Thursday, Sep 19, 2019
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Christie denies using criminals

Opposition Leader Perry Christie alleged last night that Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest used secret police information for political benefit.

Last week, Turnquest accused political operatives of bringing accused murderers and other violent offenders to the February 23 protest against the sale of 51 percent of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC).

Turnquest made the comment in the House of Assembly.

But Christie hit out on this issue at a Progressive Liberal Party rally in Golden Gates.

“I am sure that the commissioner of police must have been terribly embarrassed to see how Tommy took confidential police information concerning who was in the crowd on Bay Street and then used it in the House of Assembly to try to score cheap, political points against the PLP–points that were, in any case, completely misconceived and without any merit at all.”

Christie said the facts are clear: The protest against BTC was organized”as far as we are aware by a civic group known as the Save BTC Committee.”

He said the PLP had no role in sponsoring, organizing or coordinating it.

“Some of our supporters like other concerned Bahamian citizens opposed to the sale of 51 percent of BTC to Cable and Wireless attended the march and protest,”Christie said.

“That is their right in a free and democratic society. But that was all there was to it. And we most certainly did not enlist the support of criminals.

“We are incensed that this demonstration has been now characterized as something it was not.”

Repeating what he said in the past, Christie told the crowd that the Free National Movement administration does not have a mandate from the people to sell BTC to Cable and Wireless.

“They need to go back to the people, and call elections sooner rather than later and before the sale of BTC takes place, if it is to take place at all”

He said”the PLP will upon coming to office move to regain the majority shares forthwith from Cable and Wireless if the sale goes through.”

“The PLP believes in a share owning democracy and will sell shares in BTC in tranches to the Bahamian people,”Christie added.

“The PLP will allow competition and will liberalize the telecommunications market. That is the PLP’s policy. That is the issue. We urge the FNM to stick to the issues.”

Christie repeated that all PLP MPs and senators will vote no in Parliament to the sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless.

Since the government signed a memorandum of understanding with CWC in December, there were two major protests on Bay Street against the deal.

Last month, the government signed a share purchase agreement and a shareholders agreement with CWC.

The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority(URCA)is currently reviewing the deal and the government expects to close early next month.

Speaking in the House of Assembly last week, Turnquest said,”There were persons out there known to the police for armed robbery, drug arrest, causing harm, possession of ammunition and firearms, assault with a deadly weapon, murder, possession of firearms, murder, rape, armed robbery and shopbreaking, kidnapping, stealing and threats of death, house and shop-breaking, possession of dangerous drugs.

“What is not acceptable is when political operatives bring unsavory criminal characters as part of the demonstration who are uncontrollable.”

Turnquest did not accuse a particular politician or party of bringing the violent offenders to the protest. However, he warned lawmakers to be cautious regarding the people they associate with.

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