Union Defends Late Agitation
Conditions resulted in the unions to be most directly affected by and sale of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)agitating at what many consider to be the ninth hour.
The Bahamas Communications and Public Officer’s Union(BCPOU)and Bahamas Communications and Public Manager’s Union(BCPMU)were not the full participants in the deal as many mistakenly believe they were, according to one of the Union bosses.
“I was invited to three meetings since I’ve been in office for 18 months,”Bernard Evans, the BCPOU president told Guardian Business, but said that from the’get-go”his answer was’no’to CWC. He said that when the bidding process was opened, CWC was not one of those who made an offer, but that they later”slid in through the back door.”
Evans said that it was on the eve of hearing that the MOU was signed that the unions began agitating, and”We really thought they would listen and wait.”He said that with Baha Mar coming online for 2011, the hundreds of millions invested in the economy would allow the country to attract someone better in a year or two.
According to Evans, the unions wanted to take the legal route in their actions, and they had advice that they could not do anything until there was something tangible to support any actions.
“You can’t do anything about someone’s intent,”Evans said.
According to the union boss, he and BCPMU president William Carroll attended three meetings on the privatization process. The first meeting was to lay out the criteria for the kind of strategic partner the government was looking for, the second was about the rejection of two bidders. The third, he said, was a request from the BTC Board to open dialogue with CWC.
“Again we reiterated our position: We are not prepared to work with Cable and Wireless,”Evans said.”The same reason the Prime Minister said they shouldn’t even bother to apply back in 2000–The same Prime Minister, this same administration–And his reasons were on track, that they were not even worthy to dip into this country because of their practices.”