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BTC Sold To Cable & Wireless?

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has confirmed that he has given the green light to the privatization committee of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, (BTC) authorizing it to discuss terms of a memorandum of understanding for the sale of a stake in the company to Cable & Wireless (C&W).

That agreement is likely to take place in the first week of November.

“We expect the memorandum of understanding to be agreed between now and the first week in November. The timeline for a formal contract for sale will be several months down the road before that is completed,” Mr Ingraham told the The Nassau Guardian in an exclusive interview.

Meanwhile, the Tribune reports that A 51 percent stake in BTC has been sold and the new owner will gain operational control of BTC.

The paper also suggests that a meeting was called for BTC staff at the company’s headquarters on John F Kennedy Drive for 7 o’clock this morning.

The Ingraham administration has repeatedly expressed its desire to liberalize the country’s
telecommunications sector.

It is expected that the sale of the majority stake in BTC would bring in more than $200 million to the government. However, the details of this latest arrangement have yet to be finalised.

Mr Ingraham has said the government intends to use proceeds from the sale of BTC to pay down debt.

Union leaders are not thrilled with the selection of Cable & Wireless as the buyer.

Bernard Evans, president of the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union, has said on several occasions that the union would not welcome C&W.

“Their track record as far as labor relations is not good and even given the potential model that they want to implement in terms of regional governance and control, it is not conducive to the Bahamian psyche that I know, that, we know,” Evans has said previously.

The prime minister has promised to meet with the BTC unions to, hopefully, moderate their position.

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