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Pointe: We Don't Need Locals - Yet

By Khrisna Russell

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

INVESTIGATORS from the Department of Labour have discovered a disproportionate number of foreign labourers to Bahamian workers at The Pointe development in downtown Nassau, The Tribune was told yesterday.

However, according to well-placed sources, The Pointe’s developers - China Construction America, have told labour officials 100 Chinese nationals remained in the country following the completion of The Pointe’s parking garage for specialised purposes. The workers were tasked with laying an apparent intricate steel foundation for the next phase of the $200m development.

Developers explained to the government, The Tribune was told, a full complement of Bahamian workers are not needed at this time, but would be called upon once this portion of construction is finished. It is unclear whether this represents a breach of the workforce clause in the heads of agreement between CCA and the government, as the developer has made a case why there are more foreign workers on the project when compared to local builders.

The Heads of Agreement between CCA and the government states 70 percent of the workers are supposed to be Bahamian and 30 percent should be foreign.

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes would not confirm these developments, but he said a report of the findings was complete and expected to be presented to Cabinet next week. While not passing culpability onto the developers, he said once this is done, CCA would be given a chance to respond to the report in an effort to be fair to all parties involved.

This comes as developers have recently erected additional material to obstruct the view of ongoing work on the compound. Bahamian Contractors Association President Leonard Sands accused CCA of using this as a means to “hide something” from Bahamians. He said the BCA was also considering a demonstration at The Pointe.

Director of Labour Robert Farquharson was defensive yesterday when he was contacted with questions about the project. He said there had been no “factual basis” for the concerns raised about The Pointe. He would not clarify this assertion when he asked to do so by The Tribune. He would only repeat that investigators were in the process of completing the report. 

Mr Farquharson would not answer questions which centred on what process would ensue if CCA was found to be in breach of the heads of agreement, saying this was not in his portfolio.

The government’s apprehension to give answers on this situation continues to anger the BCA, Mr Sands said.

“The Bahamian Contractors Association is questioning how it was allowed to get to this point in the first instance because that is a dereliction of duty,” Mr Sands told this newspaper yesterday. “If you have a duty to ensure that someone lives up to their contractual agreement it is your job to put in place a procedure for checking to ensure that the Heads of Agreement guidelines are met and held.

“It should not be an association or private citizen or non-governmental agency to go and find that out for you.

“Let’s say they are in violation, what do they get? Do they get a change to hire some more persons so the ratio is what it should be? How is that process going to roll out? Do they have a PSA that says right now we have a certain number of Chinese and we need hundreds more Bahamians?

“That needs to happen immediately or else the project needs to cease until they become compliant. We need to know how that is going to work.”

On Sunday, Mr Sands demanded officials do a physical count at The Pointe of workers to determine whether the heads of agreement is being adhered to.

He said local contractors were angered to have been neglected in the construction phase of the project.

Earlier this month, Tribune photographers monitored who went on to the site and with the exception of three or four Bahamians and a guard at the gates of the development, everyone else appeared to be Chinese.

Previously, this newspaper observed workers on the site in both January and February and it was a similar story. Dozens of Chinese builders walked on to the site every day from a building, which lodges the workers opposite the development, and virtually no Bahamians were anywhere to be seen.

Comments

screwedbahamian 1 month ago

The 30% ( percent) of the foreign work force is for the construction only. The 70 % (percent) Bahamians labour force is for housekeepers, window cleaners and landscapers. Most of the money to remain in the Bahamas for this project was the real estate commission paid for the sale of the property.

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stillwaters 1 month ago

So, when the government did their count, was it Chinese 100% and Bahamians 0%?????? Since Bahamians are not yet needed, that's my count. Why couldn't the FNM just have said that since Friday's count?????? Stop covering up!!!!!! The PLP did too much of that, and now the FNM are doing the same damn thing!!!!!! Respect us, include us, and stop trying to flam us!!!!!!!

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stillwaters 1 month ago

The Chinese had to tell us the truth. They don't need us, yet.

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proudloudandfnm 1 month ago

We don't need locals yet?!?!?

Locals should have been the first hires. And if you're engineering staff can't speak english well enough to explain to local workers what needs to be done then fire your engineers and hire ones with good english.

Stupid excuse...

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

This tells me that the CEB bill will provide work for a very limited number Bahamians. I would say zero but they'll hire a gardener and two or three tokens just to disprove that. This model is wrongheaded if the idea is long term growth of the Bahamian economy. Our emphasis should be on Bahamian education and innovation.

