The appointment of outspoken political activist Omar Archer as Contractor’s Registrar at the Ministry of Works has set tongues wagging in recent days. And, as questions continue to mount over his appointment, Archer told Eyewitness News on Wednesday that he is not only qualified but has been a part of the construction industry for more than four decades.
“From the age of nine I have learned the trade,” Archer explained.
“I have been a mason [since the age of] 10, a carpenter since 12 and my first foreman job came at the age of 14.
“I helped to build the East Street South Police Station, the library on East Street South, and the Sandilands Primary School, so my experience goes way, way back.”
Despite his experience, Archer’s appointment came as a shock to many as he has had several run-ins with the law in recent years. In 2017, he was convicted of threatening to harm a senior police officer. He also made headlines when he jumped from a second-story window of the Magistrate’s court in an attempt to evade police.
Last week in a resignation letter, former Bahamas Contractors Association (BCA) President Leonard Sands accused Archer of being behind the “sinister and unprecedented” political pressure that forced him to resign, but Archer on Wednesday denied such assertions.
“As it relates to Mr. Sands and the BCA, whatever decision they came up with was internal and had nothing to do with the Ministry of Works or myself,” he insisted.
Interim BCA president Michael Pratt said the Association has full confidence in Archer’s ability. He admitted, however, that he is not sure if Archer is qualified.
“We never checked his resume, we were only informed as you were of his (Archer’s) appointment so we do not know about his qualifications; that I would have to guide you to ask the Minister about,” Pratt said.
“The Registrar keeps the registration of our members and the licensed contractors in the country and that can be handled quite capably by anyone the minister appoints.”