BTC employees should invest and not consume
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) deadline for its employees to accept voluntary separation packages is Friday. Cable and Wireless, the majority partner in BTC, wants to reduce the staff count at the company by 30 percent.
Once the cuts are made, millions of dollars in severance money will be paid to outgoing BTC employees. These soon to be former employees of the company, which was previously wholly owned by the state, will have tens of thousands of dollars at their disposal.
Cable and Wireless is attempting to rightsize the company in preparation for the full liberalization of the telecommunications sector in The Bahamas in a few years.
The inclination for many when large sums of money suddenly appear is to satisfy long desired consumer wants. Lavish vacations, fancy cars and expensive new cloths are purchased. It is easy to get caught up in the exuberance of the moment.
We suggest that BTC employees resist such urges. A lump sum payment of $100,000 to $200,000 if invested properly can generate significant wealth. Spending the money on toys and trips would squander a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Real estate, stocks and small business ventures are just of few of the areas the money could be invested in in order to generate wealth and better the circumstances of those workers for years to come.
For those who consider small business ventures, partnerships would help spread risk and also increase the capital available for the business. For example, if 10 employees come together with their severance packages, each worth over $100,000, that would mean more than $1 million would be available for the venture. It would be difficult for one person acting alone to raise that kind of capital.
Larger investment groups/partnerships could even be created, making the former BTC workers quite formidable.
Dedicating some of the funds to clearing debt is also not a bad idea. Many Bahamians who earn small salaries live lavish lifestyles. Getting rid of some of that debt would lessen pressures on families going forward.
Whatever is decided, the workers should realize that leaving BTC at this stage is not something they should be sad about. There is great opportunity out there for ownership if the proper course is chosen.
The murder count
As of yesterday afternoon, 64 murders were recorded in The Bahamas for 2011. At the end of the first half of the year, the country is on pace for around 130 murders.
Based on that figure, The Bahamas would have a murder rate of 36.76 per 100,000 population. The international goal is for murder rates is five per 100,000 or less. We are heading to a murder rate seven times higher than the international goal.