Disingenuous, dastardly, hypocritical and less than honorable are the nicest words I can find to describe the comedic utterances of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition in respect of the sale of BTC to CWC.
The egregious pusillanimous threat of the moribund PLP to revisit, review and possibly rescind the BTC sale, should the electorate be hoodwinked and the party be returned to government, is no more credible than an earlier imprecatory threat by the PLP to revisit, review and possibly rescind the visionary plan reached by a prior FNM government with Sir Sol Kerzner that has transformed Paradise Island into a thing of beauty.
Before continuing with the issue of the BTC sale, an action both the PLP and FNM had committed to, a slight digression to present a historical perspective and my impression of what distinguishes the PLP from the FNM is in order.
As I recall, it was a newspaper column by “Simon” not long ago that not only aptly portrays the distinguishing characteristic of the two parties but also likely provides an insight into what would likely have been the eventual outcome should the secret deal negotiated by the PLP for the sale of BTC to Bluewater have been consummated.
That “pay some now, pay some later and pay the balance eventually” deal would have given the purchaser the right to appoint a majority of board members and take over management responsibility of the so called patrimony.
In effect, while the purchaser would pay for only a 49 percent interest, they would nevertheless, in essence, have been accorded the rights and privileges of a majority owner.
In the same way that the PLP no doubt preferred that their Bluewater deal would never have been exposed to the light of day, they likely winced and recoiled when “Simon” reminded readers of his column of the deal with Bahamas World Airways (BWA) by an earlier PLP government.
That deal derailed negotiations with Cathay Pacific Airways to assume a majority stake in Bahamas Airways.
For the benefit of those too young to remember, those who proclaim themselves to be nationalists and those who did not read the column, I note that the deal with the long defunct BWA has indeed left the broke bleeding patrimony called Bahamasair fully in the ownership of the Bahamian public.
But alas, at what a cost?
Had the deal with Cathay Pacific proceeded, while the Bahamian public (the government) would have retained a minority stake in the airline, it would have been a highly beneficial minority interest in a first-class profitable airline flying to multiple destinations around the globe rather than the 100 percent interest in a patrimony that continues to hang like the proverbial albatross around all our necks.
Concluding my digression, the point made during the parliamentary debate as to how under the FNM businesses owned by multiple Bahamian entrepreneurs now have a presence at the new U.S. departure lounge at LPIA, compared to the monopolistic catering arrangement that had been created at the airport by the PLP, make the distinguishing characteristic between the two parties crystal clear.
While the PLP’s legacy depicts an organization that has fostered the enrichment of a few, the FNM’s legacy depicts the empowerment of the many, the creation of a stock exchange, the making of shares available to the ordinary Bahamian man and woman who would never have had the opportunity for such investment opportunity.
Returning to the subject I strayed a bit from, the duplicitous, jingoistic vituperations of that group of individuals who readily parted with what most Bahamians would view as our most valuable patrimony, the highly desired Cable Beach ocean-front properties that the UBP, the “old” PLP and the FNM rightly refused to part with, fully warrants and justifies such individuals being characterized as and labeled dastards and hypocrites.
The hypocrisy of their actions and utterances is further magnified by their claim that the value of the BTC enterprise is $800 million. Yet they were about to sell a 49 percent stake for $260 million – $225 million effectively when 49 percent of the $70 million in BTC’s bank account is taken into consideration. You can fool most people some of the time, some people most of the time but heaven forbid to think you can fool most of the people most of the time.
An FNM government previously liberalized and transformed the broadcast sector landscape, a sector the PLP did nothing with or for but to jealously guard and use as a propaganda tool. Bahamians are no longer enslaved to a single, government-owned broadcast enterprise. The public has listening and viewing choices as a result of that transforming activity.
Limited liberalization of the telecommunications sector in the area of fixed-line and Internet services has also already been facilitated. With the sale of a 51 percent interest in BTC to CWC complete, the Bahamian public, visitors to our shores and our business sectors can now look forward to further improvements in customer service, faster delivery of new products to users, reduced cost for services and soon to follow will be the ability to choose a cable television service provider.
By: Michael R. Moss