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Financial services pioneer endorses BTC privatization

Award-winning financial services pioneer Suzanne Black has endorsed efforts to privatize the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC), noting that when the process is complete it will be”a potential boon to the economy that will give rise to new levels of diversification, new businesses and eventually, cost savings to the consumer.”

Black is the latest industry leader to add her voice to the debate over the proposed sale of 51%of BTC to telecoms giant Cable&Wireless Communications, which plans to operate the Bahamian company under its Caribbean-wide LIME brand, making The Bahamas one of its three main hubs in the region.

“Privatization is not a cure all for the economy but it certainly is part of the broader economic reform needed for our country’s growth,”Black said.

“The privatization of BTC has gone through a lengthy process and I trust that the right decisions have been made for the long-term enrichment of our country’s financial services system.”

Black, a popular speaker and successful entrepreneur, sees the move as a chance to prepare BTC for the competition that will follow, a move that will improve the quality of telecoms products and services and reduce costs.

“What has been most surprising to me is the single-mindedness with which some Bahamians have approached the subject,”Black said, who was the first Bahamian to head an offshore bank.”All too frequently, the very same people who happily go to Florida and can choose from a variety of phones with a host of options and plans, and think nothing of trying to get the most minutes for their money, are engaged in protecting one of the last state-owned monopolies in the modern world here at home.

“We say we are sophisticated, yet when it comes to subjects like this, we want to hold on to yesterday when the rest of the world has moved on. We ignore the high costs we pay and the negative impact it may have on our tourism and financial services sectors. The irony is that once we move on, these same people may well wonder what they were trying to protect. Successive governments have been talking of finding a proper private owner for more than a decade. This is not a surprise And I predict there will be many new job opportunities in the world of competitive telecoms.”

Black, a financial services pioneer in banking and insurance, and a real estate specialist and consultant, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree by Sojourner-Douglass College in 2008 and a British Empire Medal in 1998.

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