Headlines in the local daily shouted “RoadBlock” in BTC sale Negotiations a day after the PM revealed that Cable and Wireless wanted to fire a third of the staff at BTC, which he was unwilling to accept.
“Cable and Wireless does want to fire one-third of the staff at BTC and the government isn’t prepared to do that – if they are able to come to terms with that then we will go ahead with the deal, if not, then no deal. But we are not prepared to fire 30 per cent of the staff at BTC.”
Reading the article a question popped into my head; Why do we need Cable &Wireless;? What exactly is Cable &Wireless; going to bring to the Bahamas?
Last year and early this year I happen to spend several weeks in The Cayman Islands on Business. The major telephone company there was Digi-cell, which blew my socks off with their service. The other company was Lime .
The locals that i worked with told me that Lime was not popular. That Lime was formerly Cable&Wireless; and the company had changed its name because it had become known as “Cable&Wutless;”. In their opinion Digi-cell ran cirlcles around C&W.;
So that brings me to my question, why do we need Cable &Wirless;? From all accounts this company has a terrible reputation throughout the carribbean. I would say it’s reputation is no better than that of BTC.
Personally i feel that BTC has made great strides over the years. I was particularly impressed with the strides the company made under the leadership of Mr Leon R. Williams. It was under his leadership that most of the advances that you see at BTC today took place;
During his Tenure as President & CEO BTC revenue Increased from $294 Million in 2005 to $360 Million in 2007 (+22%) and profits went from $34 million to $49 million (+44%) during the same period.
Mr Leon Williams was Summarily Fired in April 2008, reason being that he did not have the capacity to move the company forward with its future plans.
Now just two short years later BTC is in the red and the Prime Minister is making these kinds of statements;
“Monopolies are not sustainable, the profits from Batelco will continue to decline – that’s a reality.”
How is that a reality Mr. Prime Minister? How is it that a company that saw its profits grow by almost 50% in just three years is now an unsustainable company?
There can only be two answers
- Mismanagement – In which those responsible should be held accountable and fired. If the Government is to blame You should show real leadership by taking responsibility and presenting a plan to return the company to profitability
- Economy – If its due to the poor global economy than management should do what every other corporate entity would do; cut cost and look for ways to increase efficiency. If its due to the economy than we can surmise that when the economy recovers BTC will again be profitable. So why sell the company now at a low price. Basic business principle is to buy low and sell high… even the straw vendors knew that.
So which is it?
This brings me to my next question; What will C&W; aka “Cable & Wutless” do for BTC that we can not do for ourselves?
The only benefit i can see is getting BTC out of Government hands so that a private company can make the tough decisions that Government is incapable of making.
If thats the case, why not just list BTC on the BSX, selling 51 percent to the Bahamian public and allow a Independent (of government) management team hired by a board of
directors to run the company?
By the way, if you believe we need Cable & Wireless for advances in technology think again. BTC has kept pace with privately owned companies throughout the Caribbean for several decades now.
Why not just hire consultants and take their highly paid advice like the government did in 1999 when Mr. Williams was promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations & Chief Operations Officer (COO) of BTC?
— Straight Talk —