I write to respond to an article titled “Shareholder-monitors-sale-talks” in yesterday’s Samoa Observer.
The article confirms that not only is the largest local shareholder in Bluesky, the Unit Trust of Samoa (U.T.O.S) aware and consenting to the sale of Bluesky to Fiji Government controlled Amalgamated Telecom Holdings, they are waiting in the wings to partner with them.
The Acting CEO, Akenese Hansell is quoted in the article as saying, “The sale… does not affect… UTOS investment in Bluesky…”
My interpretation: it’s no big deal, the Fijian Government are welcome here. She then says, “[UTOS] will explore possible new investment opportunities in Bluesky.” Translation: Actually, we’d love to partner with them.
According to UTOS website, their vision is: “To be the leading investment vehicle in Samoa that provides a smart investment for a better future.” Is UTOS willing to put Samoan eggs in the basket of Pacific bully, Bainimarama? Is this the smart choice for Samoa’s future? The nonchalant response given by the Acting CEO makes it clear that they don’t see it is a problem.
The UTOS website also states, that UTOS was set up to “promote wider participation of residents in the future development of Samoa.” The Samoanews this week reported that a local investor bid was declined by Amper. Undoubtedly, as a significant shareholder and if UTOS is following Amper negotiations as closely as they say they are, they must have known about that. So, the question begs, is UTOS supporting foreign Government ownership in major development assets in Samoa over local ownership? Based on what the ACEO said, it sure looks that way.
It’s hard to see how our “investment experts” at UTOS can believe that partnering with a foreign Government known for its corruption and instability is a smart decision for the future of Samoa.
And it’s even more difficult to see how they can opt for that option when there was clearly a local alternative. Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do? Promote local ownership?
Lastly, they say on their website that UTOS is “an investment vehicle for an ordinary Samoan out in the village, a small farmer or fisherman.” UTOS, are you really going to give our village farmers and fisherman’s money to the Fijian Government?