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Steve McKinney relieved of his duties at BIS

Director of Broadcasting at Bahamas Information Services, Steve McKinney, has been relieved of his duties at the government communications department.

McKinney was reportedly pulled into the office of BIS Executive Director Edward Ellis on Thursday and forced to take an accumulated 18-weeks vacation, beginning Monday.

The move came a day after McKinney participated in a demonstration on Bay Street with a cross-section of Bahamians who opposed a 51 percent stake of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company being sold to Cable and Wireless Communications.

In an interview withThe Nassau Guardianyesterday, McKinney explained that the situation unfolded when he was handed a letter requesting he take immediate vacation.

“I looked at the letter and it said February 28 is the day effective for my vacation leave. I had Thursday and Friday to get my belongings and get out of BIS,”

McKinney said.”I had already indicated to them I was not signing a new contract with them. They had asked me, and I told them I wasn’t interested in signing a new contract with them because I am going into my own personal business in broadcasting and journalism. They knew that from last year.”

Asked whether he thought the move was politically motivated, McKinney said that question has to be directed at senior government officials. However, he believes his participation in the demonstration has a lot to do with it.

“I did participate in the demonstration on Bay Street. I didn’t march because you know I really couldn’t take that long walk, but I did stay on Bay Street and I was a part of the protest, because I believe it is my constitutional right to in fact protest and that is what I did. I exercised my right. If others don’t want to exercise that right, that is up to them. I can’t make them do that, but I went there to show my disapproval of the government’s position to sell 51 percent of the shares in BTC to Cable and Wireless,”McKinney said.

“I fundamentally believe that is the wrong decision. I think it is a half-baked decision. I think it is a decision of special interests and those persons who have something to gain from that, and they are certainly not the Bahamian people based on my investigations and my information,”he added.

He maintained that BTC is a national asset and is being frittered away.

McKinney has been with the government media house for approximately eight years.

He said four weeks remained on his three-year contract.

“The only reason I was there at BIS working through my vacation time is because I am a workaholic. I do my work and I was thinking I was being responsible to make sure the government programs get on when they are supposed to get on. I had planned to do that right up until the end of the contract and then say goodbye and that would be it,”McKinney said.

Despite the numerous calls placed to Ellis none were returned up to press time.

Yesterday McKinney stressed that he did nothing to breech his contract, and could pursue the matter from all legal angels. But, said instead he would turn the other cheek.

“From where I sit, I don’t have the energy to harbor hard feelings. My feeling is that I am resolved in my mind. I know who I am. I know where I am going. I know what I want to do and I know that God favors me. I am satisfied with who I am and what I am doing. I have hurt nobody. I have broken no rules. I have done nothing wrong and they can’t say I have,” McKinney said.

“My whole thing is that I have done my best at BIS. I am proud of what I have done. I am proud of what has been created. I think it is a good thing and I hope that the government, and subsequent governments would come along and improve on it,”he added.

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