CCA should not have had to give any explanation to government, because according to the Government's "sales pitch", they should have a detailed plan of the labor needed to complete the project.

So, according to them, CCA's plan should have made clear to the administration that at the foundation stage we'll need 100 Chinese workers 0 Bahamians. When we start the first floor we'll have 500 Bahamian workers and 20 Chinese, when we construct the roof we'll have 200 Chinese and 50 Bahamians. The totals over the entire project should then equate to the agreed ratios (no I didn't do the math).

The need to do a survey was not stupid, it was beyond silly...why do the study if CCA can so easily tell you "we don't have any Bahamians now"

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TheMadHatter 1 month ago

"This comes as developers have recently erected additional material to obstruct the view of ongoing work on the compound."

In other words they are effectively saying "Bahamians keep your noses out of the Chinese Government's business!!!"

And also "Don't even try crying to the USA for help, cause you know we already scare them so bad they moving their embassy."

Donald Trump TALKING about putting tarriffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium from China - but those have not actually gone into effect yet. He's afraid of the big red wolf also. Our leaders here in the Bahamas know that full well, so das why dey mout got Krazy Glue.

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Dawes 1 month ago

So check the HOA and see if this is allowed. IF not then they must hire 70%. If it is allowed per HOA then this is all a big do about nothing. Just enforce what the HOA says either way. Yet again why do we make things so hard for ourselves.

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joeblow 1 month ago

Interesting that they don't need any Bahamians YET to work on a project in the Bahamas that requires a 70% Bahamian workforce and the project has not been shut down by government yet! When last did we hear them say its the peoples time?

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OldFort2012 1 month ago

Hmmm. I wonder if you lot would complain so much if these guys were building your home, or something that belonged to you? I bet there would not be a peep out of you then.

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Sickened 1 month ago

Hire a chineee to build a long term structure? Not me. I don't want no disposable house.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

"Us lot" are complaining about the run around from the lsbour department and their inability to give a straight answer. If according to CCA "only experienced Chinese lab our is required at this time", fine. the expectation is over the course of the project the labour ratios will even out and that schedule has been delivered to DOL. But don't go through this circus act where "oh we don't have empirical data", "uhm we need to go down and a do a count". It's silly and insulting. It makes you think what else aren't you getting straight answers on..Oban.

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realitycheck242 1 month ago

The Chinese are the modern day plunderers in many countries around the world. They have replaced the colonial European powers and are sapping the resources of scores of african, carribean and south american countries under the guise of developments with cheap loans that have payback stipulations at the united nations. The only diffidence between them and the colonial European powers is that they have the cheap labour component to achieve their objectives by stealth for the home land. Governments and citizens world wide in developing countries would do well to increase awareness to the rising dragon from the east and her philosophical belief and intentions for smaller countries

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

They will need Bahamians only on the last day of the project, for half a day at most! They look at our skin colour and laugh at our stupidity. They are LOL, having bought their political influence and royally shafted the Bahamian people, all with the help of the corrupt politicians we elect, whether they be of the PLP or FNM persuasion.

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tetelestai 1 month ago

Actually, mudda, I think the Chinese look at some of the comments espoused on this message board and say to themselves, we really don't need these Bahamians at all. In truth, can't say that I blame them.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

You obviously know little about Red Chinese culture and the very "closed" nature of the Red Chinese people. I use the word "closed" as a polite euphemism for something we were subjected to in our own society up until majority rule. My wife and I spent two weeks last year in a major city in Red China and we stood out everywhere we went simply because of the colour of our skin. We saw very few, in fact exceptionally few, people of our colour. It was quite an eye opening experience for us given that the city we were in was a sprawling metropolis. The stories we all hear and read about regarding the Red Chinese attitude towards native Africans in their own countries are not without truth. Open your eyes. Reality has to be accepted before changes can be made.

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Dawes 1 month ago

Umm go to Lagos as a Chinese man and the same would probably happen in reverse.

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tetelestai 1 month ago

Of course it would, Dawes! But obviously mudda is the only repository of Chinese knowledge, so let's not wake him/her out of their little night time nap.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

Hong Kong aside, most of Red China's major cities are 1,000 times worse than even Sweden was 6 or 7 decades ago when it comes to lack of diversity....and it's not because most of them are so highly populated....it's because Red China is indeed a well known "closed" society. Their ventures abroad and foreign investment objectives seek to exploit the natural resources of other nations, but without compromising in any way their culturally ingrained inclination to remain "closed" to outsiders. Diversity for the unhappy campers among them usually can only be achieved by emigration, typically to places like Vancouver.

