Mitchell lashes Liberty CEO
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Fred Mitchell said yesterday that Liberty Latin America CEO Balan Nair’s comments about the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and its employees are “derogatory of Bahamians and the Bahamian work ethic” and “disrespectful in the extreme” to the prime minister.
Nair was captured on video joking about the performance of the Bahamas-based subsidiary and a recent meeting he had with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.
In a statement, Mitchell shot back.
“It is not for us to defend the Bahamian prime minister with whom we fundamentally disagree, but since the comments are actually disrespectful to the Office of the Prime Minister, they are therefore offensive to us all,” Mitchell said.
“The executive makes fun of the prime minister, saying that the Bahamian prime minister was unable to look him in the eyes even as the prime minister told him that more Bahamians needed to be hired by BTC.
“The Liberty executive’s comments come against the backdrop of bad service by BTC, the unreliability of his platforms both telephonic and data, and the absence of any indication of forward planning and investment in The Bahamas.”
Turning his attention to the prime minister and his administration, Mitchell said, “If they had any national pride, they would have struck back at this Liberty executive, essentially telling him that given his views about Bahamians and the prime minister, he and his company are no longer welcome here and they must find a home elsewhere.”
He added that no PLP government would allow or countenance the “attack” and “insult” of the country’s national sensibilities.
Nair’s comments were featured in several videos that were circulated on social media.
Nair said the difference between Liberty’s Jamaica’s subsidiary and BTC is like “night and day”.
“My biggest wish is that one day they would say, ‘We can be like Jamaica. We can do what they have done in this country,’” he said.
“…The people in The Bahamas are no different from the people in Jamaica; it’s all about attitude. If you feel like you can win, you will win.”
He added, “It’s so funny. I’ll tell you a story,” he continued in the clip.
“Garry [Sinclair] and I and a few others were meeting with the prime minister of The Bahamas on Monday, and you can see him standing there, his crown jewel BTC is ran by a Jamaican, who’s sitting right across from him, and he brought up more than once, ‘we need more Bahamians’, and he’s not trying to make eye contact with Garry.”
The Office of the Prime Minister last night called Nair’s comments “distasteful and insulting”.
“Mr. Nair insulted the prime minister, Bahamian workers, and the Bahamian people,” the statement read.
“In any context, the comments are unacceptable and extraordinarily inappropriate.”
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications