NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government is ‘very disappointed’ over the disproportionate ratio of Bahamians versus non-Bahamians currently employed at The Pointe development, according to Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.
Foulkes suggested the developer and the government were at odds over how that ratio is to be determined, outside Cabinet yesterday.
“We are very disappointed at the amount of non-Bahamians at The Pointe,” he said.
“I think the percentages are around 30-70 in favor of non-Bahamians. It is supposed to be the exact opposite. We have been in talks with management at The Pointe. Their explanation is they have some 22 Bahamian subcontractors working at The Pointe and they are including those employees as part of the Bahamian component.”
Foulkes continued: “We are sitting down with them, we are talking to them. We did a survey as early as last week. It is not something that we are pleased with.
“Their figures conflict with our figures and it is something we are trying to work out. Their argument is that depending on where you come and depending on what the project is the Bahamian component is much higher. For example they are doing their swimming pools right now.
“They are counting all of the Bahamians working on the water system and the pool system as part of the Bahamian component,” he said.
“We are trying to work that out to see exactly what the situation is. I can say base don our figures and I have confidence in our officers, we are not pleased with the Bahamian component at The Pointe.”
The Pointe’s developer is China Construction America (CCA), Baha Mar’s controversial main contractor and the Hilton’s owner.
The Heads of Agreement for the project which was tabled in Parliament granted CCA between 400-500 work permits for the $200 million development.
The deal, dated June 18, 2015, stipulated that Bahamians would comprise 70 percent of the total construction workforce – once those employed by local sub-contractors were included in the calculation.
Bahamian sub-contractors were supposed to receive approximately 40 per cent of development work in various classifications. The multi-million dollar development has repeatedly been under the microscope for its labour component.