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licks2 1 month ago

YOU MISSED WHAT WAS "THROWN" AT YOU. . .AS USUAL. . .INTIMATION IS THAT THEY SEE HOW DUMB YOU DOES CARRY ON AND THINK THE WHOLE COUNTRY IS LAME AND THINK LIKE CREAK BABIES LIKE YOU!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

You're doctor got those prescriptions all wrong.....you should take at least twice the recommended number of pills on a daily basis. And do try get some exercise outdoors.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

I don't think they care what we think. You see they put up more barriers? That's the attitude, we own this, we do what we want. They could care less about that hotel, it's a means to an end.

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stillwaters 1 month ago

I am beginning to feel like we swapped the PLP for 'FNM is more of the same PLP crap'.

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TalRussell 1 month ago

* RESIGN Dion * DO Honourable and RESIGN.... The 91,409 voting red shirts 10th May 2017 - would be doubtful if any such honourable resides in Imperial red regime.

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sealice 1 month ago

As usual successive weak arssed Bahamian governments roll over and play dead for the money.... why why why why do we keep electing these people that are clearly conflicted and appear to have not one clue as to what they were elected to do????

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TalRussell 1 month ago

Ma Comrade Sealice, what if the man's and woman's Imperial red cabinet are above intelligent and knows exactly what they're doing and whom they're doing what for and to who since they've governing commenced now approaching but days of red shirts one-year mandate - trusted with by the 91,409 voting red shirts on 10th May 2017?

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Aegeaon 1 month ago

Sounds like the Demons from Below are feeding on the fears and hatred of better living foreigners by Bahamians.

If I was the PM, should I unfairly banish foreigner workers out of the country to accommodate the current generation of Bahamians with bad attitudes and neglectful personalities? As we all know, we have irresponsible workers in Public Service, Water and Sewage, BPL and others. Why should CCA take the risks of hiring Bahamians without checking their behavior, agendas or motivation to ensure that there's no petty issue that can throw the whole project into chaos.

As much as we want locals to work there, the issue of poor working behaviors and possibly xenophobic tenancies remain in place until we sort ourselves out.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

Oh please Bahamians built Atlantis. The Chinese blocked up the drain downtown and caused months of overflow flooding. Don't even start talking about all the leaking roofs out cable beach.

And this is, well I can speak for me, my issue is merry go round statements from the depot of labor only to have CCA so "no we don't have any Bahamians here now". What was that??? Can't the dept of labor ask a question?

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sealice 1 month ago

Well we don't need the chingros either so can they all go home?? cept the onescooking in our chinnee restaurants they aint taking Bahamian jobs.....

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Economist 1 month ago

The FNM needs to man up and kick the Chinese out.

The Chinese only want to suck the life out of The Bahamas so that they can come, populate and take over.

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tetelestai 1 month ago

Yes that is the solution!!!! (said with much sarcasm).

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John 1 month ago

If you check most Chinese construction projects around the world from Jamaica to Africa to Panama the majority of labor is always Chinese. Always. And when the Chinese do not get this stipulation in the original agreement, they find some way to muddy toe water and cause their majority Chinese labor force to become acceptable or accepted. But in two short years Chinese are be the greatest number of world travelers. They will surpass the Americans by some 40 Million travelers and so they are in various parts of the world making preparations for this surge in Chinese tourists and to ensure that some of the money these people spend abroad makes its way back to China. And likewise the Bahamas must be taking measures to ensure that many of these Chinese tourists visit The Bahamas and a great portion of what the spend remains here. The largest cruise ship may be visiting these shores this summer and the claim is this ship has everything a passenger could wish for. More effort to keep passengers on board and not spending money at the various ports of call. Proof that cruise ships and nothing more than modern day piracy. But the majority of Chinese tourists are air travelers with lost more money to spend and plans for longer vacations. So it is time to get the Chinese to cooperate and allow The Bahamas and Bahamians to take a pice of this growing economic pie.

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John 1 month ago

The Chinese have major controls of parts of the Panam Canal. They are building hotels in Jamaica and other Caribbean coo and doing major works in African countries where they were able to buy interest in the various projects.

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

The Chinese control Freeport ......... for what its worth

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

Yep, and just look where that got most Grand Bahamians.

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