The BTC Charade Is Over – Get Back To The Country’s Problems

Tuesday 28th, January 2014 / 09:45 Published by

For those asking about the numbers from the result of this nearly two-year-long BTC charade by the government and its cohorts: Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) bought 129,878,640 (51%) shares in BTC in 2011.

The government held 124,765,360 (49%) shares. The dividends for the BTC Foundation Fund that CWC will form will be based on 5,093,200 (under 2%) of CWC’s total shares. It still controls these shares and the dividends it will allot to them, and has simply placed them in the Fund.

CWC (outside the Fund) now holds 124,785,440 shares and the government still holds its 124,765,360 shares it always held from 2011. This means CWC (outside the Fund) holds 20,080 more shares than the government. The 20,080 share majority is what CWC in its press release on the new Fund referred to as their having a “marginally larger number of shares” than the government.

It’s a wrap. The game is over. Those who for almost two years have been reporting that the government could have taken back shares from CWC were misleading the public, as such persons always had access to the 2011 Shareholders and Share Purchase Agreements for the BTC privatization that clearly stated what could and could not have happened with BTC’s shares.

Those who prior to last week’s press conference reported that the government had regained control of BTC were lying to the public. Those who continued to say that after the press conference were simply continuing the lie to the public. And while the country was being distracted with lies about BTC, we took our focus off several critical things.

January is almost over and the government’s VAT Bill and Regulations have not reached Parliament yet, now with less than six months to go before the chaos that will be VAT, hits us on July 1.

The deal to privatize BEC is already an epic scandal – the public just doesn’t know it yet.

As for serious crime, there will be no changes to the Constitution this year regarding judicial rights, bail, the Privy Council, etc, according to the Prime Minister; so the calls on these matters being made from different quarters in the country (albeit backwards and undemocratic in many instances) will not be legislated.

Now that the government has taken the VAT bait, both US ratings agencies – Standard & Poors and Moody’s – have advised that our credit rating is likely to be downgraded this year. So not only will Bahamians and businesses be taxed into harder times this year via VAT, the tax hike will not avert a credit downgrade anyway.

Government salaries and bills are not being paid. Government projects are not being completed and opened.

Meantime, unemployment continues to plague us, the government is cutting back social assistance in the midst of harder economic times, current and impending tax hikes are causing businesses to shut down and others to scale back or cancel plans for future expansion, and Cabinet Ministers are agitating for policies and laws that would cut our civil liberties and turn our country into the makings of a police State.

The farcical BTC charade is over. We need to focus on the serious challenges we are facing; the more prominent of which we heretofore have not seen in our nation’s history.

Sharon Turner

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