Christie Sics Snake on CWC
In his zeal to reneg on a perfectly good and legal business arrangement, Prime Minister Perry Christie has appointed a ragtag team of “negotiators” to try to muscle Cable, and Wireless Communications (CWC) into giving a majority take of the recently privatized Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) back to the Bahamas government.
Members of Christie’s negotiating team are businessman Franklyn Wilson, whose business ethics have earned him the nickname ‘snake’; former Attorney General Sean McWeeney; attorney Rowena Bethel, who worked as a regulator in the Ministry of Finance, and former BTC CEO Leon Williams.
Christie said he expects talks to start by mid-August.
In another example of putting Bahamians last, the prime minister has also pulled the plug on the plan, left in place by the former Ingraham-led government, to offer nine per cent of the shares in BTC to the Bahamian public.
Mr Christie, who obviously does not believe in wealth-building for Bahamians said:
“Let it be clear that when I came to office there was on the table I believe a decision by the former government to sell nine percent of the shares. I have stopped that because it stands in the way of what my government has a mandate to do,” he said.
It is predicted that Mr Christie and his PLP cronies will vote against the stock sale in Parliament.
Christie swayed thousands of ignorant voters during the last election by promising that if the PLP were elected, they would reneg on the sale of BTC to CWC.
At a recent press conference; former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham called the government’s plan to get a majority of shares back “political fluff” and he advised the Christie administration to follow through with the plan to sell nine percent of the shares to the public.
But Christie said he was amused at such a comment from Mr Ingraham.
“It’s not fluff. Cable and Wireless is now the owner of 51 percent of the shares of the company. I’m not proposing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to buy shares back from them,” Christie said as he admitted he planned on sinply talking CWC into giving back majority control.
“What I’m proposing to do is what I said I would do, [and that] is to discuss with them a process that would lead both sides into agreeing on a different formulation, where the Government of The Bahamas would be a majority shareholder.”
Last week, BTC CEO Geoff Houston reported that the government is getting almost double the profits as a 49 per cent owner in BTC than it received as a full owner.BTC, corruption, government, incompetence, PLP, telecommunications