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Gibson: Fnm Is Exploiting Sandals Job Cuts

Shane Gibson in the House of Assembly.

Shane Gibson in the House of Assembly.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Deputy Chief Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

THE Free National Movement (FNM) is attempting to make the termination of more than 600 Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort employees political, despite sending thousands of people to the unemployment line when the party was last in office, Labour Minister Shane Gibson has told The Tribune.

While the opposition party plays “political games” with the lives of the redundant workers, Mr Gibson said the government is trying to get as many of them as possible rehired by the hotel.

During an interview yesterday, Mr Gibson called the situation “unfortunate” as an industrial agreement was not in place at the time of the redundancies.

Asked to respond to criticism that the Christie administration was blindsided by Sandals’ decision, the minister said there were labour laws in place and the government cannot start a precedent of dictating to private sector business owners how to conduct their affairs.

His comments came a day after Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner said that it appeared that the government was content in accepting the termination of the workers. She said this administration’s “incompetence” and “laissez-faire” approach to governance was to blame for the country’s unemployment challenges.

“Listen to me carefully; Loretta Butler-Turner doesn’t have anything to offer me as minister of labour when she is going to try and make politics out of hundreds of employees losing their jobs,” Mr Gibson said. “Now when she wants to talk sense then I’ll listen, but while she is playing politics we have no time for that.

“We have a country to run. We have jobs to secure. We have jobs to create and if she is going to try and play politics when thousands of lives and their survival is at stake, I’m not into her.

“Our position right now is that we are trying to get as many of them as possible re-employed. It is unfortunate that an industrial agreement was not in place at the time. It is unfortunate that Sandals chose not to emphasise the option of asking each employee individually to accept time off without pay for that period. So our position now is that we have to try and see how we can make sure encourage them to keep on as many as possible.”

He added: “It’s strange for Loretta to comment now. I mean I didn’t hear her comment like this when they sent those hundreds of employees home at Atlantis. She sat by quietly without a word and all of a sudden she could find words because she wants to play politics?

“Secondly, Loretta don’t have to go far. Her government sent home thousands of workers from the Bahamas Telecommunications Company. Her government sent home dozens of customs officers. Her government sent home dozens of police officers. Her government sent home almost 100 persons from ZNS and now she wants to tell us? Those things they could have controlled.”

On Monday, Mr Gibson said his ministry was given very little notice by Sandals of its decision to make more than 600 employees redundant so it could conduct renovations. Critics have blasted the government over this.

Asked to respond to this, he said: “The reason why we have labour laws in the country is because they govern what happens in the country and if anybody is saying they want us to dictate to employers well let us dictate to everybody.

“Tell Loretta if she wants us to be able to dictate to people let us dictate to her when she comes to Parliament.

“What I am saying is that the system doesn’t work that way. You put laws in place and the country is governed by laws. So whenever there is a challenge you refer to the law. So don’t come now for political reasons to tell us we should dictate.

“You have to deal with employers in accordance with the law. You can’t arbitrarily do something because it is politically expedient,” Mr Gibson said.

On Wednesday, Mrs Butler-Turner, the FNM’s shadow minister of labour, also accused Prime Minister Perry Christie of showing “utter disregard” for the employees and their families because he has remained silent on the matter.

She said this situation coupled with the “belligerent and incompetent” manner in which the unopened Baha Mar resort was handled is proof that the government has little respect or regard for Bahamian workers or the well-being of their families.

Comments

Honestman 3 years, 9 months ago

Shut up Gibson. The PLP are the masters of playing "political games" so get off your high horse.

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Honestman 3 years, 9 months ago

Any chance of the Rubis report anytime soon? Thought not!

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TalRussell 3 years, 9 months ago

Comrades! The 600 workers sent home by Sandals, beware of both Shane and Loretta cause their past political actions on behalf of sent home workers has many lessons to teach any new set workers whose paycheques have been stripped away.
Who more among the elected only via their respective political party's associations -does prove that there is an urgent need for change in the way we elect we members of the Honourable House of Assembly?

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banker 3 years, 9 months ago

We just need a criminal justice system that is not tied to the political system to arrest, charge and jail the kleptocrats in power.

I would volunteer to line up and evict Lady Swindling, and freeze all of her assets and return them to the treasury. Gibson would be high on the list. One ting dat makes you go hmmm is how is half-brother went from selling phone cards by vending machines to buying development property for millions of dollars while he was housing minister the first time, playin' footsie wid Anna Nicole and dems.

