Categorized | National News

Evans Welcomes Gov’t’s Decision To Revisit BTC Deal

Prime Minister Perry Christie’s announcement last week that his government will look at reclaiming a majority interest in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) came as welcome news to President of The Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) Bernard Evans.

The Ingraham administration’s decision to sell 51 per cent share ownership to Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) in 2010 sparked a long-lasting feud between the government and the union.

Critics of the sale opposed the deal largely on the grounds that they objected to BTC being sold to a foreign entity and that the then government-run company was being sold at a fire sale price.

Throughout the process, Mr. Evans and former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham exchanged verbal jabs publicly.
However, Mr. Evans feels that with the Christie administration indicating its commitment to revisiting the deal, an egregious error will be corrected.

“This BTC deal was never a good idea and we [the BCPOU] and the employees of BTC and the Bahamian people at large rejected it,” he said. “This sale has hurt so many people – there are people who lost their jobs and were not able to pay their mortgages or their children’s school fees. There complaints and concerns were ignored.”

Mr. Evans said that even though he is optimistic that BTC will be returned to the Bahamian people he understands that this will be a long process.

“We know the realities and the legalities at play here and we understand that this is a wait and see game,” Mr. Evans said. “We are satisfied that we have done our part, this is both a validation and vindication for us. We are optimistic that the government now seems willing to do its part to fix this.”

The prime minister reaffirmed his position on reclaiming the majority shares of BTC as he delivered the 20012/2013 Budget Communication in the House of Assembly last Wednesday.

“We remain faithful to our commitment to explore all lawful means by which majority ownership of BTC can be restored to the government and the Bahamian people,” Mr. Christie said.

“We shall very shortly arrange a timetable for discussions that we propose to undertake in this regard with the present owners of the majority stake in BTC and other interested stakeholders.”

CWC, a British communications giant, purchased a majority stake of BTC for $210 million plus stamp taxes.

Following the prime minister’s comments, the company released a terse statement that said it did not feel it appropriate to comment on the government’s policy position regarding the company.

The government has not given a timeline as to when it will proceed with the matter.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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