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McCartney Says BTC Take Back Unlikely

Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney has called on the Christie administration to abort its campaign promise of reacquiring a majority stake in The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).

Mr. McCartney, who delivered a scathing assessment of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Government’s first year in office, said the government needs to recognise that reacquisition is highly unlikely.

In fact, Mr. McCartney suggested that it was impossible because Cable and Wireless (CWC) which purchased 51 per cent of the shares of BTC back in 2011, is not interested in selling those shares.

The PLP campaigned last year promising to return BTC to the Bahamian people if it were elected to office.

Since being elected, the Christie administration has maintained that position and although several meetings have taken place between the government and a committee appointed by the prime minister and CWC executives, nothing has yet materialised.

“The deputy prime minister indicated on the campaign trail that a commission of inquiry would be established, but yes that was just another campaign promise,” Mr. McCartney said. “The committee reported that there were shocking elements of that deal. Unfortunately and true to form, the Bahamian people have not been advised of what these shocking elements were.

“To date, BTC still owns the majority of shares and it is very unlikely that this government will be able to yet again fulfill a campaign promise. Certainly, the prime minister would have known that a committee was not necessary to negotiate with BTC.”

Mr. McCartney cast doubt that CWC is even considering selling its shares in BTC and envisaged that this won’t change in the near future.

He urged the prime minister to stop misleading the Bahamian people by suggesting the government is making progress in its discussions with CWC.

“The law is not in his favour,” Mr. McCartney said. “We are also informed that although the former [Ingraham] administration indicated plans to sell nine per cent of its shares in BTC to the Bahamian public, this PLP government does not share the same position.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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