PM: Bahamians must come to terms with BTC sale
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham told members of the media Friday that Bahamians must come to terms with the sale of 51 percent of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC), which is nearing full completion.
Ingraham, during a press conference at the Churchill building, was asked about his relationship with union leaders since Parliament approved the sale of BTC. The unions have protested against the sale of BTC to CWC and have instead agitated for the company to be sold to Bahamians.
Ingraham said he is still willing to have conversations with union leaders despite the”abuse”levied on him.
“I have always been willing to talk to them,”he said.
“I don’t take these things personally notwithstanding the abuse which people heap up on me personally.”
Ingraham suggested that the leadership of both the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union and the Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union forge a relationship with CWC now that the deal is almost fully complete. He said CWC management could take office on April 4 or shortly thereafter.
“I would be happy to talk to the union leadership and I encourage them to talk with Cable and Wireless, to talk to their employers to be, to see the extent to which they can develop understandings even before the sale actually goes through,” he said.”That just makes sense. There is no point being angry with anybody.”
The unions promised not to stop their protests until the sale of BTC to CWC was dead in the water. They have held several protests and rallies to gather the support of the Bahamian public.
However, Ingraham said he is confident that the majority of Bahamians support the sale of BTC to CWC.
“I was absolutely satisfied that I had the support of the Bahamian people and the steps I was taking(would)better things for them, improve services, reduce costs for them, and that notwithstanding the opposition of the PLP(Progressive Liberal Party)and the unions to what we were seeking to do, at the end of the day we will prevail and we did,”he said.
“The competent authority of The Bahamas acting for, on behalf of and in the name of the Bahamian people, have approved the privatization of BTC and the sale of 51 percent of the shares to Cable and Wireless, and have committed to making available to the Bahamian public nine percent of those shares before the end of this year, and to make it up to 25 percent over a period of time.”
Ingraham said that BTC will not undergo a name change. He insisted that it is Bahamian company and restated that there will be certain things CWC will have to get government approval for.