Categorized | National News

Cash: CBL Must Put Arrogance In Check

Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash is raking Cable Bahamas over the coals over its response to the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authorities’ (URCA) decision not to grant its request for a price hike for its SuperBasic packages.

On December 1, CBL requested a 27 per cent increase on its basic cable services.
Had CBL’s application been granted, residential customers would have had to pay an additional $8 for basic cable while commercial consumers would have been slapped with a $63.50 monthly – an increase of $13.50.

CBL called the decision “disappointing”.

In a press statement, Mr. Cash says “the leaders of Cable Bahamas must have their wires crossed.”

“That company’s response to the decision by the Utilities Regulatory and Competition Authority (URCA) to deny them a rate increase was typical of the wanton arrogance that Bahamians have seen from that company for many years,” he said.

“They have consistently been tone deaf to the pleas of their most needy customers, in addition to demonstrating wilful ignorance to the concerns of every other customer group. They have been allowed to get away with too much for too long and must now get accustomed to the fact that there is a new sheriff in town.”

Mr. Cash said he commends URCA for “doing the right thing.”
“The Bahamian people should be vindicated as well, this is yet another example of the impact that the powerful voice of the people can have in shaping public policy,” he said.

Mr. Cash said CBL often makes customers wait and now it’s the company’s turn to wait.

“Regrettably, the company describes as ‘15 months of nonsense’ the fact that they actually had to sit and listen to consumers talk about the abuse and neglect they have suffered over many years. That type of customer feedback is precisely what the Free National Movement anticipated when URCA was established,” he said.

“As for the company’s formal reaction to the decision of the regulator, it was extremely inappropriate. Regrettably, it is consistent with their ‘we are a power unto ourselves’ approach to doing business in The Bahamas. That sense that they were unanswerable to no one explains why they refused to deliver on their obligations to putting cable throughout the Family Islands.”

Mr. Cash said the FNM understood that consumer protection is paramount importance and it was for that very reason that the electronic communications sector was mordernised in 2009 – to protect consumers and to pave the way for competition in the sector.

“Cable Bahamas is the dominant service provider and ought not attack the regulator for its decision,” he said.

“In fact, CBL ought to know that the FNM passed legislation creating the Utilities Appeal Tribunal (UAT), a body which can review any decision by URCA once an appeal is filed. If CBL feels aggrieved, it should take the matter to the UAT. The minister with responsibility for Electronic Communication needs to work with haste to ensure that the UAT is fully functioning and prepared to address any appeal, which may be brought to it.”

The chairman said although the company is fully Bahamian-owned, “its behaviour reflects the typical demonstration of hubris that Bahamians have seen from rogue foreign investors, who got lucky enough to acquire monopolistic powers in small developing countries.”

“Their attitude appears to be one of how dare the locals open their mouths to talk back? The company has clearly not shaken off vestiges of previous control by persons who were more interested in the mighty dollar than in demonstrating sensitivity to the economic realities of the people they served,” he said.

“Cable Bahamas would do well to get their arrogance in check. They should also ensure that they do nothing to punish the subscribers to their already weak basic package. That, I submit, would be a prudent business decision.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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