NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A former Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) president yesterday said he was ‘personally aggrieved’ that the Baker’s Bay development in Abaco was still allowed to bring in foreign construction workers in the midst of the country’s current high rate of unemployment.
Social media was abuzz yesterday over images of dozens of Mexican nationals who had arrived in the country en route to Abaco for the construction of the Bakers Bay project.
Yesterday, Leonard Sands, immediate past president of the BCA, said: “I do recall that they had made application a while back Backer’s Bay had told the government that in order to complete a certain part of the the project on time they needed to increase their labour, they made application and then COVID-19 happened.
“All of us who are interested in seeing persons working in the industry thought that those applications wouldn’t have been considered any more because of the employment right now reportedly in the range of 50 percent.
Sands added that he “strongly disagrees” with the suggestion that Bahamians cannot do the work or complete it in the prescribed time frame.
“I disagree strongly with that suggestion,” he continued.
“What measure is there to say that a Mexican construction worker can do a job quicker and or at a higher standard than a Bahamian. This is quite alarming. I am sure that Bahamians across all sectors of the workforce are disappointed. Can a Bahamian go to Mexico and find work? I am personally aggrieved by this. This is disappointing.”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis recently stated that Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club is expected to spend $400 million over three years on post-Dorian reconstruction work in Abaco.
Minnis noted Bahamians currently make up 80 percent of persons employed at the property.
During his wrap up to the 2020/2021 budget communication, Minnis said: “Baker’s Bay has commenced its reconstruction following Hurricane Dorian.
“It is continuing its expansion plans. These works are estimated at $400 million over three years. I am advised that 472 persons are employed property wide , 80 percent of which are Bahamians.”