Cautionary Tale for Barbados – How the MASSY|TSTT Merger Affects Us

Afra Raymond Citizen Advocate

The following blog by Afra Raymond is instructive for Barbadians because Trinidad and Tobago has implemented transparency legislation. Based on the many critiques by Afra of the integrity and transparency variety that have occurred in the T&T space, clearly the legislation has not efficiently served to deliver on the intent and the benefit to a society to hold public and private officials accountable.

What can we learn from the T&T experience so far?

TSTT’s share purchase agreement, announced on 2 May 2017, to buy Massy Communications Ltd has provoked a great deal of sceptical or negative public comment. I will not attempt a critique of that deal since it is well beyond my scope: in any case, the basic details have not been disclosed. We have been told that the price is $255M and that the deal is conditional upon the approval of the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT).

Read the full text of Afra Raymond’s blog – How the Massy – TSTT Merger Affects Us

20 thoughts on “Cautionary Tale for Barbados – How the MASSY|TSTT Merger Affects Us

  1. This piece forces the question from BU. Why is the due diligence on the BNTCL deal taking the FTC so long to conclude? Is there something the public should be made aware? If it was a slam dunk deal as the MoF and government operatives sold it to Barbadians why has the FTC not rubber stamped the deal?

    The delay of the USD100 million proceeds in the treasury continues to squeeze the government. This is a bid deal by Barbados standard. Why is the media, Opposition and other stakeholders not shouting from the Hyatt top about this matter. It is not just about the proceeds, the lack of transparency around the deal given the interlocking issues comes into play.

  2. TSTT is conglomorate…add Massy and they become a many tentacled octopus…unstoppable.

    Due diligence is never factored in, it is very new and  a foreign concept to the island, getting speedy due diligence will be problematic.

  3. David why should we be bothered by such small issues? Do you not see that we are preoccupied with the humongous task of preserving the moral fabric of society? How is this task accomplished? By training our focus on the sexual orientation of others, while the number of strip clubs in Barbados about to match that of the rum shops….We is strange people fah trute!

    • @Hamilton

      It is said that what separates humans from other animals is that we are suppose to be more intelligent. Observe animals in the wild and see how they are always adjusting to their environment in order to survive. This is not an ideal comparison to make but the obvious point is that an animal that repeats a mistake in the wild will pay often with their life.

      In the civilize world we repeat mistakes often because of rote behaviour and expect to not be affected usually in a negative manner.

      What is happening in T&T is very instructive for Barbados, we have an opportunity with the will to make adjustments. It is obvious the Stuart administration does not have the appetite to aggressively pursue implementing transparency legislation. In fact it was probably never the plan. it was a ruse to win an election. Mia has been mouthing that she will address it. We need to hear more from her. The fringe parties can help with pursuing this agenda.

      On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 11:06 AM, Barbados Underground wrote:


  4. Stuart is a schoolteacher.Nothing more,nothing less.Sinckler is a wild coot.Nothing more,nothing less.Darcy Boyce is a quisling.Nothing more,nothing less.Jepter Ince is a brute,nothing more,nothing less.Wild boys,hooligans,poor rakey peeps who continually put the party’s interest before the country’s.Garbage in,garbage out.Hasten the day of resurrection of vision,commitment,proficiency,honesty and good leadership reminiscent of the early 40’s to the millennium excluding the like it or lump it errant school teacher.

  5. TSTT (Telecommunication Service of Trinidad and Tobago) is not a conglomerate but the telephone company that was a joint venture between cable and wireless and the TT Government, the same as BET ( Barbados External Telecommunications). From what was published it does not appear to be an amalgamation of the two but TSTT buying out a division of Massy, but I could be wrong. An interesting point is that C&W has been ordered to sell it stake in TSTT by their equivalent of the FTC because it was bought out by Flow who is their competitor.

  6. Goddard Enterprises Ltd. has sold its majority interest in International Brand Developers N.V, owners of the Cockspur rum brand.

    It seems as though all of Barbados’ indigenous brands are being sold.

    Barbados National Bank, Barbados Shipping & Trading, Mount Gay Rum, Insurance Corporation of Barbados, Mutual Bank, Stokes & Bynoe, M.E.R Bourne, Banks Holdings Ltd., and Pine Hill Dairy have all been sold.

