officer at URCA.

Firstly, Mr. Saadat’s own LinkIn profile discloses the following:

Usman Saadat’s Summary
A talented and highly experienced Senior Telecommunications Executive, with over 14 years’ industry exposure gained in the UK, Caribbean and throughout EMEA. Has practical, demonstrable experience of successfully managing the review, restructure and transformation of business operations to enhance financial performance. Held senior management positions with full financial accountability, and deployed effective strategies for business development. Experienced consultant in regulation and policy, and helping regulators and companies manage complex regualtory issues in liberalised markets.

Usman Saadat’s Specialties:
1. Increasing employee engagement – motivating and empowering effective teams, mentoring.
2. Influencing key stakeholders – especially customers, Regualtors and Government.
3. Business and commercially focused, yet having extensive technical knowledge of emerging convergent telecommunications technologies a nd expert in regulatory policy and implementation.
4. Skilled Programme Manager with in-depth knowledge and experience of implementing ‘best practice’ methodologies.

Usman Saadat’s Experience

Chief Executive Officer
URCA, Bahamas (Telecommunications industry)
October 2010 — Present (5 months)
Director of Policy & Regulation
Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority (URCA), Bahamas
(Telecommunications industry)
April 2009 — October 2010 (1 year 7 months)
Chief Executive
Cable & Wireless St Lucia
(Public Company; CW.L; Telecommunications industry)
August 2007 — July 2008 (1 year )
Business Development Director
Cable & Wireless International
(Public Company; Telecommunications industry)
November 2006 — July 2007 (9 months)
Chief Exective
Cable & Wireless Seychelles
(Public Company; Telecommunications industry)
October 2004 — October 2006 (2 years 1 month)
Vice President – Marketing
Cable & Wireless Eastern Caribbean
(Telecommunications industry)
October 2003 — September 2004 (1 year )
Economist
Cable & Wireless
(Public Company; Telecommunications industry)
January 2000 — September 2003 (3 years 9 months)
Consultant
Europe Economics
(Telecommunications industry)
August 1998 — November 1999 (1 year 4 months)
Analyst
National Economic Research Associates
(Public Company; Telecommunications industry)
September 1995 — July 1998 (2 years 11 months)

Usman Saadat’s Education

London School of Economics and Political Science, U. of London
Msc Economics , Development Studies , 1993 — 1994
London School of Economics and Political Science
1989 — 1992

As noted above in his own profile, Mr. Saadat was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Cable and Wireless St. Lucia for just one year before taking up the position at URCA just some seven months later.

Our research has disclosed that in July of 2008 Mr. Saadat resigned from Cable and Wireless citing “personal circumstances – his various postings around the world being a challenge for him, and his family having to adjust constantly to life on the move. Saadat said he and his family took a decision to migrate back to the Far East, and settle down after many years on the move.

This most sudden move by Saadat was made after investing more than one decade of service with Cable and Wireless.
The Progressive Liberal Party finds it most interesting that Mr. Saadat’s resume made no mention of his return to the Far East to “settle down” as noted by him as his main reason for resigning from Cable and Wireless St. Lucia in 2008.

The PLP asks how is it that in less than eight months Mr. Saadat, with just 14 years of experience, was  selected by the FNM Government to become the Director of Policy and Regulations at URCA in the Bahamas and was then instantly promoted to  the position of Chief Executive Officer at URCA?

The PLP is deeply concerned and is not convinced that it is merely a coincidence that an eleven year employee of Cable and Wireless would be selected for such an important role of regulating a company of which he (Mr. Saadat) was once the Chief Executive Officer. Clearly any rational thinking person would conclude that this is a very serious and blatant conflict of interest and the FNM Government demonstrated incredibly poor judgment in the hiring of Usman Saadat.

We now see the FNM Government embracing and consummating a deal with Cable and Wireless, a company which did not participate in the BTC privatization bidding process. Specifically, the FNM Government has now executed an agreement with Cable and Wireless for the sale of 51% ownership of BTC with the full knowledge of and blessing that the former CEO of Cable and Wireless will now the head the communications regulatory body of The Bahamas.

