0

Minnis (and brother) back Archer’s role

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

NEWLY-appointed Contractors Registrar Omar Archer has defended himself over concerns about his qualifications for the post, referring to construction experience dating back to his childhood.

The appointment of the controversial figure has been met with speculation his selection could be viewed as cronyism - given his outspoken support for the Free National Movement in the lead up to the 2017 general elections.

The FNM has denied receiving any support from Mr Archer for its election campaign, and its Chairman Carl Culmer has also declined to confirm his party membership.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis shrugged off those assertions in an interview on Tuesday evening, telling reporters that Mr Archer was entitled to work.

“As far as Omar Archer,” Dr Minnis said, “he’s a Bahamian like anybody else. Is he not entitled to work, is he not entitled to eat, is he not entitled to sleep?”

Dr Minnis continued: “They questioned mine too (qualifications) so that’s nothing new, they questioned everybody’s.”

Dr Minnis also denied claims of political interference leveled by former Bahamian Contractors Association president Leonard Sands, telling reporters his resignation from the FNM was not an issue as he had little involvement and did not hold a significant post within the party. Mr Sands accused Mr Archer of waging a behind-the-scenes campaign to force his ouster from the BCA. He quit the BCA and the FNM as a result of the friction. 

Meanwhile, Mr Archer addressed the BCA luncheon yesterday, fielding questions from its membership about how he planned to foster relationships between the group and smaller contractors.

He spoke to his childhood as the son of contractor Audley Archer, pointing out he had learned several trades in the construction industry during his early years.

“From the age of nine, I’ve learned the trade in the construction industry,” Mr Archer said. “I’ve been a mason from ten years old, a carpenter from about 12. My first foreman job came at the age of 14 when we were building the East Street South Police Station and also the library on Wulff Road and Sandilands Primary School, so my experience goes way back for many years.”

Among those who attested to Mr Archer’s construction linkages was contractor Gregory Minnis, Dr Minnis’ brother, who attended yesterday’s luncheon.

“He (Mr Archer), I believe is qualified,” Mr Minnis said. “I believe he is going to do his endeavour best to be straight forward, and again I’m not going to try to hold his feet to the fire. I think he is going to get the job done and we are going to be there to make sure at the end of the day, we do what is necessary ourselves that we look out for the construction industry in this country.”

Mr Minnis continued: “I’m going to do my very best to work with you (Mr Archer) because I ain’t sitting back and let nobody else come in this country and take bread from me and the rest of us.”

As for fostering relations, Mr Archer said he “planned to let commonsense prevail.”

He underscored the urgency placed on the sector as the country’s ascension to the World Trade Organisation looms overhead.

“We all know what’s in the best interest for all of you as contractors, big or small, particularly now that WTO is looming,” Mr Archer told the gathering.

“It’s up to you all to make the decision to come together as one and to make this happen because the longer you fight and bicker amongst yourselves the worst it’s going to be.

“You don’t want next year to roll in and we’re still at this point and then the Bahamas then joins WTO and the Bahamian contractors are put at a major disadvantage, then what? So to answer your question in terms of fostering the relations between the BCA and other contractors, you all must have the will to get it done. I’m just here to police it.”

Mr Archer advised the BCA that the budget for staffing of the contractors registry was about 80 percent complete, with the drafting of guidelines, disciplinary procedures, policies, criteria and appointment of staffing already underway. He said his team has already engaged in the selection of board members, and was currently drafting letters of appointment and selection for several committees.

Mr Archer said he has also requested bids for the registry’s website. The deadline for the drafting of regulations for the sector is set for December 31, he said. 

Comments

Craig 5 years, 4 months ago

Omar must be a genius!! Becoming a foreman at the age of 14!. Wow. I wonder how did he get his certifications and training in just two years, he started construction at the age of 12. Getting the training and experience to become a construction foreman usually takes at least 5-7 years and that's after high school. It must have been very taxing on him, having to attend high school, trade school and work on construction sites at the same time. I see why they choose him for the job!!

0

tell_it_like_it_is 5 years, 4 months ago

Yep, he was a qualified mason from 10 yrs old and an expert carpenter at 12! Reminds me of that 2nd mate on 4C's boat that was 12.
Who knew child labor was so prevalent in The Bahamas? Next we'll have a sweatshop making "no name" clothes filled with Bahamian children I guess!

0

TalRussell 5 years, 4 months ago

Ma Comrades, the law defines this as 'child labour.'

0

DEDDIE 5 years, 4 months ago

My take on this entire fiasco is that Mr. Sands wanted the position of Contractor's Registrar and once it was given to Omar he provoke Omar(which is quite easy to do) to say what he said regarding the BCA. I don't care for either gentleman. My disappointed is the fact that the FNM has set the precedent of making the Registrar a position forever associated with cronyism. Every new party that comes in will appoint their political prostitute to the position going forward.

1

BahamasForBahamians 5 years, 4 months ago

No worries.

This appointment won't kill us. When we tally up how much Brent and his gang have stolen from the treasury since May 2017 Omar's salary will be a joke.

What we should do is a save a copy of this article in today's paper, the one with the PM defending this crappy appointment. And bring it to him when he's on the toilet receiving the results from the election in 2022 and wondering why he is the only one term PM the country's history will have ever seen.

0

birdiestrachan 5 years, 4 months ago

Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest . In the mean time the poor pay 12 % VAT.to support this group.

0

birdiestrachan 5 years, 4 months ago

It is to bad when they the FNM Government put so many on the unemployment line did not care that they were Bahamians and they had a right to food and sleep.

It seems those rights only apply to the self appointed 'savior" of the Bahamas say they apply to..

0

John 5 years, 4 months ago

The thing about these political appointees is if they would only sit small, try learn their duties and carry on smartly. But no they have to be rebel rousers or trouble makers even or those who try politicize their positions and spend time trying to draw headlines in the news. Then when elections come and the party that politically appointed them loses power, they are the first to get kicked to the curb, unceremoniously and, most times, deservedly so. This government appears weak and lacking in the public’s eye already.

1

ThisIsOurs 5 years, 4 months ago

Remember when Mrs Minnis went to inspect Japanese used cars? She can drive and she needs to eat too.

0

Sign in to comment