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Union boss criticizes BTC chairman at meeting

President of the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union(BCPOU), Bernard Evans, sought to use the words of the Chairman of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, Julian Francis, against him in a town hall meeting at BCPOU Hall yesterday.

Evans picked apart Francis’own chairman’s report, found in BTC’s 2009 financial statement, as evidence of Francis’double speak on the issue of the privatization of BTC to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC).

According to Evans, Francis had in recent days, over the course of the debate about the sale of 51 percent of BTC to CWC, sullied BTC workers and the company’s technology by his own words and by his opposition to the union’s position. Both the BCPOU and the Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union(BCPMU)are vehemently against the sale of BTC to CWC and instead want to see 100 percent of the company’s shares sold to Bahamians.

Mr Francis’report states:”I have been proud to witness the dramatic expansion of products and especially the systems that power those products, including the consistency with which broadband services are being deployed to the most distant and remote settlements of The Bahamas.”

To this, Evans suggested Mr. Francis’recent statements assert that BTC’s services”aren’t worth anything”.

The chairman’s report further states:”We cannot overstate the importance of this development to the future value of BTC and its ability to deliver a wider variety of services to its customers. Additionally, the new technology and streamlined business processes promise faster, more efficient delivery of such services and will significantly minimize outages and customer dissatisfaction.”

Evans claimed that when the suggestion was made by BTC technicians to expand the number of cellular towers to 50 in order to expand New Providence’s service quality and delivery, BTC’s board of directors chose to limit the number.

“Our engineers, those who know the technology in BTC-the optimization for New Providence alone called for 50 cell sites,”he said.”The board though, told them’ya’ll try with 39.”

Evans further insisted that BTC weathered the financial downturn without privatization, and suggested that CWC is not needed to make BTC profitable or expand its services.

He quoted another part of the chairman’s report which reads,”It is of particular importance to note that many of these advances have taken place during extremely difficult economic times.

“Yet the uncertain climate that might have been expected to affect BTC’s bottom line was held at bay by the company’s management of assets, technology and personnel resulting in a net gain of more than 100 percent in profitability year-over-year.”

The town hall meeting exploded into a cry of”Julian got to go”when Evans noted that in the chairman’s report Francis extends a”stellar tribute”to the workers of BTC.

Evans suggested that if Francis really believed this, he would stand with those workers worthy of commendation and listen to their cries.

The unions plan to hold a mass rally on Monday night at R.M. Bailey Park, and are calling for all the communities to come out in support of the workers of The Bahamas.

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