The completion of the sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless is conditional on a number of transactions. The key important approval needed for the sale is that of URCA. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has clearly and intentionally placed Mr. Saadat in a position where there exists a fundamental conflict between his sacred duty to protect the public interest as URCA’s chief and his private and business relationships with former employer, Cable and Wireless. This cannot be right.

This brings into serious question the independence of URCA as a regulatory body. The unions rightly challenged Mr. Saatdat’s appointment to URCA which was whitewashed by the FNM Government. The response given was not transparent at all.

The Government’s claim of URCA being independent of the Government is ridiculous and must be challenged in the courts.

22 COMMENTS

  1. It is unfortunate to see so much of us Bahamains argiung and fighting over our emotions about these political parties, when publicly they are rivals and opponents, but privately they are best friends and buisness partners. I now feel like don’t care who wins we all lose because Peter still looks out for Paul. Before really looking into this BTC sale, it didn’t bother me i thought that why not sell it especially if it meant lower rates and better technoligy. Then i started reading and listening to the talk shows, particularly hard copy, and even though I don’t agree with all of their view point I was informed. I attended the BTC town meeting and listened to educated men like Mr. Leon Williams bring facts, and a gentleman C. Allen educate us that BTC is really more than a phone company. I belive now after hearing them and many more that the majority sale of BTC to Cable and wireless is trully not a good deal for us as Bahamains, I belive it can threaten our National security as it is also the main technoligy provider for our now knowledge based populace. I now know that truly all the technoligy that is out there, BTC now has and thus Cable and Wireless is really bringing nothing to the table. I believe if we could only take the politics out of BTC it would be a far more profitable entity and much more beneficial to our nation. So I would say no to the sale and under these terms and conditions that are now set. With it’s prenent setting our government will only walk away with $150 million after all is said and done, and on top of that God forbid if anyone tries to tamper with the deal after it is done then we incur a $100 million penalty. That is different from legal cost and so forth, so in real life it wil be as if we will be giving it away for free. Lastly, I have seen documentation where BTC has paid into the tresury over $150 million dollars in the past two years, in the form of fees and custom duties and dividend payments to the one share holder the Bahamain government,if sold the government can no longer look for all of that revenue from them with the deal also including customs exemption, and now dividends on 49% share. Where will the short fall in revenue now come from. Higher taxes or more loans from the Chinese. I don’t think this is wort a few cents off my cell fone bill, but raise gas prices and liscencing fees, and now garbage collection tax and so forth. This was not meant to sound political in any way but is my take as a now really concerned Bahamain. God bless the Bahamas.

  2. Dear BP,

    As a 19 year supporter of the FNM, and know quite well that that BP is a PLP driven, and mostly bias entity, I can honestly say that BP is 100% on point with everything relating to this particular article. The appointment of Mr. Saadat is total BS!!! This whole BTC deal stinks! And while i will not be supporting the FNM in 2012, and certainly not the PLP, I honestly can’t wait to see the FNM removed from Government, and would like to see the BTC deal reversed, and Mr. Saadat booted out of the Bahamas along with Cable & Wireless.

    • Yes Concerned Bahamian We report and YINNER DECIDE! At Least unlike the Tribune you have free speech to express yourself on BP! Not because we don’t block the PLP like the rest of the WUTLESS MEDIA in this country means we are on their side.

      But, We report and yinner decide! KEEP READING!

      BP

  3. @tired

    Tired, you seem to be very informed and much of what you had to say make perfect sense however you dismiss the argument that not all of the issues you have with BTC lies on the doorstep of its management and staff. The company as is, will struggle to survive in a liberalized telecommunication sector and the primary reason for that is government interference. BTC as some have suggested can provide all of the item on your wish list if the management had the autonomy to pursue business as a private entity. I beleive that you are quite aware that any transaction that exceed $1mil has to be approved signed by the board of director and signed by chairman who represents the government. BTC moves at the pulse of the sitting government. This government wants to sell BTC and has cultivated an environment through which it can convince the people of the necessity to sell.

    In addition BTC could have been privatized via an IPO. The share holders could have hired a board to direct the company affairs and if foreign expertise had to be employed the board would find the necessary resource required to pursue the company’s objectives. The privatization committee made a blod statement …”Bahamians need not apply” which indicates the government’s intention from the onset.

