By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
LINKING Baha Mar to Sandals, Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis attacked Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday for his “inability” to prevent job losses for Bahamians.
Dr Minnis also called on Sandals to “immediately rehire” the workers it made redundant when the resort reopens in October.
“Under the prime minister’s watch over 2,600 Bahamians have lost their jobs at Baha Mar and Sandals within the last year,” he said in a press statement.
“The complete lack of competence by the prime minister and his ministers in the handling of our precious tourism industry has caused our economy over 6,000 Bahamian jobs. Had they done their jobs properly both Baha Mar and Sandals would be open today.”
He added: “It is unbelievable that the owners of Sandals Resort would not speak with the prime minister and his PLP government before closing their resort for major renovations. To proceed with millions of dollars in major renovations as Sandals Resort claims they must have talked with the prime minister and his government.
“There are far too many questions the Bahamian people deserve answers to from the embattled prime minister. Did the prime minister know that Sandals Resort was going to close? Was the prime minister colluding with Sandals Resort in their decision to close the resort so they did not have to deal with the union? Is the prime minister in favour of this type of union busting in the Bahamas? What type of deals did the prime minister make with Sandals Resort?
“The Bahamian people deserve better than a prime minister that will just sit idly as a resort in the Bahamas engages in union bashing causing the loss of at least 600 Bahamian jobs. The PLP is not the party for the Bahamian workers. An FNM government will stand for all Bahamian workers and will not allow the type of union busting we are witnessing at Sandals Resort. We call upon the management of Sandals Resort to immediately rehire all the workers it laid off when they re-open in October and immediately reengage with the Bahamas Hotel Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (BHMAU).”
Sandals has come under fire for making the workers redundant last week in order to conduct repairs.
Labour Minister Shane Gibson said the resort failed to notify the government of its intention in good time.
He said he believes the resort’s actions were a retaliatory attack on the BHMAU.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the resort’s decision to make workers redundant rather than laying them off and have them return to work in October.
In a press statement yesterday, Sandals said some of the more than 600 workers who were terminated last Monday will have the chance to re-apply when the hotel hosts a four-day job fair starting today.
According to the resort, the first two days of the job fair will be reserved for former staff members with the last two days open to new applicants.
The interviews will be held at Christ the King Anglican Church Hall in Ridgeland Park and will be conducted by representatives from the corporate offices of Sandals Resorts International.
Sandals’ Director of Corporate Services Jeremy Jones said: “We are asking everyone to bring their A-game. At Sandals, we believe we hire attitude and train skills. Interviewers look for personality, enthusiasm and interest in learning new skills. We are giving everyone an equal opportunity to shine.”