One year ago today the people of Elisabeth went to the polls following the induced resignation of Malcolm Adderley. The full weight of the FNM Government was brought to bear. During the bye elections millions of tax payers’ dollars was spent by the Government, voter intimidation was at the worst ever seen in the history of the Bahamas by FNM Ministers and with the forecast of victory by 300 votes by Hubert Ingraham, Dwayne Sands went down in flames.
Just like the straw market in 2001 and massive fire at Kelly’s dock just a few days ago. The destructive torch of the FNM was put out by the water of the mighty PLP. The voters of Elizabeth sang bring the water out the torch, we don’t want the FNM no more.
Despite the tremendous odds, Leo Ryan Pinder emerged as the winner and Dr. Dwayne Sands was forced to put his tail between his legs and return to the practice of medicine.
Your Progressive Liberal Party continues to give thanks and praise to Almighty God for the Bye-Election victory and with His continued support and the support of the Bahamian people we shall once again emerge victorious as the next Government of The Bahamas.
Elizabeth’s new Member of Parliament Leo Ryan Pinder has in my opinion equipped himself extremely well. He’s focused, fearless and he is aggressive in pursuing the interest of the good people of Elizabeth and indeed the entire Bahamas.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the record is there for all to see, that since the FNM’s return to power in 2007 with the economy of the Bahamas at its highest peak in its history thanks to the PLP, Hubert Ingraham and the FNM with their Stop, Review and Cancel policy have brought the Bahamas to its knees. Crime and the fear of crime under the FNM have taken the Bahamas to a new low and the Government, despite its promise to have a plan to fight crime, is visionless and clueless. Many Bahamian Families have lost their homes, lost their cars, lost their way and many Families have broken up because of major differences over lack of income. The lives of large numbers of children have been adversely affected.
My Brothers and Sisters, whilst thousands of Bahamians were joining the unemployed lines under the FNM watch, Bahamians suffered the indignity of hearing Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette shamelessly boast about how much revenue the Government is receiving due to work permits being issued to foreigners by the immigration department throughout the Bahamas for many jobs that can be performed by Bahamians.
Foreigners and Bahamians no longer complain about not being able to get work permits under Hubert Ingraham’s government. In-fact I just read where the Government is being complimented for approving work permits in “rapid time”. As an example I was told that Sandals Hotel in Nassau and Exuma are employing non-Bahamians for jobs that Bahamians are fully qualified to perform. That a special official in the Department of Immigration has been assigned exclusively to handle the high volume of Sandals work permit applications. They also tell me that Hubert Ingraham is a regular visitor to Sandals for breakfast and appears not to pay for anything. If that is true what a cheap price to sell out your own people for – some food.
During the entire time that the good people of Grand Cay were exposed to and being provided with foul smelling water which Phenton Neymour said was safe for the people to drink, Hubert Ingraham never opened his mouth and the press appeared to be afraid to confront him. I am fully convinced that Hubert has lost interest in the people of Abaco.
My fellow Bahamians, in particular those who are unemployed, clearly the FNM Government is not concerned about your not being employed because they continue to give work permits to foreigners for jobs that Bahamians are fully capable of doing. The Chinese are no longer coming, they are here. Look around and see my brothers and sisters.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Hubert Ingraham and the FNM government have signed an agreement to sell the majority of shares in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited. The most successful of all the Government’s Corporations to a United Kingdom owned Cable and Wireless; the worst telecommunications company in the entire Caribbean who has been given the name by the people of the Caribbean that they have well-earned as Careless and Worthless.
I am both deeply and very troubled over the entire FNM privatization exercise as there are too many unanswered questions and the odour emanating from transactions from within BTC and its Chairman raise alarm bells and the failure of the BTC Chairman and Government Ministers to answer has led me to conclude that the privatization process was tainted and corrupt. Further, the chairman threatened to sue me on two occasions for statements issued in the name of the Party and after weeks, no writ has been forthcoming. It was all a sham to try an silence the PLP. As you are aware, Cable & Wireless never took part in the bidding process and there is strong evidence to suggest that discussions were going on with that Company before the bidding process was terminated.
In fact they brought in this man Sadat, a former CEO of Cable and Wireless, to head up URCA. The PLP brought this to the attention of the Press and they said nothing and the only newspaper that bothered to carry the story was The Bahama Journal. And when the Reporter asked Junior Minister Zharvigo Laing to respond to the concerns raised by the PLP, he refused to comment and referred them to URCA.
URCA is supposed to be an independent body free of influence by the government, but all indications strongly suggest that agreements were made in advance to accommodate a recent employee of Cable and Wireless.
Cable& Wireless, a company that Hubert Ingraham said he will never do business with, came in through the back door.
Who facilitated their entry???? And why should a so called transparent government allow Cable & Wireless to come in through the back door. This smells bad and it tastes bad just like the water in Grand Cay, Abaco.
Another interesting and disturbing fact is that when the PLP received the draft MOU between the Government of The Bahamas and Cable & Wireless and released to the press, our so called free press never published the document because Tommy Turnquest said it was bogus. When the original MOU was tabled in the House of Assembly and was found to be identical to the copy released by the PLP with the exception of two missing pages, we again brought this to the attention of the press.
We issued a Press Statement drawing to the public’s attention that both documents were the same, essentially calling Tommy a liar, but the Press refused to carry it.
I am satisfied that the Government has extended its influence to what goes into the press.
I will have more to say on this at a different time. It is a dangerous matter.
My brothers and sisters, what is amazing about this pending sale is that Hubert Ingraham; a man who “says, what he says and means what he says” spoke the following words as published in the FNM’s own newspaper: The Torch in March, 1997. I invite you to listen to me carefully as I quote Hubert Ingraham:
“Because I believe; that Bahamians ought to own the majority in Batelco, I shall never, never, ever sell the majority holding in Batelco to anyone other than Bahamians”.
Hubert Ingraham has without explanation, without rationalization, without justification, unashamedly turned his back on the promise he made to “never, never, ever sell the majority holding in Batelco to anyone other than Bahamians”.
Ladies and gentlemen allocated time does not allow me to continue with additional damming details but I should do so at the next opportunity. So please stay tune.
So I wish to speak on a matter that affects the little man and woman, the vendors on the streets throughout The Bahamas.
When I was Minister responsible for BTC, many commercial companies wanted to get into the whole sale prepaid business and I said NO.
This is a $23 Million industry in The Bahamas.
I wanted to ensure that that part of the business remains in the hands of the small business men. As a result many persons are on the streets in New Providences, Grand Bahama and other Islands selling Cards for their livelihood.
It has come to my attention that BTC/LIME will be implementing an electronic system that will make the present cards obsolete.
In essence what I am saying is that the hundreds of persons on the roads and in small business making their living through this means, their jobs will be obsolete when this system is implemented.
Ladies and Gentlemen I also want to inform you that Wholesale Vendors enjoy a 25% percent commission from BTC. That is, when Wholesalers buy $100,000 worth of phone cards they pay $75,000.00.
When Careless and Wuthless buys BTC, Careless and Wutless presently in the Caribbean gives Wholesalers a 10% commission.
That is when a Wholesaler buys $100,000 worth of cards he will pay $90,000 or an additional $15,000 out of pocket.
What does this means for the customers on the streets in Nassau?
Do you think that the Street vendors will still be able to sell you three twenty dollar cards for $50?
So I wish to conclude by lending my total support to the many voices that are crying out for a full and impartial hearing into the operations of BTC from 2007 to date and the corrupt privatization exercise of BTC.
Good night and see you soon.
BTC PRIVATIZATION TRANSACTION DOCUMENTS