  4. You guys\girls, can find all the silly and trival conflicts of interest you want, many are both lazy in thought and depth. I am sure the majority of the Bahamian population wants change for BTC and this sale is that change. You and argue that selling BTC is depriving the nation of its most valueable public asset, but as i see it the most valueable public asset has always been the education of our kids. BTC was never ours, at least not the public at large, it has always been a tool of the political machinery to hire their own freinds and is witnessed each time the government changes hands. For the most part, we need to realize that just as the implementation of a new US President, those people with political jobs are usually fired and a new leadership under the direction of the current administration is ushered in. Again, I ask all those that are against the sale of BTC to C&W to say what has changed form the last group that was at the table to buy BTC (considering the PLP has admitted that the group was also not Bahamian)…

  5. Papa good guys he was over the country before the last Gen. Election talking about Christie selling btc to blue waters and Bradley Roberts, Brave Davis and them, just to take the light off of what him and C&W dem was getting ready to do to this great country, but the God we serv aint asleep.

  6. You guys ain’t willing to give Papa the credit he deserves for his brilliant hire only the foreigners. You know of any other government in the world that ever gave another government a right to send their unemployed people to their own country, which already has unemployment problems? Papa’s appointments of foreigners is like surrounding himself with rubber stamp appointees, is like hiring the foxes to be guarding the chicken coop.

  7. For all of the rhetoric and foolish talking about all of the horrible things that allegedly await us with this sale, it’s highly likely that the cell rates will come down and discount 3G offerings will be launched before the election is called. I would expect the landline costs to not change until after the election. Voters generally have short memories, so reduced cell pricing plus other surprise improvements to living costs (like lump sum payments to government employees) will offset much of opposition’s arguments.

    • @ Deesha
      Are you telling me you are willing to sell ‘a national asset’ just for ‘lower cell rates’? Which can be done without a sale of 51%. And holding off on raising land line rates tell after the general election? Sounds like ‘politricks’ if you believe what you are saying! You can’t be serious! Most importantly, I think it is a ‘big’ mistake to make the assumption that this ‘opposition’ to the BTC sale is being led by the PLP! Many FNM’s and PLP’s and NDP’s for that matter are against this sale. Collectively were are called ‘Bahamians’ and we are also known as ‘voters’! You find out just how long our memories are on General Election Day! Ring the bell, recess is over in the Bahamas!! It’s time to go to class and learn a lesson!! Mama didn’t raise no fools!!

      • And yes, I’m all for reduced rates and more features for all Bahamians, but want BTC to lower its costs as well. It’s obvious that BTC can lower its rates to customers at any time, but I don’t know how it can lower its own costs with only 350,000 customers and very little growth opportunities on its own.

      • I think thats the point.

        Its not a matter of just lower cellular rates. its a mattter of the govt being in charge of a company and obviously making decisions not in the best interest of its consumers.

        If BTC could have lower cell rates, 3G, Faster Broadband, MMS from years ago and whatever then what are they waiting for.

        Well Tired…maybe they were waiting on competition. but that presents a greater argument for Privatization:
        a) BTC competes with Cable head to head in broadband. Actually BTC is in almost all islands and Coralwave is in 4. .
        The results.Cable >40K Subscribers, BTC <20k.

        For years Cable has increased its speeds, got 24 hour support went unlimted Coralwve Lite..and guess what, BTC stood pad not increasing its speeds no 24 hour support.

        b) So imagine a fully liberalized industry with govt appointed bureaucrats calling the shots? Look at BahamasAir, and ZNS.
        I rather a company with a profit motive in a fully compeitive environment than a govt ran monopoly…cough cough BEC cough cough.

        c)There are all sorts of stories about the PLP's ties to Bluewater or the FNM's conflcit of interests with C&W. Simply thats what you get when the govt is involved.

        Remember HI firing the Chairman of the BOB after the election. Well every-time the govt changes so does BTC's hierarchy. Really the only reason BTC actually makes a profit is cuz it overcharges on mobile since the elasticity is so low.

        d) The thing is that when the FNM tried to do it the first time, no one made noise except those against the firing of all the workers..(and BTC was truly overstaffed…another by-product of govt control).
        The PLP came in and tried to do it and no one made noise.
        The FNM came in and tried a 2nd time…no one made noise. No one even made noise when it was annoucned in the news that CW got invited after not bidding.
        No one made noise UNTIL the MOU got signed.

