The Three Stooges of Bahamian Business


The Three Stooges of Bahamian Business

Right off the bat, let me say that I am a customer of these companies and I realize that there are a number of competent, hard-working employees at each of them.  I respect and appreciate the job that those good employees perform.

But on the whole, these companies are inhibiting the growth and profitability of businesses in The Bahamas or, at the very least, creating an inconvenience for their customers.  All three of them can, and must do better.

To what degree have service outages affected your business?  Let us know in the comments.

¿Hablo Ingles Cable Bahamas?

OK, who else is tired of Spanish language programmes, commercials and captions?

Hey, I love Spanish people.  Some of my best friends are Spanish.  But I speak English and so does everyone else in my house.

And when I subscribed to premium cable channels at Cable Bahamas, many years ago, I signed up for English-speaking cable television.

So, why am I now paying more money, for less channels and watching Spanish language TV?

What about the people who are hard of hearing and need to read the closed captions?  They are in Spanish.

Are they going to pay for my Grandma’s Berlitz courses?

I am sure some of the more knowledgeable readers of this blog will inform me of any number of seemingly valid reasons why Cable Bahamas has problems providing the service I pay for. But do you know what?  I don’t care.

All I know is that I am paying $90 a month for cable television with premium channels and I want to be able to understand what the people are saying and be able to read the damn captions.

Can You Hear Me Now BTC?

Upgrade?  What kind of an upgrade is no service?  Especially when I am still paying for service?

These people must have worked on the New Providence Road Project.

“We’re going to upgrade the roads.”

Well, as a small business owner, looking to make it easier for customers to visit your shop, that sounded like a good idea.

But they didn’t tell you they’d put you out of business to do so.

And that’s exactly what BTC is doing to many small businesses when they provide absolutely no phone service for an entire day. And sporadic service on other days.

I’m sure Marlon, Jerome and Geoff can tell me all about copper thieves, sabotage or all sorts of technical mumbo-jumbo.

Again, I do not care.  Hire security guards, buy better equipment, fix it, whatever!  All I know is I pay for service, I expect to receive it.

Find me a business person in The Bahamas today who doesn’t rely on their cellphone to conduct business. I don’t know any.

One step forward, two steps back won’t get you very far.

The Dark Knights at BEC

A bright, sunny day, not too hot, no storm, not even rain. Boom!  The power goes out.

First thing on a Monday morning, just getting the kids off to school and heading to work.  Boom!  The power goes out.

Sunday dinner time, family over, a little respite from the busy work week. Boom!  Power goes out.

I mean, really!  Isn’t this what they do?  It’s not like we’re asking BEC to do something strange or something outside their business model.  This is what they do… or are supposed to do… provide power.

Again, I am sure the top brass at BEC can write me, or leave comments that seem to justify, or at least explain, why the power went out on any of the many, many occassions it has.  Idiots with ladders, blown generators, trucks driving into transformers… who cares?!

We pay these people to provide power and except in cases of real emergencies, like hurricanes or really bad storms, we expect to get what we pay for.  It is their job to make their system work, even under adverse conditions.  After all, the rest of us are expected to soldier on depsite the fact that they are making us live under adverse conditions.. like not having power.

BTW: we pay some of the highest electricity rates around.  For what?!

And despite their claims to the contrary, I don’t know anyone who has ever been compensated for the loss of equipment due to BEC’s on & off power fluctuations.

Unlike Cable Bahamas and BTC, BEC is a government corporation, so you’d think the government would exercise some kind of control over the situation and correct it.

If Perry Christie and his PLP really wanted to put Bahamians first, they would clean up the management of that company and make it run smoothly and efficiently.  Government officials should ensure we receive the uninterrupted power we pay for.  That’s what we pay them for.

Is it wrong of me to speak out?  Am I nuts to expect to get what I pay for and what these companies have contracted to provide?

It’s difficult for The Bahamas to move forward, onward or upward if we don’t have access to quality, efficient and affordable utility services.

If we really want to make it “Better in The Bahamas” all three of these companies must do a better job.

Are you “mad as hell” and not going to take it anymore?  Let us know in the comments.

