By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Baha Mar yesterday received “in excess of 1,000” resumes from job seekers as the first wave of hiring kicked-off for the previously stalled $3.5 billion resort.
Robert Sands, the resort’s senior vice-president of government and external affairs, told Tribune Business that more than 1,000 Bahamians had uploaded their resumes to the company’s website, careers.bahamar.com, on the first day of recruitment.
“We had 500 additional inquiries to our Facebook page, and a large number of persons turned up personally. We informed them that the had to apply and submit their resumes online,” said Mr Sands.
Baha Mar has attracted more interest than the 1,500 posts it is seeking to fill in the first phase of recuitment, a development that will come as little surprise to many given that the national unemployment rate remains at 11.6 per cent.
“I can tell you that the phones have been ringing all day,” Mr Sands told Tribune Business. “Persons who did not quite understand how to get online for the process.
“We’re very encouraged by it, but not surprised by the volume. I think the opportunities that are being made available basically fulfill a promise that was made, they are becoming reality and people are taking advantage of them.”
Baha Mar is looking to initially fill positions at the golf course, the casino and casino hotel ahead of its scheduled April 21 partial opening. However, as many as 5,000 jobs are expected to be created once the resort is fully opened.
“We’re working to satisfy over 1,500 positions for when we have the soft opening in April. When the resort is fully opening we’re looking at 5,000 jobs,” said Mr Sands.
Prime Minister Perry Christie, in addressing the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) recently, said 1,800 rooms at the casino and conference hotels would open during the 2017 second quarter.
The resort’s new owner, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE), has said it is dedicated to the success and timely opening of Baha Mar, and is “very optimistic” that the April 21 opening date will be hit. The Hong Kong-based conglomerate revealed itself as the Baha Mar purchaser last November.
China Construction America (CCA) has been retained as general contractor, charged with overseeing the completion, despite accusations from Baha Mar’s original developer, Sarkis Izmirlian, that the Chinese state-owned firm should shoulder most of the blame for the project’s previous demise.
The company had missed two completion deadlines, in December 2014 and March 2015, and its failure to complete on-time and on budget ultimately led to Baha Mar’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing and a legal battle, which has stalled the project’s completion.