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Christie criticizes PM for signing BTC agreement

Opposition Leader Perry Christie yesterday criticized his former Cabinet colleague and friend Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham for signing a deal to sell a majority stake in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC)when there is division in the country over the issue.

“It is just too final where the prime minister is doing this, knowing that the country is divided over the issue, knowing that he does not have the support of the opposition,”said Christie during a news conference in the Minority Room of the House of Assembly yesterday.

Christie said the Ingraham administration is not listening to the electorate regarding the BTC sale, just as it did not listen to the electorate during the 2002 referendum campaign. The questions supported by the then Free National Movement(FNM)administration were all defeated in the February referendum. The FNM lost the general election that May.

Christie has announced that should the Progressive Liberal Party(PLP)re-gain power, it would renegotiate the BTC deal. Yesterday he reiterated his party’s position.

“And to the extent that we are able to legally do so, we will revisit this matter with a view to enhancing Bahamian ownership and most certainly put the controlling interest in the hands of Bahamians,”he said.

The PLP does not support selling a majority stake in the company.

The Christie administration wanted to sell 49 percent of BTC to the foreign group Bluewater Ventures Limited. The FNM administration did not conclude the deal with Bluewater after it defeated the PLP at the 2007 general election.

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