Bahamians lack skill for The Pointe construction

Senator Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour.

There are currently not enough specialized Bahamian workers to complete this present stage of construction at The Pointe, according to Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

According to a report compiled by the Department of Labour, there are 73 non-Bahamian workers and 24 Bahamians presently on site, despite the heads of agreement (HOA) calling for a 70 per cent Bahamian and 30 per cent non-Bahamian workforce.

However, Foulkes said, the Ministry of Labour has concluded that The Pointe is not in breach of the HOA.

In a statement released to the press, Foulkes said he met with Daniel Liu, president of The Pointe Development, his vice president and legal counsel on Wednesday.

“The explanation noted is that the present stage of construction, representing the second phase of The Pointe Development, is the erection of the superstructure,” the statement read.

“This requires specialized post tension concrete structure workers to complete this phase in a very short time frame.

“Qualified Bahamians have and continue to be sought. In the following phases, substantially more Bahamian workers and contractors will be engaged in order to comply with the overall 70 per cent Bahamian and 30 per cent non-Bahamian workforce composition. The Pointe development construction is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2020.

“With factors related to the technical aspects of the present construction phase and the expected long term buildup of Bahamian workers, the Ministry of Labour has concluded that The Pointe Development is not in breach of the Heads of Agreement.”

The Pointe is expected to employ 500 full time works when completed, according to the statement.

“The British Colonial Hotel complex, also owned by the developer of The Pointe, has two non-Bahamian workers and 275 Bahamian employees. Upon completion, the hotel will boast 500 full time Bahamian workers,” Foulkes said.

“The Ministry of Labour, and by extension, the Department of Labour, remain committed to employment and contractual opportunities for Bahamians.”

Last month, after speculation continued to mount over whether The Pointe was in breach of its contract, Immigration Minister Brent Symonette told Eyewitness News that the government was currently unable to accurately track the ratio of Chinese to Bahamian workers at the development.

The Pointe development, which began in 2015, is governed by a HOA signed with the 2012 Christie Administration.