EDITOR, The Tribune.
Is the Prime Minister seeking to mislead Bahamian workers into believing that he did not receive prior notice of plans to terminate 140 workers from the Baha Mar? If that is so, I do not believe him.
The Minister of Labour admits that he (the Minister) was aware of the planned layoffs. If the Minister was aware, then the Prime Minister was aware. Any claim to the contrary cannot be believed. Indeed, I believe it safe to say that on each and every occasion when this Minister of Labour has acted improperly or failed to act as required, he has acted with the full support and approval of the Prime Minister. That is the only explanation for his being re-nominated as a PLP candidate following the Anna Nicole Smith debacle, his reappointment to Cabinet on the PLP’s return to Government last year, the absence of any reprimand in connection with the NIB hullabaloo and now the silence following the dismissal of 140 hotel workers without prior notice.
In ungracious and inappropriate remarks at the Chinese New Year celebrations, the prime minister placed the blame for the dismissals without notice on a less than ideal relationship between the Government and Baha Mar. He expressed a desire to have “an incredibly closer” relationship with Baha Mar. The dictionary defines “incredible” as unbelievable, implausible, absurd, inconceivable or improbable”. What exactly is the prime minister saying about the kind of relationship he seeks with Mr Izmirlian and Baha Mar? I believe that public statements made by both men over the years demonstrate that they have always had a very close relationship.
All Bahamians also know that Robert “Sandy” Sands, the face of Baha Mar in its relations with the Government, is a PLP Stalwart Counselor. Surely Mr Sands could not be accused of acting against the best interests of a PLP Government. Highly regarded among all those in the tourism sector as a most competent hotel manager and administrator, we must all believe that Mr Sands would be especially motivated to ensure that his employer and the Government were always on the best possible footing.
That he would agree that 140 persons be sent home from Baha Mar without prior notice to the Government is not believable. The Prime Minister owes an apology to many people for his mishandling of this labour issue beginning with the dismissed workers, the Chinese Ambassador whose celebration he marred, Mr Izmirlian and Mr Sands.
February 14, 2013.