32 thoughts on “The Three Stooges of Bahamian Business

  1. I have have lost two air-conditioning units at my business due to power jumping off then on again quickly. BEC refuses to reimburse me when it was truly their fault, even though I submitted proper documentation. It is unfair.

    1. It’s maddening!. I have lost an air conditioner also and two printers and each time I went through BEC’s documentation process only to be declined reimbursement. Has BEC ever reimbursed anyone for damage?! They should.

    2. Esther W why not ask the “political cronies” who have been given breaks over the years to pony up the money, or (better still) the unknown entities who were apparently embezzling using taxpayer funds! 😉

  2. I wonder what would happen if I told BTC I could not pay my bill this month due to “technical difficulties”.

      1. Um, no, we need more foreigners actually. Bahamians are truly useless on the whole and seem to care more about defending themselves and charging high prices than actually doing a hard days work. Get real, many of the great countries of the world are staffed and run by people from all a variety of nations. The diversity helps them improve and get fresh ideas and energy.

      2. ToldYaSo, Jack has got it right. There are none of these service problems in the US/Canada/UK – they hire a diversity of workers who have the best skills.

        Do you think T-Mobile would be down for a day doing upgrades? More competition improves service to the consumer. Most Bahamians don’t get that.

      3. In response to “You don’t know” 🙂 Jack, I can only say you are either foreign or unpatriotic. I suspect there are many hard working Bahamians capable of fulfilling their work obligations but are either taken advantage of or rejected for foreigners who may be connected to management. I hope the Christie administration will be fair but tough regarding the issuing of work permits.

      4. Don’t forget the fact we have also been experiencing a “brain drain”. Many qualified young Bahamians who have earned their degrees overseas are opting to find work ANYWHERE but at home. Make the country one of equal opportunity (less about one’s politics) a fair days pay for a decent wage, reduce the crime significantly, and maybe they’ll opt to return.

  3. Monday, all three of my means of communicating (cell phone, phone land line, and the cable Internet were all DOWN. I run my business from home and I was completely isolated from my customers. I was not very interested in a list of excuses for WHY theses services were unavailable. My only concern was WHEN will they be available, and what is being done to INSURE that it does not keep happening.

    1. We cannot agree more. I cannot quantify the amount of business we have lost due to the BEC outages and BTC cutting off our telephone lines. We do not have cable because they can’t get it to us. This has now been going on for years, and the amount of money that has been spent is astronomical. How much longer must the business suffer. Don’t they realize that tourism is the only source of income for the Bahamians.

      1. WTF!? I thought Cable Bahamas was granted a monopoly on the condition that they service ALL of The Bahamas. What happenend to that concept?

      2. @BLogger – again. why not do a little research? the gov’t told them to service ~95% of the Bahamian POPULATION. problem is……the majority of the population resides on a handful of islands. they exceeded their requirement a few years back. blame the gov’t for “carefully wording” it that way.

        1. What are you, the PR guy for Cable Bahamas? lol

          Figures lie and liars figure. They FINALLY bucked up and fullfilled their contract only two years ago (years late) and they did so only by manipulating the way the 95% is figured. They make money hand over fist, they should ensure that EVERYONE in The Bahamas receives Cable (this 2012 – Cable *is* TV) or we should not allow them to have a monopoly.

      3. I love that quote about liars and figures Blogger? Right on the money… if you’ll pardon the pun! Hmmmm….in a “perfect world” there would be legislation to permit the use of lie detectors on corporate executives and politicians. 🙂

  4. LOL – Some might debate that cable tv is indeed necessary.

    But seriously, Water and Sewerage could be added to this list. My water pressure goes to nothing at some of the most inconvenient times.

    1. The answer is always privatisation. It then gives rise to the possibility of competition, which is always good for the consumer. It also leaves no need to concern ourselves with the politics of the old “cookie jar” debate, which both parties have thrown about liberally, especially during elections. We must pray the PLP have the wisdom and courage to do this with our struggling government corporations, or we are destined to remain third world.

