Thursday, Jul 18, 2019
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BTC should think back to Blue Water deal

Dear Editor,

I would be most appreciative if you printed this letter.

The unions in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)matter have truly amazed me.

They essentially are trying to convince all of us that the real issue for them is Bahamian ownership of BTC. Really now!Who really believes that they are more concerned about whether Bahamians own the company or that they obtain the benefits for themselves that they perceive they should receive?

Yet we get all of this talk about Bahamianization and Bahamians owning the company–what are they talking about?Why did they not raise this issue months ago when they were agitating for inclusion on the Advisory Committee–which they obtained membership on and was an integral part of the process arriving at the selection of Cable and Wireless?Julian Francis, chairman of BTC and co-chair of the Advisory Committee, confirmed in a radio interview with Jeff Lloyd before the holidays that the unions were present and had no major objection, if not agreed to sell to Cable&Wireless.

Would the unions have preferred the PLP Bluewater deal?Clearly and undoubtedly, the Bluewater deal was a terrible proposition for the Bahamas and Bahamians. The PLP boasted that they were selling an interest in BTC to Blue Water for$260 million,$50 million more than the FNM’s$210 million, with a 2 percent difference in the interest–49 percent versus 51 percent, respectively. Naturally, the controlling interest would be important to any investor who is prepared to inject$210 million into a company and likely to invest more in the short term to upgrade technologies.

What the PLP do not say is that while it is true in terms of the price that there is a difference of$50 million between the two seemingly favoring the Bluewater deal they do not tell you that Bluewater would immediately, upon acquisition of BTC, would have also acquired at least$100 million in cash that was being held by BTC. Hence, the real price was$160 million–$50 million less than the FNM’s Cable&Wireless deal!What the FNM has done is taken this money out of BTC to the benefit of the Bahamas Government and the Bahamian people over the past 1-2 years.

It does not end there. The PLP’s deal with Bluewater allowed them to pay$40 million of the$160 million over a period of time. Hence, upon the close of the deal, the PLP would have sold BTC to Bluewater for$120 Million–the cash paid at closing of the deal. Remember though, there was the$100 million in cash in BTC that Bluewater would have been able to payout to themselves, thereby purchasing BTC for$20 million at closing and using future earnings to payoff the other$20 million–what a deal!

Remember, we did not know and still do not know who the owners of Bluewater are–it was not disclosed. Hence, we do not know who the PLP intended to give the$100 million dollars from the coffers of BTC to–astounding!And, what is the union’s view?

I do not recall a word from the unions, oh but, they were not informed about any of this becausethe PLP did not involve them at all in the process and they have the temerity to talk about why is it that the FNM would not release the Memorandum of Understanding sooner–the union is really devoid of any creditability on this matter.

It is the PLP government that sold out the country and gave away BTC and no information was shared with anyone including the unions, and they talk about having their members register to vote in large numbers. Do they really prefer the PLP in all circumstances over the FNM?They need to get real, and quickly.

And the union leaders suggested that their members should get registered to vote–exactly for whom?I am certain, given all the circumstances, they must have been thinking–the FNM!To suggest otherwise, could not be taken seriously.

Yours, etc.,

Sean Hepburn

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