The Pointe development not in breach of contract, says Foulkes

Senator Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour.

The Department of  Labour has completed its investigation  into the current ratio of Bahamian to foreign workers at the development, according to Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

In a short, vague statement, Foulkes said, he expects to meet with the management of The Pointe development next week to discuss the findings.

The statement however did not reveal the outcome of the investigation and nor did it say if the findings would be made public.

“I wish to advise that the Ministry of Labour and the Department of Labour have completed their investigation with respect to formal complaints and public concern regarding the composition of the work force of The Pointe development in Downtown, Nassau,” Foulkes said.

“I will meet, along with senior officers of the ministry, with the management of The Pointe development next week.”

The investigation was spurred after speculation continued to mount concerning whether The Pointe development is in breach of its contract as it pertains to the ratio of Chinese to Bahamian workers.

Earlier this month, Immigration Minister Brent Symonette told Eyewitness News, that the government is currently unable to accurately track the ratio of Chinese to Bahamian workers employed at the development.

“The current computer system at the moment does not allow us to work figures to determine the actual worker ratio,” Symonette stated.

“The Department of Immigration is in the process of becoming fully computer automated by summer 2018.”

Robert Farquharson, director at the Department of Labor said emphatically two weeks ago, that the development is not in breach of its contract.

His comments were substantiated by statistics compiled in 2017.

“We would have conducted a site inspection at the development sometime last year. At that time, we confirmed that the terms within the heads of agreement (HOA), which was a 70:30 split, was in place,” confirmed Farquharson.

According to Farquharson, labour officials have not conducted a site inspection since then.

The Pointe development, which began in 2015, is governed by a heads of agreement (HOA) signed with the 2012 Christie Administration. But the HOA is not one the current Minnis administration favours, according to Foulkes.

“The prime minister is not happy with the ratio but it is an agreement that we met in place that the former government signed off on. We are uncomfortable with that ratio but we have to honor the agreement that the previous government made,” Foulkes said.

“We have no evidence to suggest that the 70:30 ratio is not being adhered to and there have been no complaints regarding that.”