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Rupert Roberts' Pregnancy Comments 'Reckless'

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

A WOMAN’s rights activist says Rupert Roberts’ commentary about pregnancy is “reckless and reminiscent of plantation mentality.”

The Super Value president told The Tribune Thursday maternity expenses for staff won’t be covered any longer as the company seeks to guard its medical fund.

The pregnancy rate had been intensifying at the same time catastrophic care expenses for the company are increasing, he said, noting the food chain will continue complying with labour laws and will go beyond what is required to take care of its staff.

Activist Terneille Burrows, however, said what Bahamians need is access to greater education and resources related to their sexual and reproductive health.

“Instead of simply removing the benefit perhaps Roberts could make some investment in this education for employees,” she said. “There are a few civil society organizations working in this sector that would very likely accommodate group information and training sessions with staff. Those in higher office should also prioritize tweaking the educational curriculum to integrate such instruction to a meaningful degree.”

“Young, black women in The Bahamas should no longer be the brunt of attempts by men of privilege to make mockery of the socio-economically disadvantaged for headlines. Whether women employees flock to work at the low wage establishment because of exceptional maternity benefits or not, is of no concern.”

"The country needs to have conversations around reproductive health and planning but Roberts’ commentary is reckless and reminiscent of plantation mentality. Pregnancy is a human right. Men of means or stature such as Rupert Roberts, Richard Lightbourn and James Palacious need to refrain from commenting publicly on women's reproductive rights, what women wear and the like. It is by no means educational or progressive, nor is it their place.”

As a Free National Movement MP in 2016, Mr Lightbourn said the country should sterilize some women after they have had two children. Last year, Archdeacon James Palacious said women who dress provocatively invite inappropriate and unjustifiable attacks. Both men later apologized for their remarks.

In comments that went viral Friday, Mr Roberts joked about the sexual proclivities of some of his staff. Some have been caught engaging in sexual behaviour within work spaces, he said.

“We find them in coolers and everywhere else, the warehouse. Back shots are easy you know, sex is a pretty easy thing.”

Ms Burrows said the comment raises health concerns.

“The greatest widespread alarm due to Roberts’ revelations relates to lack of health and safety enforcement measures by the food retailer,” she said. “Resultantly, the general public has a right to demand assurances that we will no longer be put at risk.”

Ms Burrows said “sex in the workplace is no basis” for a decision to rescind enhanced maternity benefits. However, Mr Roberts said an increase in pregnancies and catastrophic care expenses has led its company to a new policy, not sex in the workplace specifically.

Comments

BMW 2 months ago

Bey dont mesd with my money box

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TalRussell 2 months ago

Just maybe Ma Comrade Minister Labour Dion will be willing to step away for few minutes from his great focus Shantytown Rental Relocation Benefits Assistance to visit with Rupert over his threat dropping of maternity insurance benefits in the workplace at Super Value. He needs talk straight with Rupert to walk back this threat against sexual equality benefits in the workplace and walk it back - quickly.

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sheeprunner12 2 months ago

Soooooooo, the 750 cashiers are all Haitians????? .......... SMDH................... Roberts has to keep his business viable (if what he says is true about the increase in staff pregnancies) .......... And do not fool yourself that casual or illicit sex does not happen in the Bahamian workplace.

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rawbahamian 2 months ago

Rupert Roberts is well within HIS right to withdraw his full funding of reckless breeding and is in no way responsible for educating his ADULT STAFF of the consequences of doing so. If these irresponsible people can't figure out that what they are doing is stupid then let N.I.B. pick up the cost since they literally want to SCREW themselves out of the employment arena !!!

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John 2 months ago

By putting his cashiers on BLAST, Roberts made his cashiers a projected target for fellas who looking for 'an easy piece." And young cashiers come from older cashiers (and older women) having babies. And slaves were forced to breed to increase the work force.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

Activist Terneille Burrows puts the reproductive rights women ahead of the rights of the many thousands of babies/children born out of wedlock and all other members of our society. These are babies/children who effectively grow up without parentage, must learn to fend for themselves very early on in life, suffer a miserable existence, often go uneducated, and all too frequently resort to a life of crime from the moment they learn how to acquire and use a firearm, knife or other weapon. Loud mouth Burrows needs to understand that there are others who have rights too!

