Tribune 242 writes that the Bahamian government and Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) are aiming to finalise the controversial ‘2% deal’ over the ownership of Bahamas Telecommunication Company (BTC) on 21 July. According to a government spokesperson, the signing was delayed from the previously scheduled date of 3 July to ensure the presence of prime minister Perry Christie at the ceremony, as the former date had conflicted with the PM’s attendance at the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) Heads of Government summit in Antigua & Barbuda.
Having pledged to return BTC to Bahamian ownership as part of his election campaign in 2012, Mr Christie announced that the government had negotiated the return of a 2% stake in the company to the Bahamian people in January 2014. The plan will see CWC establish a charitable trust, the BTC Foundation, to which it would hand over shares equivalent to just under a 2% stake. The foundation would reap the dividends from the shares and use the funds to invest in the Bahamas. Under the deal, CWC would retain management control of the operator and would still be the majority shareholder. It had previously been hoped that the deal would be concluded by March 2014, but that date passed without event. Indeed, Mr Christie’s government faced accusations that it had lied about the deal after CWC’s financial report for the 2013-2014 year omitted any mention of the BTC agreement.