Turnquest criticized for remarks on unions
Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union(BCPOU) president Bernard Evans yesterday criticized National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest for characterizing union opposition to the sale of the majority stake in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)as anational security threat.
Evans toldThe Nassau Guardianthat the real threat is the government’s attempt to force the Bahamian people to accept Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC)the company buying the BTC stake.
“We don’t see why the minister would want to waste the precious resources of the police force and the defence force to spy on us or to think that we would do something untoward. Why would we want to do something like that?I think the threat is on the other side,”Evans said.
Progressive Liberal Party(PLP)chairman Bradley Roberts, in a statement, described Turnquest’s comments as silly and irresponsible.
“The PLP strongly deplores the characterization of the trade unions in this country as a security threat. Indeed, we would not be surprised if this is not all political theater in a desperate attempt to win favor with the public for the bad sweetheart deal which the FNM(Free National Movement)now proposes with regard to BTC,”he said.
On Monday, Turnquest toldThe Guardianthat the unions’fight to block the BTC deal has created a national security threat.
He added that police and the defence force are on alert for any signs of a”threat”.
“We have to maintain the development of The Bahamas and the national security of The Bahamas,”he said.”And so we are ready for any threat.”
The BTC unions, in conjuction with other unions, have protested and threatened a general strike.
Roberts said Turnquest”ought to hang his head in shame for demonizing legitimate citizens”exercising their free will in a democratic society.
“He would be well advised to go out and find real crime and real criminals to fight and bring to justice as opposed to making up enemies and chasing after ghosts,”Roberts added.
Turnquest did not disclose what information the security forces have about the unions and their plans. Evans said the unions will forge ahead with meetings with both the Trade Union Congress and the National Congressof Trade Unions of The Bahamasto plan their next step to block the sale of BTC to CWC.