McAlpine: Nothing sinister about BTC deal
Free National Movement(FNM)Senator Frederick McAlpine said yesterday that there is”nothing sinister”about the Memorandum of Understanding the government signed with Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC)last month related to the sale of a majority stake in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC).
McAlpine was speaking in the Senate yesterday during debate on ammendments to the URCA Act.
The opposition has called for the release of the MOU. Though the document has not yet been made public, the government has pledged full transparency during the BTC sale process.
The government is selling 51 percent of BTC at a cost of$210 million plus taxes to CWC.
The government may sell, at anytime after the initial sale, up to 9 percent of its remaining 49 percent stake in BTC.
After three years, the government may sell up to 25 percent of its remaining interest in BTC, inclusive of shares it sold in the first three years after privatization.
“This will produce direct Bahamian shareholders, which I believe will include people who have contributed to build BTC to its present lucrative position,”said McAlpine.
On the issue of job security, he emphasized that there would be”no buying and immediate firing”at BTC by CWC, based on the negotiated position put forward by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
“The prime minister has been able to negotiate with Cable and Wireless that there will be no immediate removal of employees. However, those who are willing to go, having reached the retirement age or near the retirement age, may do so voluntarily with a package,”he said.