Monday, Jun 1, 2020
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Christie: BTC sale to CWC is a mistake

The government is making a mistake by selling the majority stake in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC), Opposition Leader Perry Christie said yesterday before he and his members voted in the House of Assembly against resolutions facilitating the sale.

Christie said the government has not given him, or the Progressive Liberal Party(PLP), sufficient reason to vote for the deal.

“From what I have seen in the business plan of CWC, from what I have heard about their modus operandi, I cannot see how anyone can seriously suggest that this deal is a good thing for The Bahamas,”Christie said during his contribution to the resolutions debate.

The government is proposing to sell 51 percent of BTC to CWC.

Christie said testimony from the leaders of several Caribbean countries should have been taken into consideration by the government”as a serious indicator that it would not be in the national interest of The Bahams to be in business with them(CWC).”

He was referring to past comments by the leaders of St. Lucia and Belize criticizing CWC.

Christie argued that the majority stake in BTC should remain in the control of Bahamians.

“I’m concluding my contribution by reading into the record something that I have said before. The PLP is opposed to the sale to Cable and Wireless. We call on[the Government]to cease and desist. The PLP will upon coming to office move to regain the majority shares forthwith from Cable and Wireless if the sale goes through,”he said.

“The PLP believes in a share owning democracy and will sell the shares in BTC to the Bahamian people. The PLP will allow competition and will liberalize the communications sector.”

He added that the PLP will continue to look into the facts surrounding URCA’s approval of the CWC deal.

URCAapproved the sale earlier this month.

Questions arose over the past few weeks regarding URCA’s engagement of its CEO Usman Saadat and Marsha Lewis, who was URCA’s human resource manager. Both were former CWC employees.

Both resolutions passed yesterday in the House.

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