        Where was everyone when all of this was going on.

        I dont care for CW really but lets get this overwith and get govt out of business where private enterprise should be.

        Is private control perfect? No. But iI think we've proved that capitalisnm trumps socialism. Ohh..and sell it to Bahamians…well the only Bahamian firm who participated in this go around was CFAL…and people been making noise that Colina wan buy up everything.

        So you can't please everyone.

        • @tired
          I like you have no problem with competition but moving from a ‘public monopoly’ to a ‘private monopoly’ is not progress in my opinion. What should have done is sell 25%, to foreigners which gives access to the market 35% to the public (representing the infrastructure) which we can then ‘lease’ to other technology companies (liberalization) and 40% stays with the govt and then give BTC/C&W one year to prepare for competition and then have true ‘free market-capitalism’! Which consists of a free-price system where supply and demand are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by the government. Productive enterprises are privately-owned, and the role of the state is limited to enforcing property rights.” We presently have “capitalism” but it is in the form of ‘corporate capitalism’ defined as, a free or mixed market characterized by the dominance of hierarchical, bureaucratic corporations, which are legally required to pursue profit. State monopoly capitalism refers to a form of corporate capitalism where the state is used to benefit, protect from competition and promote the interests of dominant or established corporations. What I believe you are talking about is The ‘liberalization’ of the market which I agree with you but it should be open in one(1) year and not three(3) to five(5) if we are serious about competitive pricing in the marketplace. Especially, in the ‘wireless cell phone’ market as in the case of CB Coralwave Internet Service which competes with BTC! Then we would then have 1) BTC/Lime 2) Cable Bahamas & SRG (which now has merged with Cable Bah) 3) Digicel and then even 4) Bluewater. True capitalism is the survival of the fittest! For example when there are more ‘foodstores’ in the Bahamas like, City Market, Solomons, Robin Hood, Costco’s there is competition between the stores for customers and therefore better prices are offered to the public. It should be the same in technology services. Could you imagine if, “Wal-Mart” would come to the Bahamas and no one else could compete with them for 3 to 5 years! Kelly’s, John S. George and Butlers would be in an ‘uproar’ with the govt! Now do you understand! I hope this helps you better understand the issues involved!

          • I understand what you are saying but my argument is regarding those who say, leave BTC alone they are quiet capable of all of this magical stuff.

            If they were they would have done so!!! The news reproted thatt the Chairman of BTC prevented certain technology from being launched. Why? Who knows.

            Its like when governing poltiical parties campaign about the thing’s they’ll do in thier next term, and you go..well…if you can…then how come you havent done so already!

            So simply put thier stagnation is from govt control. If not for its monopoly on cellualr and Bahamians heavy demand on the system it would be incredibly loss making or barely making profits.

            So I say, its a bit more than a lack of competition as, I’ve stated even in the industries it competes in it lags waaaaaaaaaaaay behind. Though a lack of competition is a factor.

            Indigo would have been much further ahead if not for all of its stall tactics. But now they have a major player so we’ll see how they compete with each other now.

            Of course, I say that the best scenario is: private ownership and in a fully liberalized market.

            Like you, the exclusivity, I disagree with but understand to some extent.

            The thing is govt has to, when selling; fetch the highest price it can to certain extent.

            Remember the Bluewater deal called for a 5 year exclusivity.

            Of course if they told any bidder, 1 year exclusivity on what makes BTC profitable in the first place and they’d probably never gotten it sold.

