The debate over the sale of 51 percent of The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to Cable & Wireless Communications has exposed the hypocrisy and dysfunction of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), The Free National Movement (FNM) claim in a statement.
The statement said, now that the sale of BTC has been approved by Parliament and the liberalization of the tele-communications sector has become a reality, during the process it has come to light that the PLP attempted to manipulate the debate in the eyes of the public.
However according the statement, despite the party’s “desperate and unprincipled” attempts, its strategies failed.
“Even as the Opposition struggled to test which of their manufactured arguments might resonate with the public, its credibility sank even lower, its hypo-crisy became even more blatant, and any pretense that it could mount a credible government vanished,” the FNM said.
The statement said that the majority of Bahamians are in support of the new partnership with BTC and Cable and Wireless Communications.
It claims that the PLP were not able to convince the Bahamian public to take its stance and instead resorted to unscrupulous measures.
“Unable to win the BTC debate on the merits, the PLP resorted to organizing and paying demonstrators, and promoting unruly behavior,” the FNM said. “The first demonstration on Bay Street spun out of control with the police and the precincts of the House threatened. The second demonstration was a flop.”
According to the FNM the PLP also showed its disregard for the Royal Bahamas Police Force when it failed to condemn mob behaviors during the BTC protests and did not condemn a senior PLP MP’s attack on Special Intelligence Branch’s (SIB) integrity.
The statement further said that days before the 2007 election PLP leader Perry Christie cabinet made the decision to give control of BTC to Bluewater and the party still refuses to enlighten the Bahamian public “who had their hands in the Bluewater cookie jar.”
The FNM said that despite the Cabinet’s decision on the eve of the 2007 election, Christie “stopped, reviewed and canceled” the decision to sell BTC to Bluewater, noting that the prime minister does not have the authority to unilaterally stop a Cabinet decision.
Again, the FNM pointed to what it said is the party’s hypo-crisy, noting that PLP parliamentarians spoke about transparency during the BTC debate while Alfred Grey, Melanie Griffin, Glenys Hanna-Martin, Allyson Maynard-Gibson, B.J. Nottage, Vincent Peet. Alfred Sears, Fred Mitchell and Cynthia Pratt agreed to hand over the company that they say is part of the national patrimony.
“Though Perry Christie and Obie Wilchombe were absent from cabinet, they share collective responsibility for the decision,” the statement said.
It noted that PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts also voted in favor of Bluewater but has been relatively silent during the BTC debate.
“Mr. Christie’s admission that he stopped a decision of his cabinet demonstrates just how dysfunctional and divided was his government. Not only was he not in control of his government, his colleagues also had little respect for his authority and leadership,” the statement charged.
The statement noted that Christie said he felt that the deal with Bluewater would have compromised the PLP administration because sitting PLP members were involved, however it maintains that it would have been a disaster “filling the coffers of selfish interests who like to talk Bahamian, but who often treat Bahamians with contempt.”
“We do know the name of Bluewater’s lawyer, who was none other than PLP Deputy Leader Phillip “Brave” Davis, who helped negotiate a sweetheart deal for his clients. Under that deal $70 million dollars of BTC money would have been placed under the control of Bluewater’s principals. Under the new BTC-Cable & Wireless partnership agreed to by the FNM that money goes to the Bahamian people,” the statement said.
The FNM said that as the next general elections draw near more light will be shined on how the PLP were prepared to “auction off” national interests with the Bluewater deal.
“In that deal, a few select individuals and their cronies would have filled their bank accounts and pockets at the expense of the Bahamian people,” the statement said.
By Cleopatra Murphy
The Freeport News