The Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) says it is “exceptionally pleased” with the decision of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) not to approve the US$100 million sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited (BNTCL) to the Kyffin Simpson-led SOL Group in its current form.
“BIM sees this ruling as small victory in our monumental task of bringing integrity to governance and the delivery of prudent and transparent stewardship when given the mandate to make decisions on behalf of the people of Barbados,” the little known political grouping said in a statement this evening following the FTC’s decision to approve the sale of the Government-owned entity only if certain conditions were met.
“Suffice to say that BIM has from inception called for the rejection of this transaction after its careful review of the documentation provided by the FTC which was prepared by the SOL Group for issuance to the Barbadian public for review where BIM has cited that this “deal of the century” would be extremely detrimental to our country,” the party said, adding that “we are happy that the concerns eventually highlighted by the FTC were in tandem with those raised by BIM in its petition and subsequent utterances in the media over a protracted period”.
Sol and the Government now have to meet to mull over the FTC’s stipulations, which include that there could be no 15-year moratorium on construction of new terminal facilities.
The FTC has also rejected SOL’s call for a 32 per cent pre-sale increase in throughput fees, on the basis that it could impinge on the provisions of the Fair Competition Act, which prohibits merger increases in prices.
In light of these objections, BIM is proposing that “an initial public offering be put out for USD shares in the BNTCL whereas USD$100 million can be raised through average Barbadians who may be interested in having shares in the ownership of the profitable BNTCL”.
It is contending that “national assets such as the BNTCL which has the potential to harm our foreign reserves and create unsavory monopolies, unfair competition and potential loss of revenue to the Government of Barbados should never be considered for sale”.
With elections around the corner, the party which was launched earlier this year is also promising that it would not permit now or in the future a sale of the BNTCL to be approved unless certain conditions were met and “Barbadians of all stations in life can own a piece of any such entity”.