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hrysippus 2 months ago

Whether women employees flock to work at the low wage establishment because of exceptional maternity benefits or not, is of no concern. This is such a stupid statement from Ms. Burrows. Does she think the management of Super Value should have no concern for the ability of the company to continue to offer catastrophic health care? This is not government with a a seemingly bottomless well of money taken through taxes from the workers. I can only assume that Ms Burrows knows nothing about how private businesses work and she probably got a D- in mathematics at high school. She is well qualified to be a PLP cabinet minister though.

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CaptainCoon 2 months ago

He wasn't reckless, he was right. Just like Richard Lightbourne said, we need to tie their tubes!

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John 2 months ago

So Rupert Roberts doubles his sales and solves his employee shortage problem almost overnight. Thanks Tribune, thanks!

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alfalfa 2 months ago

Ain't nobody going to tell this man how or what to do. He has a huge chunk of the grocery market; is very wealthy; employs hundreds, if not thousands, and is up in years. What would happen if Super Value and Quality Markets closed down? He is a shrewd business man and has for the last three weeks been emptying his shelves of the soon to been no duty breadbasket items. His Cable Beach store only has one brand of corned beef on the shelves and the chicken selection is deplorable. His coolers are not working properly and there is blood and muck in every chicken cooler. So what? He has the only food chain for the middle and lower class. Fresh Market is a disgrace. Overpriced; and many of their items are stale dated. The government can never collect all the vat due to them and price control is a joke. Attack the food stores. See what happens. I will watch and see.

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bogart 2 months ago

Any deficiemcies in da store obviously hav to do wid the employees who he paying salary to do dere jobs but instead doing .sexing ....now say da time dey takes to come out....leave dere designated area....connect wid dere lover male or female....find a secret corner ...where no cameras....nobody lookin....an get inyo action......an den gets back..as tjough nothin happen....is plenty time dey should be doing dere job...an dey needs replacing.....simple!!!. Dese Human Rights people .......should know Mr. Roberts is a grpcery store man dealong wid selling grocerday on day out ....rain sun ....providing super essential relianle dependable setvice sellin as much Bahamian vegetables an Bahsmian chickin as possoble...ujntil hurricane strikes......Mr Roberts deals wid groceries.....any making baby..sexing...family plannong...birth control....aint nothin to do wid him.....Human Rights need to go to the source of the issues...teach sex education...ethics...moral stamdards...proper work practoces...an leave the grocery store man to run he grocery store business....whichin I likes to shop at..!!

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banker 2 months ago

Sigh ... there goes the life dreams of hundreds of vimmins. Myles Munroe use to say dat you should make your money doing stuff that you are good at and enjoy. Ole Rupert is killin' da dreams of dems who are good at juicin' in da cooler an' gittin' paid fer it. How irresponsible and reckless. He should pay more to dems butchers who cut off slices and beat the meat.

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ForTHELove 2 months ago

If you can't afford to pay for the birth, then you can't afford to raise a child. If you can't afford to raise a child then you shouldn't be having one. How educated to you really need to be to realize this and that you should be on the pill and/or be using a condom until you can.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months ago

Oh please the man find the people in the freezer having sex over our broccoli and asparagus, what could be more reckless than that. Sometimes we push this black outrage thing too far. Be outraged that your black sisters and brothers doing fool on the job.

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jackbnimble 2 months ago

Yes Roberts was well within his rights to give the benefit and to take it back. I believe I read a statement from a Givernment official last week saying he did not break any Labour laws. I just give him wrong for seeming to paint all of his female cashiers in a bad light like ALL are juicing on the job. That was definitely in bad taste and should be retracted. As for offering any kind of education to grown-azz women past the age of 18 who CHOOSE to have sex - nah - Burrows needs to sit small. Condemn his poor choice of words but you don’t tell him to educate them. He’s their employer not their lover or parent.

He’s still being chewed up on social media. I’m sure by now he!s gotten the point.

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