  5. yeah, i’m guessing that you didn’t read or listen to their press releases when the “switch” happened w/ Cable. first of all, that’s not their logo anymore. second of all, my God man….how hard is it to do research? they explained that some of their service providers refuse to deal with us directly & will only offer us service through their Caribbean/Latin American affiliates. everybody bitched about them “STEALING” signal….which was never the case. instead they paid millions to URCA for the providers to claim in penalty fees. then the providers just said NO MORE. take our Caribbean/Latin American feed or take nothing at all. so which would you rather have? significantly less channels or programming in English w/ some Spanish commercials? change the damn channel if it’s that serious.

    and you’re making it seem like every channel you go to is in Spanish. please, be truthful & admit that it’s at most 10 channels out of 400+ that have ANY type of Spanish on it.

    GTFOH w/ this BS.

    1. It is the premium channels that are in Spanish, you know the ones I pay extra for. I don’t really care if their logo changed, petty details. Nobody missed the concept here, not even you. I have done research and know the inner-workings of Cable. You are wrong to say they did not “steal” the signals. For years, they did. Only after URCA was created, did they start putting money into the penalty box. That money has never been accepted by the big boys. Had they not stolen the signals in the first place, the big boys in the U.S. may have been more willing to negotiate. Cable’s other explanatins are weak and irrelevant. Again, I do not care what their problems are. They are ripping me off and I do not appreciate that. If I walk into a restaurant and order fish and they serve me chicken, that is unacceptable. You are either ignorant of the history or you work for Cable Bahamas and are just towing the line. But thanks for your comments anyway.

    2. I have no pity for Cable Bahamas. My son worked in their IT section for a few years and worked tiresome shifts. He even used the family car to go on the road doing checks and repairs for customers using their internet service. He made himself available for shifts through the night and was unexpectedly laid off, after training young persons who were students just out of COB. A couple of his colleagues were shocked and told me they had expected him to be promoted. On numerous occasions we would find ourselves waiting as much as a half hour after he completed a shift “troubleshooting IT issues” via the phone, yet he was “written up” for being a few minutes late for a shift. A lady who had resigned as a supervisor told me she could no longer deal with having to “write up” staff even after they had been late due to situations beyond their control, like a traffic accident. After training the new recruits and being laid off I recall him saying “I should have seen it coming.” The problem is that by the time they give you a “warning” by letter (often) you cannot recall the “infraction” and have been given insufficient time to defend yourself. My honest opinion is that in order to cut costs Cable Bahamas find ways to “lay off” the folk who have reached their full potential, but must be offered the appropriate increases in salary. If they ever decide to increase the cost of their services consumers should ask themselves if it’s truly necessary and how does it affect the Bahamians they employ or just their investors and corporate employees? Shortly afterwards my son was hired by an international company as an IT associate which has increased his ability further. They obviously saw his potential.

  6. This may seem trivial but too bad. The TV channel Boomerang is supposed to show old cartoons like the Flintstones, Smurfs etc. But we get the Spanish version, which is like Hispanic Nickelodeon. FAIL no one wants to watch that. I want real Boomerang like they have on satellite.

    BEC is a Mafia operation. As a percentage of the average salary it is technically impossible for the average person to pay their bill in fuel every month. Yet BEC comes and strong arms ppl at the detriment of paying for anything else. Where are the efforts to make the bills reasonable?

    1. Several years ago the accounts department of BEC had a scandal where funds had supposedly been misappropriated. To date the public have no clue where the enormous amounts of money went, and no employees have been held accountable. This plus fuel costs along with favoured parties (politically) being allowed to run up massive bills while the average consumer’s current is cut off readily for non payment adds to the financial burden put on everyone today. The new government must make an effort to privatise BEC ASAP before we end up back in the “Dark Ages”!!

  7. Cable TV: unlike the others, you aren’t forced to use it; try satellite if you are unhappy. We moan if they don’t have a legal agreement with HBO and now you moan because they have the only legal agreement they could get, as part of the Latin American region. All the movies I watch are in English and I have only seen commercials in Spanish, and quite frankly, who cares what the commercials are saying. By the way, in proper English we say “fewer channels”, not “less channels”. There are still well over 100 channels with crystal clear pictures, and I still remember the days when you could only pick up channels 4,6,7 and 10 from the US on your big antenna if the wind was blowing the right way, so I say THANK YOU, Cable Bahamas and keep up the good work.

