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Baha Mar Workers Paid After Three-Day Delay

FORMER State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez.

FORMER State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez.

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

Despite a three-day delay, Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez confirmed yesterday that all Baha Mar staff members have been paid their salaries by the government.

Speaking with reporters outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Mr Gomez said the majority of Baha Mar’s Bahamian employees had their salaries directly deposited to their bank accounts, but due to some challenges some of the workers were paid with cheques.

The Tribune understands the workers were paid for a two-week period.

However, The Tribune received reports that a handful of persons were not paid their full salaries. One woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she was only paid $83, less than half of what she was owed. Another employee, allegedly only received a cheque for $109, with no explanation as to why he was not paid his full salary.

However, a source in the Ministry of Finance said: “Baha Mar employees were paid, based on the information the government received from the resort.”

Meanwhile, Mr Gomez also denied that the government was at fault for the delay in salary payments to Baha Mar workers.

“What had happened was we had requested the information from Baha Mar. Some of it was provided last week. The rest of it was provided on Monday,” Mr Gomez said.

“We immediately contacted our bankers and because of the nature of the information, it wasn’t possible to immediately effect payment to the individual employees. So pretty much all of the employees will have been paid today (Tuesday) by wire transfer to their particular bank accounts and in relation to about 80 people, they will receive cheques.”

When asked if the pay out included salaries to the resort’s foreign workers, Mr Gomez said he did not want to comment.

Asked if he thought Baha Mar intentionally withheld the information, Mr Gomez said: “I don’t want to make any comment about that, all I can say is that we got some information and then later we got the rest of the information.”

On Monday night, Baha Mar slammed the government for “concocting a sideshow for its own purposes” hours after the Christie administration accused the resort of being slow to provide necessary information, thus delaying salary payments to the resort’s employees.

Baha Mar also denied the government’s assertion, stressing that the resort turned over the relevant documents last week only to be subjected to repeated requests for more information.

Baha Mar said on Monday: “The delay in Baha Mar citizens being paid is a government of the Bahamas – not a Baha Mar – issue. Baha Mar essentially provided the government over five days ago the information the government requested. Subsequently, the government has kept coming back to Baha Mar continually for more information, even as the government announced in the newspapers this morning that it had made arrangements for prompt payment.

“Each time Baha Mar has provided as quickly as possible the requested information. Baha Mar finds it disgraceful that the salaries due Baha Mar employees have not yet been paid. Baha Mar was fully prepared to pay these salaries in a timely manner having received approval from the US court under Chapter 11 (bankruptcy) to do so. The government however saw fit, apparently for its own reasons, to participate in the obstruction of this process and has to date been unable to deliver on its promise regarding Baha Mar citizens.”

The government previously said it had paid the employees last Friday, a day after the employees’ payday.

Comments

Sickened 4 years, 5 months ago

"When asked if the pay out included salaries to the resort’s foreign workers, Mr Gomez said he did not want to comment."

Why the secret? Did you pay the foreigners or not? It's our f'in money... tell us what you did with it!!!!!

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TalRussell 4 years, 5 months ago

How did "citizens" Baha Mar, suddently jump the cue and they ain't even start hurting financially likes so many thousands "real citizens" have been experiencing years? Comrade Minister, before you get too damn freebie with taxpayers monies, what legal authority did the PLP Cabinet have to agree to payout millions taxpayers dollars to Baha Mar "citizens" (including foreigners on work permits? What about all the thousands behind in their mortgage payments, or the thousands CLICO customers, YOU told keep paying their insurance premiums? What are you going do for the many in Freeport and the West End of Grand Bahama, who are "real citizens?"
Minister did you even bother to cross-check all names on Baha Mar's payroll, against work permits issued records?

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EnoughIsEnough 4 years, 5 months ago

the article in the nassau guardian indicates this is an unsecured loan and the govt expects to be repaid in full (i.e. they will probably deduct it from what they owe Baha Mar for the roads). If that is the case then it is a little different that CLICO, mortgages etc as that truly would be money spent with no ability to recoup. in the case of Baha Mar they can either be repaid when the construction begins to move ahead again or it simply reduces their debt to Baha Mar. Our govt cannot simply give money away when private business fails - but they can loan it i guess with a guarantee of repayment of sorts. seems that is the thinking.

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TalRussell 4 years, 5 months ago

Comrade, when is "enough is enough' even going start register on your Tolerance O Meter?

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EnoughIsEnough 4 years, 5 months ago

In speaking with several of the non-bahamian employees at Baha Mar it was explained that the ex-pats are paid monthly and had already been paid for June - however they are unsure as to how their July salaries will be handled. The Bahamian employees are paid biweekly or weekly and that is who was paid yesterday. According to the Nassau Guardian article which refers to the letter issued from the AG's office regarding the salary payment, the payment is being made as an unsecured loan from the Govt to Baha Mar with the agreement that it shall be repaid in full. I suspect it will simply be deducted from the amount of money owed to Baha Mar by the govt for the roads.

For Gomez to say he did not want to comment regarding whether expats were paid simply shows his lack of knowledge of the details - it would have been simpler to eliminate suspicion and subterfuge by saying 1) he didn't know the details or 2) the expats are paid monthly and that had already been addressed by Baha Mar directly. Our politicians are pretty pathetic at PR/communications. It really shouldn't be a "secret" other than most of them don't even know the details.

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EnoughIsEnough 4 years, 5 months ago

what this does show, however, is that the expats were all paid their full salaries while the bahamians were not, when chapter 11 was declared. i guess baha mar is more concerned about keeping the "A" team happy in the hopes that they will stay on to move the development forward. End of the day it's the "a" team expats who will either need to be woo-ed back for the project or their colleagues internationally so you need them to go out speaking positively about how they were treated.

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TalRussell 4 years, 5 months ago

Comrade if your info is correct, care explain why Izmirlian would think it's okay pay foreigners once month and his "native citizens' weekly? is that anyways treat your citizen conutryman's and woman's?

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EnoughIsEnough 4 years, 5 months ago

this depends on the contract you negotiate. many bahamian businesses pay monthly, some biweekly, and some weekly. it generally depends on your title within the company. most of the expats are senior positions and therefore paid monthly. and most of the bahamians who are execs are paid monthly - they were paid by baha mar. the issue of salary for "bahamians" relates to those who are on weekly and bi-weekly payment schedules. the majority of hotel workkers (not execs), govt workers, construction people, retail staff in this country are paid weekly and bi-weekly, so you are ignorant to act as if a foreignor is behaving badly. ultimately it depends on your position within a company and what kind of industry you work in. it's that simple. nothing to do with expat vs bahamian. come on...you must know better. my mistake was not being clearer in my above statement and including the bahamians who are also paid monthly.

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TalRussell 4 years, 5 months ago

Comrade what happens your position, if I told you the thousands imported Chinese "labourers," were also paid monthly?

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lionfish 4 years, 5 months ago

What's the complaint here? It is much better to get paid weekly than monthly.

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