Liberty CEO bemoans performance of BTC employees

BTC suggests Nair’s comments were “taken out of context”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As the bargaining agent of Bahamas Telecommunication Company (BTC) employees labelled Liberty Latin America Ltd. CEO Balan Nair’s disparaging remarks of the company and its associates as misplaced and “improper”, BTC said yesterday that those comments were “taken out of context”.

During a recent Liberty Global town hall meeting in Jamaica, Nair said BTC is one of Liberty Latin America’s lowest performing subsidiaries.

He linked the performance of the company directly to its employees.

Nair, who was captured on video which has made the rounds of social media, also said that during a recent meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, the prime minister lobbied for more Bahamians to be employed.

However, he jeered that Minnis was “not trying to make eye contact” with BTC CEO Garry Sinclair, a Jamaican national.

Nair laughed as he recalled the meeting.

He said, “You can see him (the prime minister) standing there; his crown jewel, BTC, is being run by a Jamaican, who is sitting right across from him and he brought up more than once, ‘we need more Bahamians [at BTC]’.”

In an interview with Eyewitness News Online, Bahamas Communication and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) President Dino Rolle said the CEO’s recent comments come just months after he made disparaging remarks against BTC employees while in Puerto Rico.

During the town meeting in Jamaica, Nair said,” We were just in The Bahamas on Monday and Tuesday and it’s like a night a day difference.

“My biggest wish is that one day they (Bahamian employees) would say, ‘we can be like Jamaica, we can do what they have done in this country’.

“The people in The Bahamas are no different from the people in Jamaica; it’s all about attitude.

“If you feel like you can win, you will win.”

In a press statement yesterday, BTC asserted that Nair’s comments were “taken out of context and do no not convey the full essence of the message that was delivered”.

“BTC maintains a good working relationship with the government of The Bahamas and will continue to work together to drive economic growth,” read the statement.

“Furthermore, Liberty Latin America is extremely supportive of BTC, values its employees, and remains committed to building a culture of high performance where colleagues are able to thrive and deliver moments that matter to our customers.”

Nair also suggested at the town meeting that there is a vast difference between stores in The Bahamas compared to those in Jamaica.

He specifically referenced the flagship location in the Mall at Marathon.

He said there is a certain excitement amongst sales associates in Jamaica and their willingness to assist customers, but the same could not be said for the main BTC location in The Bahamas.

Offering an explanation for the difference, Nair said, “That difference doesn’t come from the top, that difference doesn’t come from anywhere other than the heart; employees themselves.

However, Rolle said if the company is not performing, the responsibility should be laid solely at the feet of its executives.

“The CEO’s position, the chief financial officer and chief technology and innovation officer — those are the leadership positions in this company and if there is any inefficiency that Mr. Nair is speaking of, then he needs to look [there].

“That is where the inefficiency is coming from.”

The union president also recommend that the government does its due diligence.

“They are paid annually two per cent of the gross to manage this company,” Rolle said.

“Government needs to ask if it is getting value for money with its deal with Liberty Global.”

The opposition also lamented Nair’s comments yesterday.

In a separate statement, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) slammed the Liberty CEO for his criticisms of BTC employees and what it said was disrespectful remarks geared toward the prime minister.

“The comments made to a group of Jamaican employees of the company are derogatory and also disrespectful to the Office of the Prime Minister,” the PLP said.

Rolle agreed.

“I think the prime minister needs to address that because as offended as I was about what he said about BTC and my members, I was more embarrassed for the prime minister of The Bahamas,” he said.