    BTC: they told us the upgrades were going to take all summer, so why not wait and see how things are in a couple of months? In this age of instant gratification we all need to learn that progress is only made with hard work; no pain, no gain. As for Monday’s total shut down, well, don’t you see the “total coincidence” that this happens on the same day that the London CEO of Cable and Wireless is in The Bahamas meeting with Perry Christie, and I guess you forgot that the same thing happened just days before the privatisation deal was signed…open your eyes! ToldYaSo, maybe you are proud of that kind of behaviour, but I’m not, and guess what? I’m Bahamian too.

    BEC: Yep, I have to agree, they are awful. But again, to ToldYaSo, in The Cayman Islands they have plenty of foreigners working in the power company and power cuts are so rare that they make national headlines. As Bahamians we need to improve our education, improve our work ethic and reduce our protectionist xenophobia. Then we really will see improvements in our utility providers.

    1. Thanks for your comments. Yes, I could use satellite but I had a contract with Cable Bahamas to provide me the service I pay for. Why should I, after several years, have to switch? What is wrong with expecting them to live up to the contract they agreed to?

      Also, lots of misinformation and Cable propaganda going around here. The reason the big companies would not negotiate with Cable Bahamas is because they DID steal the signals for years, just like they “stole” BTC’s Internet connection for a while. Had they respected intellectual property rights from the beginning, the US companies may have acted differently. We’ll never know will we.

    2. Bahamians first is a great policy, I’m all for it, but NOT if Bahamians can not do the job as well as a foreign employee. I agree that we need to get rid of our national xenophobia and hire the person who is best for the job, that is the ONLY way the country and these companies will improve. If Bahamians don’t like it, then get better. Oh and I’m Bahamian too… 100%

    3. I manage several large web servers and I am able to upgrade the system without knocking my customers’ websites offline. I live in the US and the phone companies there can make major upgrades, quickly and efficently, with little inconvenience to their customers. Why do Bahamians deserve less?

      If Monday’s massive meltdown was due to sabotage, then maybe BTC needs to review their security policies. If a few bad apples can disrupt the phone service of the entire nation, I’d say you have some serious vulnerabilities. Thank God, The Bahamas doesn’t have the threat of terrorism that we have here in the US. You’d be wiped out in a NY minute.

      1. The recent outages in Grand Bahama, due to copper thieves, are a good example. It is not like copper tiefin’ is new. Security at copper-laden installations should have been beefed up years ago and the recent problem would not have occurred. We are indeed lucky that terrorists are not targeting us. We are an easy target.

  8. It is about time! We, here on Exuma, have been suffering from power outages for years!

    Reimbursements? Ha! That is a joke. We have lost microwaves, televisions, printers, computers, refrigerators etc. Time after time… no reimbursements. And inconvenient? Everytime it is time to cook a meal… no electricity! But we have to pay the bill every month!

    The fuel adjustment charges are completely riduculous! The fuel adjustment charges are damn near the same as the electric usage charges.

    With the new change in the government… is there any relief in site? Please… I beg of you… we need relief from these crooks and their greed at BEC!

    Yes, I said we are from Exuma. Nobody wants to deal with us here on Exuma, from the tax department to hurricane relief. We are like the forgotten child of The Bahamas. We, here on Exuma, get no help… no respect for our problems, and certainly no relief in these issues.

    Are you listening Mr. Christie?

  9. I totally understand where this person who wrote this article came from. I do agree that if we the people are paying you the owners or shareholders of these companies for a service that you provide, we should receive it and if the service is not acceptable to the people we should be compensated. Take for instance, I am here trying to utilize the BTC service, trying to connect to the data plan with that company, I am unable to do so for it is telling me that I am already connected to their service. So I have a question for BTC. If I am connected, why in the hell I can not access the internet from your server? I hope the matters with all these companies be rectified and the Bahamian people be compensated for and inconvenienced caused by all three companies (BEC, BTC, Cable Bahamas).
    Signed: A distraught bill payer.

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