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Sands: Wrong labor model at The Pointe

A computer-generated artist’s impression of Margaritaville at The Pointe.

Bahamian Contractors’ Association (BCA) President Leonard Sands told Guardian Business yesterday that the government has allowed the wrong labor model to be employed at The Pointe development, suggesting that there will be no real transfer of skills to Bahamians on that site because there is no pairing of local and foreign workers.

A post on the BCA’s Facebook page, which had been viewed close to 6,000 times asked: “Why is it that our local highly qualified iron workers and concrete tradesmen are 95 percent majority of the workforce on this multimillion-dollar development, but seemingly no Bahamian is good enough to work at The Pointe Development on Bay Street doing the exact same job?”

The job site being pointed out is new construction at the luxury development, Albany, where hundreds of Bahamians have been involved in the project.

Sands said the model being used at The Pointe is a failed model and he insisted it was a failure since the construction of Baha Mar.

He said the model that was used at Atlantis, where Bahamians learned the construction trade directly alongside foreign workers, meant Bahamians were hired in the resort’s engineering department when the resort was completed.

Sands said he would like the minister of labor to address the labor concerns that are being raised at The Pointe.

“They could get the same result or move faster with local contractors,” he said. “That is exactly what is happening on another site out west (Albany).”

Sands said work permits should be granted with the hope that skills will be transferred to the workforce.

“The template at The Pointe does not add value to the skills space,” he said. “We have seen this before at Baha Mar, and it is happening exactly the same way at The Pointe.”

A comment on the BCA’s Facebook post said: “This will stop when we stop looking to foreigner investors as our savior. When Bahamians start investing, Bahamians will execute the projects. We barking up the wrong tree.”

Sands said he knows a lot of people without construction jobs who could fill positions at The Pointe that are held by foreigners.

“I don’t know whose time it is, but it’s not the Bahamian work force in construction,” he said.

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