Christian Council speaks
On the heels of government’s announcement that a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU)has been signed with Cable and Wireless Communications for 51 percent stake in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, the Bahamas Christian Council(BCC)is admonishing government to stop selling out the Bahamian inheritance.
BCC president Rev Patrick Paul has charged that government must encourage and inspire people to become owners of their industries.
And while he made no specific mention of the BTC sale, Rev Paul noted that the government must invest in the development of its own people.
“The government must stop victimizing people; the government must have confidence in its people,”said Rev Paul in a press release issued to the Nassau Guardian.
Just last week the government announced that the MOU allowed for CWC to acquire the majority shares in BTC for$210 million.
It was disclosed that the UK-based CWC and the Government of the Bahamas would finalize their contractual terms in the first quarter of 2011. The signing of the MOU came some 13 years after the discussion to privatize the company began.
It was thought that government and CWC might have reached an impasse two weeks ago after Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced that he would not allow the company to downsize its staff by more than 300-employees if it acquired BTC.
Instead, Ingraham said he would seek to have offered to the staff voluntary separation packages.
“As a people we will go into socio-economic slavery in our own country,”Rev Paul reported.”We will lose the little we were able to achieve as a nation. Conversely foreigners or the so called investors will continue to amass more and more of the Bahamian economy and wealth and will eventually swallow up the little the nation would have accrued over the last 37 years.”
He warned that Bahamians must pull together or face returning to the dark ages.
Both Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union(BCPOU)president Bernard Evans and Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union(BCPMU)president William Carroll have advocated that government sell BTC to Bahamians.
Recently, former Prime Minister Perry Christie said that the Progressive Liberal Party believed all along that Cable and Wireless was not the right company to acquire a majority stake in BTC.
Yesterday, workers at the company along with the support of many of the major trade unions in the country began industrial protest against BTC sale. The protest forced the closure of the John F Kennedy headquarters and all of its substations in New Providence.