    The time being (?), all we may have left are Cave Shepherd & Co. Ltd; R.L Seale and his Old Brigand & E.S.A. Fields rums; and nuf, nuff, Chefette Restaurants.

  7. Have you any idea how far reaching TSTT is, it is a parent company for tekephone and telecommunications

    . Think Verizon and Nynex having to service an area the size of Brooklyn.

    It’s not the pea sized companies found on a tiny island.

    bmobile is a mobile phone service provider of Trinidad and Tobago, operating as a division of TSTT.

    current bmobile logo
    Private (subsidiary of TSTT)
    Industry Wireless telecommunications
    Predecessor TSTT GSM
    Headquarters Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
    Area served
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Key people
    Roberto Peón, Chief Executive Officer
    Lisa Agard, Executive Vice President of Bmobile Services, Company Retail Distribution and Vice President Legal
    Products Mobile telephony
    Number of employees
    2,300 (TSTT employees)[1]
    Parent TSTT

    Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (generally known as TSTT) is a large telephone and Internet service provider in Trinidad and Tobago. The company, which is jointly owned by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and Cable & Wireless, was formed out of a merger of Telco (Trinidad and Tobago Telephone Company Limited) and Textel (Trinidad and Tobago External Telecommunications Company Limited). TSTT no longer holds a monopoly in fixed-line telephone services due to FLOW introducing a fixed-line service of their own, and their cellular monopoly was broken in June 2005 when licenses were granted to Digicel and Laqtel.

  8. Definition of conglomerate…..

    a number of different things or parts that are put or grouped together to form a whole but remain distinct entities.

  9. @ww&c
    Key word is “different”…the majority in one area… communications…doesn’t pass the conglomerate acid test. They could be smaller, but operate in insurance, food and retail and be deemed a conglomerate.

    @Artax…once the WIRR was sold the brand was next. They opted to package WIRR with National Rums likely cause the latter was difficult to unload, and the French buyer has its own brands.

    FTC cannot win? Approve fast and public will say it was a fix, take longer and ????

  10. Northern…how do you know TSTT dont have other subsidiaries through diversification….like they are planning with Massy.

  11. Conglomerates are well known for diversifying into medical equipment,  farming equipment,  farm lands, real estate, supermarkets…insurance companies, medical research companies, scientific companies…..and  a long list of diverse portfolios, they trade on the stock exchange…they continue to diversify. …that is what intelligent business mpdels do, acquire other companies, start up other companies, whether publicly or as silent partners.

     Trinidadians  are known to be some of the most proactive business  people on earth.

    CL Financial was a conglomerate, with CLICO as  one of its subsidiaries…investments encompassed the Caribbean, South America, I believe Central America and definitely North America….where Duprey is based.

    Intelligent companies would not be intelligent companies unless they diversify.

  12. I even forgot the Trinidad & Tobago main staple of oil and gas.

    Can anyone see a conglomerate like TSTT in Trinidad not holding an oil and gas investment portfolio…that will never happen.

    I see many of you on here are not business people and only dispute a comment… just because you can….sad.

  13. Artax on June 23, 2017 at 12:54 PM wrote “It seems as though all of Barbados’ indigenous brands are being sold.”

    It is instructive that past generations of Bajans without the benefit of

    university education,
    management training,
    engineering degrees,
    electronic telecommunications,
    international trading agreements,
    intellectual property laws
    and a host of national agencies (ministries, embassies, BNSI, IDC etc)

    established and developed a number of products and companies of great value.

    Isn’t it a shame that the present generation with the “benefit” of all those things listed not only have NOT established and developed new companies and products of value but have SOLD what the past generations developed?

  14. Ping Pong June 24, 2017 at 10:10 AM #

    Correct me if I am wrong… understanding was that GEL sold the brand name….not the formula/product.

  15. Vincent Haynes

    if you bought a brand name what would you expect to have acquired?

    By the way GEL sold West Indies Rum (the former production company) to a French firm who did NOT want the Cockspur brand.

    • In fairness to GEL it is one of the last companies to tweak its operating model to protect its P&L. The global market place is a seriously competitive place.

Leave a comment, join the discussion.