  8. “A NATION FOR SALE” was what the news papers in the US said during the height of drug trafficking during the Pindling era. I guess they can add the word “AGAIN” to the back of that title and apply it to this FNM administration. Incredibly NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, WILL COME OUT OF ALL THIS NOISE BY THE PLP. A “sham” of a Commission of Enquiry might be conducted, but only to extract more “political fodder” for the PLP to use against the FNM well into their term and particulkarly on the eve of the next general election. What about truth and justice for Bahamians? A search for justice and application of due penalties.. even jailing former politicians, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!! That will never happen because the cross border “deals” between these parties (PLP and FNM) in dark rooms will never permit such (let history be your teacher – check the records). The only “FOOLS” are those who still decorate themselves in the party colors and respond to the propaganda and rhetoric spewed out by the party machinery. Hubert A. Ingraham knows that Perry G. Christie did not go far enough in his remarks/warnings to C&W. He should have stated clearly that he will re-nationalize BTC if elected to office in 2012 if he was serious, I mean really serious (not politically serious). He can “re-negotiate” until the cows come home but that will do nothing to change the fundamental position of C&W owning 51% of BTC. And that is the bottom line – isn’t it! Ingraham knows that “emotions” is a fluid thing and it is THE MOST LIKELY COMPONENT TO CHANGE OVER TIME, ESPECIALLY IN LOCAL POLITICS. WE DON’T HAVE TO LOOK FURTHER THAN THE LAST 10 YEARS OF GENERAL ELECTIONS OUTCOME TO VALIDATE THIS POINT. JUST A FEW DOLLARS AS “INCREMENTS” OR “LUMP SUM PAYMENTS” THROUGHOUT THE CIVIL SERVICE AND IT WILL BE LIKE THE BTC SALE THING NEVER HAPPENED (and you know I’m right). Christie is simply playing this BTC sale for all the political mileage that its worth … period! WE (Bahamians) are being played as fools by both sides. The croonies of the PLP play up the story to cause us to disregard all the reasons and faults that caused the PLP to be ushered out of office in 2007, while the FNM croonies attempt to sell us PIPE DREAMS about how many spin-off business opportunities will come our way, and how much cheaper cell phone rates will be for us. A choice between the PLP or FNM looks like choosing between methods of execution to me (firing squad or electric chair)- same outcome for us on either side of the equation. And I know already .. YOU DIE-HARDS, PARTY HACKS, BLOW HARDS, FRIENDS/FAMILY/OR LOVERS TYPE STRONGLY OBJECT TO MY TRUTHFUL REMARKS BECAUSE IT NEGATIVELY DEPICT YOUR LEADERS AND PARTY. Who cares? Bring it on.

    • Storm,
      When you first started, my first look at your post did not incite me to continue to read, I actual had to make up make up mind to read past the first bit. But after reading your entire post, you are absolutely correct. So many people are so busy looking at the person presently an idea that they miss the idea entirely. The same goes with the political agenda, there are people so blinded by the colour of the shirt that ideas presented by the other side is not even given a second thought.

  9. BP, there is an abudance of evidence of many conflicts of interest in sale of BTC. This is a “deal” not the legitimate sale of a national asset. It is clear that under Ingraham we can once again be called “a nation for sale”. Mr. Ingraham owes the nation an apology for foisting this deal on the Bahamaian people. Oh well he will have ingratiated himself with the moneymen and Aga Khans of the world. The word will go out and soon everyone will be “pulling train” on us.This deal was never in our nation’s interest, and has the stench of corruption wafting around it. It is time for Mr. Christie to stop being so nice to Mr Ingraham and his co-conspirators in the exploitation of our nation’s patrimony. Speak up Christie!! What can Ingraham do or say to you that he has not already? Lick him down man!!!

  10. and the point is??? Do you know of anyone else in the region with the experience to evaluate communications???. Why are you reaching for straws, BTC has to be sold, and No we dont have enough qualified Bahamians with the needed capital to run a telecoms company. BTC current structure is a failure, horrible customer service, poor technically planning etc. Do you know BTC revenues could have been tripled if the right infrastructure, and management was in place. BTC has missed millions of dollars in revenue due to its lack of technically skilled, poor customer service, etc. Oh by the way the global market knows that BTC is 10 15 years behind and is an unreliable company to do business with in its current state. Less move on…we have bigger fish to fry!!!

    • @Reaching4straws

      Many of us agree with you that BTC should be sold. There is a lot of room for improvement with regards to customer service, infrastructure development and to some degree future planning. When you say however that we do not have qualified Bahamians who are capable of running BTC you are talking garbage. We have a government headed by Hubert Alexander Ingraham who is pursuing it personal agenda at the expense of the people and the public purse. They have successively block or otherwise impeeded BTC’s abilility to improve the very same services that they (the goverment) criticizes. The present government needs to be removed!!

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