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Bahamian Public Fed Up With Union Threats

Big-mouth union leader, Bernard Evans needs to apologise to union members and the Bahamian public for his irresponsible and reckless “small Egypt” statement.

Evans, who is president of the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU), said Tuesday that if the the sale of BTC to Cable & Wireless goes through, his union would turn the country into a “little Egypt”.

“We will continue our stance. The will of the people is the strength of the people. And I guess if The Bahamas is ready and the government is ready to see a small Egypt then they gonna get it,” the reckless union leader said as he stood on the steps of the Churchill Building in downbtown Nassau.

“Throughout the ensuing days and weeks to come until the debate begins, we will continue to agitate,” he added.

Senator Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour and Social Development responded with a no-nonsense, crystal clear message to union boss Evans.

Speaking at a meeting of the Golden Isles Constituency Association, Foulkes demanded an apology from Mr Evans over his “reckless” threats of civil unrest similar to the violent protests in Egypt.

Foulkes said Evans’ “Egypt” remark was made to incite social unrest and to destabilize the Government and the Bahamian economy.

“The security of thousands of Bahamian jobs depends on political and social stability,” said Senator Foulkes. He said many people were killed and hundreds injured in Egypt in recent weeks. And riots cost Egypt over $300 million a day.

To urge members of the BCPOU to engage in tactics similar to Egypt’s protesters is unbecoming of a union leader, Foulkes said.

While admitting that most trade union leaders in The Bahamas are mature and responsible, the labor minister urged Mr Evans to withdraw his “offensive comment and apologize to the Bahamian people.”

But Evans refused to apologize, saying instead that, “I will do no such thing. What I said was those persons in Egypt who rose up against oppression, against a dictatorial type of governance, were very peaceful in the beginning when they started. It was only the latter days when the armed forces and/or proponents of Mubarak started to confrontations with those persons that it became out of hand.”

Most of the Bahamian public and even many union members are shocked and disgusted with Evans’ threats. Instead of garnering public support, Mr Evans is turning the Bahamian public against the unions. The majority of Bahamians support the sale of BTC to C&W and look forward to lower costs and an improved telecommunications sector.

Some Bahamians have decided to reflect Mr Evans’ threats right back at him.

“He turn this country into a ‘little Egypt’, we gon give that jackass the Jimmy Hoffa treatment,” said one man sarcastically, referring to the disappearance of the once legendary union leader.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has made it clear that the government will not be “derailed”, from its efforts to sell 51 percent of BTC to Cable and Wireless Communications for $210 million.

“The Government is fully satisfied that this is the best transaction for The Bahamas and will not be derailed in doing so by any minority group in the society. Is is consistent with our vision for the future of BTC. It is now time for BTC to be privatized,” the PM said.

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