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TalRussell 3 years, 9 months ago

Comrade Banker, if the changing of the criminal system is only not to be tied to the political system means turning it over to the lawyers, then are we not replacing one system with the very same people who make-up our current justice system?. All that would accomplish is reshuffling the legal systems musical chairs with the exact same players.
The only way to affect real justice change would be to change the public's perception that it is not acting in the interests for and on behalf of the poor who must stand before the courts, come into contact with the heavily fire power armed and under-trained policeman's or made to serve time in that disgusting pig of a prison up at Fox Hill.
Comrade Banker you know what would be real justice change as seeing to be done, is if a Judge refused to commit a non-life threatening to the public found guilty accused to that pig of a Fox Hill Prison on the grounds that is is unfit to house human beings.

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banker 3 years, 9 months ago

Totally agree about Fox Hell not fit fer humans. Slop buckets in the high security area for Christ's sake. It een fit fer humans, but perfect fer da plp tiefs in the last 40 years.

Back to Fox Hell musings. One of my good friends played for a Bahamian national team. After all the glory gone, he is looking for jobs. He introduced me to his "cohorts". Man dey is cold. Don't think nothing of snuffing out anyone out. No regret. No remorse. No fear. Don't think that they will live to see 40 years old, and don't care about that fact.

So poorly socialised that it ain't funny. No hope. Totally sociopathic. Dr. Mike Neville would have a field day with their heads. Ole Perry's cousin the psychiatrist Dr. David Allen would still be on his knees praying with them at faster than a machine gun tempo. These young men are a clear and present danger to Bahamian society and just about everyone.

What are you gonna do with them? They don't respond to things that normal people respond to. Remediation is impossible.

So the humanist in me says that Fox Hill ain't fit for humans. But what about those who can't be reached with the milk of human kindness?

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Economist 3 years, 9 months ago

The persons that Shameless Gibson refers to that the FNM let go were staff that represented the "over staffing" created by previous governments.

They were reducing the recurrent expenditure of the running of the country.

Soon the IMF will require much more drastic cuts to his precious over staffed government operations.

Shame on you Shameless Gibson, the two situations are totally different.

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banker 3 years, 9 months ago

Check your Rolex watch Gibson. Times are a-changing and there still might be a day when you see the inside of her Majesty's wonderful accommodations in Fox Hill.

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Sickened 3 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps we can plan his incarceration around Carnival. Now that would be worth celebrating!

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Naughtydread 3 years, 9 months ago

Any chance we might here about those Carnival numbers soon SHAME GIBSON?

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sealice 3 years, 9 months ago

really all your murder signs in the last election wasn't playing politics?

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arussell 3 years, 9 months ago

They are getting very "loud'" now that its only a matter of time before they're fired!! had enough of this corrupt government who never wants to admit when they do wrong smft!!!

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TalRussell 3 years, 9 months ago

Comrade Arussell, not to be in defense of this PLP Cabinet, I hope you are not identifying the Red Movement's dismal performances during their regime's last
two -terms as the peoples government, or now the official government in waiting brought to shambles by petty personal infighting , as the party acting in the best interests of the people?
Here's a legitimate question for you. Replace this PLP Cabinet with whom - with the lack of any worthwhile contribution Loretta & Montagu's Richard?

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arussell 3 years, 9 months ago

Not voting for the PLP lead by Perry Christie .......I'll take my chances

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SP 3 years, 9 months ago

"They are inherently corrupt! Not voting for the PLP regardless who leads it"

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alfalfa 3 years, 9 months ago

If the shoe was on the other foot, the PLP would be protesting and blocking up the roads (Just as the union did, which helped create this problem), demonstrating in Rawson Square, and calling for a General Strike, if the FNM was the government. Shane cannot take chafing about the asinine manner in which his ministry handled this situation, and is using political bantering to try and cover up his ineptitude. He has support from the AG whom I suppose is going to put Sandals in jail. WHAT A JOKE.

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MonkeeDoo 3 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone know if these comments ever get sent to the subjects. I mean does Shame have aan e-mail address ? Or would anyone volunteer to print the history and pin it to the door of the HOA ? Maybe the door to Starbucks which gets a bit more traffic. Its great to read but other that Tal and birdie I think we are all in the choir stalls here.

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MonkeeDoo 3 years, 9 months ago

The Government was very biggity when Baha Mar stopped paying their staff and using the people's money ( they say ) they kept paying them up to 2 million plus. What did those employees have that these don't have ? No wonder Christie and Brave so quiet. What was good for the goose is not good for the gander now.

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SP 3 years, 9 months ago

......... As Usual Government Too Compromised To Act In The Interest Of Bahamians .......

Nothing new or surprising about governments lack of ability to open their mouths to protect our people. This has always been the case and will continue as long as governments are allowed to make secret heads of agreement deals for self benefit of ministers with developers.

Every Bahamian is cognizant of successive governments corruption that work against the interest of our people.

PLP and FNM are equally guilty of treason!

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