Christie says PLP Gov’t would review’bad FNM decisions’
Opposition Leader Perry Christie said yesterday if the Progressive Liberal Party(PLP)wins the next general election it would decide whether to”stop, review and cancel”many of the decisions of the current government, including its decision to sell the majority stake of BTC to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC).
“So the PLP is looking at BTC, for example, and saying if we had to do it again, what would be our decision?”Christie told The Nassau Guardian.
“Much more[importantly]the PLP is looking at many of the decisions the Free National Movement government has made on the basis of disagreements with those decisions and how we are going to be able to work those disagreements[out]after an election that we win.
“That is going to be a critical decision that we make.”
Previously, Christie said if he is returned as prime minister he would consider reversing the$65 million Arawak Cay container port deal.
Yesterday, he said he still does not agree with the government’s decision to move the port to that location.
“We thought it was the wrong decision; it was placed in the wrong place. We have not changed our view on that, just as we believe that Cable and Wireless is a bad decision and selling a 51 percent stake to Cable and Wireless is a bad decision,”Christie continued.
“We think[the government]has made a real series of bad decisions. But the serious point is what does a succeeding government do?Do we follow the Ingraham[government]with stop, review, and cancel or do we just accept what has happened?
“These are considerations for an opposition party when it is faced with the kinds of decisions that the Ingraham administration is making.”
Christie said that since the proposed sale of a majority stake in BTC to CWC was announced, the party took the view that CWC was not the right company to sell to.
In early December, the government signed a memorandum of understanding(MOU)with CWC to sell the majority stake at a cost of$210 million, plus stamp tax.
The PLP called on the government to make the MOU public on several occasions but the government has yet to do so.
“We’ve taken our position on[the sale]and some of our colleagues had the opportunity to meet with the representatives of CWC on my behalf where they had frank discussions,”Christie said yesterday.”But our position has not changed.”
He indicated that the PLP wishes to see BTC remain fully in Bahamian hands.
“Governments have an obligation to work even harder on that. If their people are able to meet the criteria for privatization they should be given the first opportunity for it,”Christie said.
He said one of the greatest economic disadvantages in the country is the leakage of money out of The Bahamas.
“So to the extent that we can empower Bahamians by having them meaningfully involved in the ownership of a company that has to be a major commitment,”Christie said.
The unions representing BTC workers are also adamant that BTC should remain Bahamian owned.
They have staged several demonstrations protesting the imminent sale.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said he wants the BTC sale to CWC finalized by February 15.
It is unclear whether that target date will be met.