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Minister Making His Pointe On Workforce

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A Cabinet minister yesterday fired back at Opposition criticisms over the Government's handling of labour concerns at The Pointe project, arguing that the situation was worse under the former administration.

Dion Foulkes, minister of labour, hit out at accusations by Opposition leader, Philip Davis, that he was "delinquent" in his oversight of the development. His rebuke was in response to the minister's explanation of the workforce clause contained in the Heads of Agreement between developers, China Construction America (CCA), and the Government that was signed under the former Christie administration.

Mr Foulkes said the clause had two interpretations. He added that the Minnis administration had opted to interpret the clause calling for a 70/30 labour split in favour of Bahamians as a requirement to be satisfied over the lifetime of the project, and not a static ratio. But Mr Davis asserted that the agreement executed by the Christie administration calls for the labour ratio to be 70 to 30 in favour of Bahamians at all times.

Speaking outside Cabinet yesterday, Mr Foulkes said: "I beg to differ with Mr Davis. The situation was actually worse under the PLP. As of last year the percentages of Bahamians working at The Pointe were far less than it is now. Mr Davis is, from a political point of view, absolutely incorrect."

There have been repeated calls from the Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) and its president, Leonard Sands, for the government to show just how many Bahamians are currently employed at the $200m development. The BCA previously branded as "hogwash" the government's finding that The Pointe is not in breach of its heads of agreement on labour ratios.

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