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Aug 18, 2021

PM Comments on Rural Development Smart Cell Phone Plans

Last week it made headlines that B.T.L. cellular accounts assigned to personnel within the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government were switched to Smart mobile accounts. In response, the Public Service Union issued a release stating that the decision is contrary to the government’s best interest and appears to be a conflict of interest.  C.E.O. Valentino Shal said on social media that the switch came because Smart was cheaper.  The Briceño Administration came under further criticism on Tuesday when the United Democratic Party criticized the move as, “nepotistic and hypocritical.”  Today, PM Briceño had his chance to explain the move.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“There is no policy that the government is moving from one company to the next company. The issue is simply a matter of economics. The C.E.O. from Rural Development saying that they have these thirty dollars plans for their workers that are out in the field. And they were complaining that their thirty dollars are up quickly. And they met with BTL and they met with Smart, and Smart gave them a better deal and that is why they decided to go down that route. But, I can tell you that there is not a single person in government or outside of government that can say I have called anyone of them to move their business from B.T.L. to Smart.”



“But, isn’t it true that smart was allowed to go into the Cabinet room to make a pitch for its various services?”


Prime Minister John Briceño

“Well, it is true that both companies were invited to make a pitch for the services, because there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the delivery of service, customer service from B.T.L. providers.  And so, both companies were invited to come in with the C.E.O.s, not with the ministers. I wasn’t even aware that that was going to take place until after the fact.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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