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Eleuthera businesses: Disney jobs welcome but worry over wages

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

The Disney Lighthouse project would put Bahamians back in “slavery” if they keep wages low, a South Eleuthera business owner has claimed.

Felita Adderley, owner of Adderley’s Landscaping and Plant Nursery, said: “As I see it, this will only profit the foreigners and it won’t profit the Bahamian people and the Eluetherans, because it is just like you’re back in slavery and they don’t want to pay you what you’re worth. If they are going to be doing anything up here they need to look out for the Bahamian people and not just themselves because as it stands that’s how it’s always been.”

Ms Addereley said “a lot of people quit” the construction phase of Disney’s Lighthouse Point project citing unfair work conditions and low wages and reckons it won’t be near the 300 jobs that Disney is promising post-construction for Bahamians and that the company would probably opt to bring in their own people to work.

However, Christopher Cates, the Lumber Shed’s owner, struck a more positive note and told Tribune Business the additional jobs Disney will be bringing on to the Lighthouse Point project are “wonderful” and that South Eleuthera needs them.

Mr Cates also said: “I think what’s really necessary is for our young men and women to see the opportunity to work on their skill set, if they don’t have it yet, but really step up and make sure they put their best foot forward.

“I think a lot is going to be expected of them and I’m hopeful that a lot of them will seize the day. This is, for many of them, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is their opportunity to jump on the wheel and make themselves a living.”

He added: “I’ve been in Rock Sound for 20 plus years and the opportunities for our young people have been few and far between. I think they need to see them for what they are, jump on them and get as much experience as they can.

“An opportunity is an opportunity. It may not be the ideal salary that they’re hoping for, or the ideal job that they’re looking for, but I’d like to think that many of them were sitting on the blocks or finding themselves at home unemployed would see this as an opportunity to develop some life skills; things like discipline and getting up early in the morning and going and putting in a good eight hours.

“So I’m very hopeful. I really am hopeful. I don’t know what the job opportunities are that they’re going to present. But I can only hope that especially for so many of our young people who have not worked in so long. This will be an avenue and opportunity to get out and start something for themselves.”

Renaldo Pinder, manager of the One Stop Shop, said he is looking forward to the jobs Disney would be brining to South Eleuthera. He said once more people had jobs it would be better for his businesses and the pay range does not play a factor in his estimation.

He said: “Some people just don’t like changes, if you ask me. Sometimes a change is needed. I think this is going to be a good boost for the South Eleuthera economy if the person from South Eleuthera gets a job with Disney. I can’t say about anybody from outside of South Eleuthera, but if their preference is the people in South Eleuthera then this will help our economy significantly.”

Comments

Flyingfish 3 months ago

I find it interesting that this article only as k the opinions of business owners not workers when it comes to the Disney project. Its all good and all that these owners feel happy bout the project but they aint working there, they too busy running their business to really know.

If there is someone who worked there could explain why that what make more sense and be more useful in terms of information. I'm, just seeing people run on a bout work experience which is a good thing, however irrelevant to the specific issue. I mean this is Disney they are certainly not struggling to make money nor are they paying large tax to our government.

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sheeprunner12 3 months ago

That shows us the level of quality journalism out there ........... F grade

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John 3 months ago

Things this government MUST DO, if they want to be returned to office and, more importantly serve the Bahamian people:

GOVERNMENT MUST REVAMP THE TAX SYSTEM: Ever since the introduction of VAT, the cost of living in this country is TOO HIGH, especially for Bahamians. Government is double dipping be collecting VAT and CUSTOMS DUTIES and not only is this making the cost of living too high, bur MOST of the BUSINESSES who try to faithfully pay all these taxes are going out of business. Government is giving M more advantage to people who smuggle and causing those that are legitimate business to turn to smuggling when, year after year, they pay thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions to government in taxes and cant realize a profit or fair profit.\ . GOVERNMENT MUST ENSURE WORKERS ARE ADEQUATELY PAID BY FOREIGN COMPANIES: All the large projects are resorting to bringing in foreign workers to avoid paying Bahamians fair wages. This happened on Bah Mar, The Pointe and several other major projects. Government must enforce the labor laws of this country and workers must not let foreigners continue to come into the country and take their jobs. These are mostly once in a lifetime opportunities and Bahamians MUST benefit.

GOVERNMENT MUST RETURN TO PINDLINGS BAHAMIZATION POLICY. Even though there are more qualified Bahamians in the work force . less Bahamians are holding key positions, especially in the hotel/tourist industry, Pindling required that Bahamians be trained to fill positions held by foreigners else work permits will not be renewed.

PINDLING ALSO REQUIRED THAT FOREIGN COMPANIES make some of their shares available to Bahamians. DISNEY and the cruise industry, for example is a multi-Billion dollar industry. Some 32 million people will be taking a cruise annually by 2030 How much of this industry is owned by Bahamians how much of the tourist or cruise dollar remains in this country?

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sheeprunner12 3 months ago

Any reference to Pindling is scary ........... But that is the "standard" set for the country that all other politicians are judged by.

For us to break out of the funk, we will have to scrap that thinking and make a 180 turn away from Pindling

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themessenger 3 months ago

@john, People like you and Obie Ferguson are always hollering about how the government must force foreign investors and the private sector to pay the “workers” higher salaries, but higher salaries only come with higher qualifications and productivity something that is completely alien to the average Bahamian. You get paid according to what your employer thinks you’re worth, not what you or your union thinks.

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newcitizen 3 months ago

People like John have no problem with Bahamians companies paying next to nothing for workers, but it's a problem when foreign companies come in and use the same labour laws that Bahamian companies are subject too.

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concerned799 3 months ago

"if" they are kept low? Most of the workers on the cruise ship are from the Phillipines and are paid like $1-$2 an hour with no union. The whole cruise industry is an unfair labour competitor to the Bahamas, regardless of the (few) jobs it hires for on an island.

Best thing the Bahamas and Caribbean could do is cancel cruise ship permissions like Key West and Hong Kong.

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Flyingfish 3 months ago

We Can't Cancel Cruise Ship Permission unfortunately. Since we turned or downtown into a tourist cheap store and sold off our private island on 99 year leases.

Although the best way the Bahamas can take it share from the industry would be to charge Environmental (Climate Change) Mitigation Tax. As well as tax a cooperate tax for cruise operations in Bahamian waters. Which they'll be forced to oblige seeing that they own all these cruise islands that facilitate there business.

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The_Oracle 3 months ago

Only Bahamians screw Bahamians, Foreigners only do so if a Bahamian somewhere allows it. Think on that, the last 50 years of it.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 4 weeks ago

"An opportunity is an opportunity. It may not be the ideal salary that they’re hoping for"

This doesnt sound like the sales pitch they gave when everybody showed up to the town meeting in I love Disney t-shirts...The results are always predictable when you sell your soul for a bowl of porridge. Our poor people, forever sold up river by fast talkers

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JanetG 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Job 8:7-17 7 Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. 8 “Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned,

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