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Foulkes: BTC to have 99 percentBahamian staff after privatization

After the privatization of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC), 99 percent of the staff and management will be Bahamian, leader of Government Business in the Senate Dion Foulkes said yesterday.

Foulkes was contributing to debate on the privatization of BTC.

BTC employs more than 1,200 people–1,036 line staff and 174 middle managers. There are approximately 14 people who make up the executive management team.

For the past several months, BTC unions and the government have been at odds over the 51 percent sale of the company to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC).

Last week, the House of Assembly passed the resolutions approving the sale.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said that in negotiating the BTC deal the government was motivated by its desire to give Bahamians the best of what is available and to ensure that communications services are reliable and accessible.

Yesterday, Foulkes said the Progressive Liberal Party was responsible for”closed door”dealings with Bluewater to purchase BTC under the Christie Administration.

He was repeating a sentiment expressed by FNM MPs in the House of Assembly during the debate last week.

Foulkes claimed the FNM has been transparent in the BTC deal, while the PLP’s actions were”smudgy.”

The Christie administration was seeking to sell 49 percent of the company to Bluewater.

Under the deal inked recently with CWC, 51 percent of BTC is being sold for$210 million plus stamp tax.

Foulkes charged that the PLP has yet to say who were the Bahamians involved in Bluewater. He asserted that only a few high-ranking PLPs knew about the deal.

Foulkes said the CWC deal allows for a 36 percent rate reduction, which is a”big thing.”

He said no matter what the PLP says, there is massive support for the sale.

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