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‘Naysayers’ Need To Get On Board

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis in the House of Assembly.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis in the House of Assembly.

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis defended the Commercial Enterprises Bill from “naysayers,” stressing yesterday the long-term objective of the bill is to ensure positions filled by work permit holders one day become available to Bahamians, once they are properly trained.

Dr Minnis also said the legislation will not bring broad changes to the country’s immigration processes for anyone wishing to do business in the country, aside from the specified industries covered under the bill.

In a statement released Sunday, Dr Minnis also said limits will be placed on work permits issued under the bill. He also explained those taking advantage of concessions covered under the bill will be mandated to create training programmes for Bahamians and agree to “strict timelines” for the promotion of Bahamians in their companies.

“The Commercial Enterprises Bill is designed to attract both local and international investment to the Bahamas in job sectors that do not currently or primarily exist,” Dr Minnis’ statement noted. “The bill is aimed at targeting investment in specified enterprises, including captive insurance, reinsurance, arbitration, wealth management, computer programming, maritime trade, nano technology, biomedical industries, data storage, call centres and software design and writing. No other kind of business enterprise will qualify for incentives provided for under this bill.”

He also said: “Industries taking advantage of this bill will be required to establish training programmes for Bahamians and agree to strict timelines for the upward mobility of Bahamians within the enterprise. Limits also will be placed on immigration permits which are issued under the provisions of this bill. The long-term objective is to ensure that all positions within these companies become available to Bahamians as and when they are trained.

“One thing this bill does not do is change the current immigration or other regulatory processes for anyone wishing to invest in businesses other than those designated industries that are covered under this new proposed legislation.”

Dr Minnis said the government is making “substantial investments” in the country’s educational system to ensure children receive the best education possible by attending accredited colleges and universities worldwide.

“We must therefore grow the economy and expand employment opportunities so that our students will find higher paying jobs with long term job security,” he added. “It is therefore time for the naysayers to stop saying ‘no’ and start working on behalf of the Bahamian people.

“Creating better paying jobs that provide long term job security in new industries will motivate our young people to stay at home, which in turn will help our country grow and prosper. I am proud of this bill and I am happier with the fact that it is going to help grow our economy, expand employment opportunities, and provide Bahamian families with higher paying jobs which will lead to a better quality of life.”

On Friday, Financial Services, Trade and Industry Minister Brent Symonette said the Minnis administration missed its opportunity to “properly clarify” that only investments in a handful of specified industries can qualify for concessions under the Commercial Enterprises Bill.

Pushing back against much of the criticism that has faced the bill since it was introduced, the St Anne’s MP, during a presentation at the Rotary Club of East Nassau, stressed that the bill would only address operations in a set schedule of industries – areas which were also outlined by Dr Minnis on Sunday.

Comments

TalRussell 1 week, 2 days ago

Comrade PM, this objective of the bill has been in play for 50 years beginning under Pindling. Wasn't AD "Mitch" Hanna and Loftus Roker, not put in as immigration ministers to damn well ensure positions long filled filled by Expat work permit holders would no longer makes native workers to have to wait in line with promises to be properly trained by Expat's?
PM, there will be no turning, It's the Peoples time clock back 50 years. PM, you need go read Pindling's Freeport Bend or Break Speech to the foreigners of Freeport.

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Gotoutintime 1 week, 1 day ago

Pindling broke Freeport for sure---Look at it now!

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 2 days ago

Sunday roc wit doc was having his mea culpa moments now he is back to his old ways. the long term objective will be for Bahamians to have jobs. How long is his long term.?

But he and the slay one have not moved from the fourteen day permit approval. Doc is doing as he is told. He can not bully any one to get on board with him. He did not get on board with VAT or the web shops or any thing else that was good for the Bahamas or its people. Can he name one single thing that he has done for the average Bahamian from over the hill.?? The answer is zero

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Porcupine 1 week, 2 days ago

Whose job, ultimately, is it to see to it that our citizenry gets the needed education and training to compete in a rapidly changing, highly competitive global economy? I would claim it is OUR responsibility. We are the ones who need to make the resources available to those who need them. By mandating, and then hoping, that foreign companies train and educate our people, we have again kicked the can down the road. This is a recipe for continued failure. Until we get leaders who can think outside the box we will remain behind the rest of the pack. We can't forever rely on the foreigners to come and bail us out, create investment loans, train and educate our own people. Time to take responsibility for our own failures and take charge of our own future.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 1 day ago

Agreed stating that the long term plan for educating the workforce is hoping their expat coworkers will show them something when they haven't done it for the past 40 years is just more of the same, visionless.

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killemwitdakno 1 week, 1 day ago

And Bahamians are to be trained after the companies bring in their own workforce? Or should permits be granted only upon successful training and positions like how Baha Mar didn't open until after the program and hires.

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OldFort2012 1 week, 1 day ago

All of this is either unattainable or completely unnecessary. But I suspect it is just mumbo jumbo to placate diehard PLPs who have no clue.

  1. Unattainable: you cannot have "strict time limits" on the training of a nanotechnology scientist. It might take years, it might take forever. No way of knowing. And who is to decide if he is trained "enough"? Some government committee? Please, let's get serious.

  2. Unnecessary: companies are for profit entities. Profit is the difference between the price of product sold and the cost of producing that product. It is in the company's interest to have the best employee relative to wage paid in a position. They will always do the maths and decide accordingly. If a Bahamian performs on a par with an expat (or anywhere near that level), the company will always go for the Bahamian, because he is soooooo much cheaper. In my industry an expat costs me $200,000 (wages, rent, club fees, trips home, subsidised schooling, etc, etc, etc...) while a Bahamian costs less than half that. No legislation necessary. The market will take care of it. So much for the complete rubbish that companies prefer to hire expats. The exact opposite is true.

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The_Oracle 1 week, 1 day ago

You cannot legislate your way to success, just as you cannot create human initiative by legislating it. These tech industries are led by people who trained themselves, those adept at math, adept at the sciences, Hours spent on youtube U, innate curiosity. Drive! We have spent the last 50 years beating individual thought/Drive/potential out of our people and youth. You want success? Eliminate the plantation control/deny mentality. Reverse the typical "no" stance of Government rank and file that has robbed Bahamians of their initiative. "No" is the ultimate exercise of power in those ill suited to the exercise of authority. re-educate the civil service that authority under rule of law does not equate to personal power. Understand the real problem before attempting a fix.

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