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Davis: PM should allow free vote on BTC deal

Progressive Liberal Party(PLP)deputy leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday called on Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham to allow a free vote in Parliament on the deal to sell 51 percent of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC).

Davis toldThe Nassau Guardianin an interview that the whip will be lifted for PLP members during the debate in Parliament, allowing PLPs to vote freely on the deal.

However, he added that PLPs will all still vote in opposition to the BTC sale to CWC.

“The position of the PLP parliamentary caucus is unanimous,”Davis said.

Ingraham said yesterday that if members of the Free National Movement(FNM)vote against the BTC deal, he would call a general election.

“There he goes again threatening and bullying this time his own elected members from his own party. When will this bullying stop?As I said at the last PLP rally, this is a serious divestiture, a major divestiture of a state-owned asset. There is much dissent against it in the public domain,”said Davis.

“The public needs to know how each member votes. Hence, I call on Ingraham to remove the whip on his members. A vote against this deal will not be a vote against privatization. The issue is not support of privatization or opposition to privatization. The deal stinks. Any vote against the transaction is not a vote against privatization. It’s a vote against a bad deal.”

Davis was the local attorney for Bluewater Ventures Limited, the group the last PLP administration agreed to sell 49 percent of BTC to before the last general election.

The FNM did not conclude that deal after it won the 2007 general election.

The unions representing workers at BTC and other small political parties are planning another demonstration at Parliament on Monday as the debate on the sale begins in the House of Assembly.

A series of clashes occurred as demonstrators fought with police during the last protest against the deal in Rawson Square on February 23. The protestors forcefully removed barricades police set up to block them from entering Parliament Square. Many were dressed in political attire.

Bamboo Town MP Branville McCartney is the only FNM MP who has publicly stated that he may not support the deal. McCartney has said he has to review the deal before he makes a decision on whether or not to support it.

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