Thursday, Jun 20, 2019
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Bluewater unveiled

The veil of secrecty surrounding the group that almost purchased 49 percent of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)under the Christie administration has been lifted.

According to documents obtained by National Review, Bluewater is a privately held entity which does not have audited statements or disclose financial statements publicly.

“However, at signing or immediately prior to signing the[letter of intent]we are prepared to dislcose relevant financial information and give the relevant assurances on Bluewater’s acquisition vehicle, including its financial capacity to complete the transaction,”the company said.

The response came as part of the due dilegence exercise carried out by the Privatization Commitee under the Christie administration, which subsequently recommended to the government that negotiations should proceed with Bluewater.

Members of that committee included the financial secretary, the legal advisor to the Ministry of Finance, BTC union officials, private sector members and telecommunications consultants.

Details of the deal that almost came to fruition are expected to be discussed in the BTC privatization debate which gets underway in the House of Assembly today.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has already promised to have more to say about Bluewater and what the Christie administration had planned.

In 2006, the privatization committee posed a number of questions to Bluewater, which were answered in detailed form in a document to the committee dated September 13, 2006.

One revelation made in that document is that Bluewater was formed to invest in and manage companies in the telecom and media industries.

According to the document, there was no plan for any layoffs. Between 2006 and 2011, average salary at BTC was projected to rise from$43,332 to$48,780.

A PLAN FOR BTC

Bluewater outlined 25 key initiatives to target in the first two years of purchasing the BTC shares.

Bluewater committed to plugging revenue leakages; reduce discounts to prepaid vendors; reduce bad debt charges; charge for in-home wiring to recoup costs; tighten the pre-paid card distribution processs; institute a new sales incentive scheme; reduce fleet maintenance costs; reduce overtime expenses and reduce contract service costs by 20 percent.

THE PLAYERS

The Privatization Committee asked Bluewater to provide the propose management candidates for BTC.

Several board members were named.

One of them was Trinidad native Roger Ames, who served as chairman and chief executive officer of Warner Music Group and president of Warner Music International between August 1999 and August 2004.

Carlos Espinal who in 2006 was CEO of TSTT, the national telephone company of Trinidad&Tobago.

Prior to joining TSTT in 2004, he spent eight years with Verizon as senior vice president international-Latin America.

During his time with Verizon, he worked as a turn-around specialist for Verizon’s Latin American and Caribbean businesses, Bluewater said.

John Gregg was listed in the document sent to the Privatization Committee as managing director of Bluewater. According to that 2006 document, he had 15 yars of building companies in the media and telecom industry in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

Another board member named was Andrew Sukawaty, who was named as the chairman and ceo of Inmarsat, which Bluewater said was the world leader in global satelite communications.

According to the document, Sukawaty served as president adn CEO of Sprint PCS, one of America’s largest mobile phone providers. It said he grew Sprint from a start up to a company with 9.5 million subscribers and approximately$6.6 billion of revenue.

Bluewater also named several operational advisors, a finance team and a legal team.

The document said Bluewater’s principals intended to invest in BTC through a standalone Bahamian entity that will be capitalized and controlled by Bluewater’s principals. It said Bluewater is an entity controlled by John Gregg.

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