Friday, Jul 3, 2020
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Sands has doubts about Bahamian to foreign worker ratio at The Pointe

Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) President Leonard Sands said he is still not convinced that China Construction America (CCA), the developer of The Pointe, is living up to the terms in the heads of agreement (HOA) for The Pointe, which requires the construction site to have a 70/30 Bahamian to foreign worker ratio. It is BCA’s view that, that agreed worker complement should carry on throughout the life of the construction.

But government, after a meeting with CCA, was told by the developers that Bahamians were not needed at the stage of the development the project was in.

“The Bahamian people were told that ‘specialized’ Chinese workers were needed for the superstructure, with the justification being that these skillsets were not available in the local construction industry,” Sands said.

“While we in the BCA knew that statement had no basis in reality, as Bahamians have and continue to work on multi-story, multimillion-dollar developments throughout this country, we were not surprised to discover that these same ‘specialized’ Chinese workers are now doing work like the laying of blocks, a skill that is in abundance with local contractors.”

Sands called on government to prove its commitment to Bahamian contractors and workers.

“The BCA is of the view that the heads of agreement should be revisited, with a view to ensuring that appropriate equity is clawed back in the interest of Bahamians, who are being denied opportunities at this development,’ he claimed.

“When our concerns were raised at that time, the minister of labor met privately with principals of CCA and their attorney, and later relayed their message that Bahamians were not needed at this time on that project.

“We are a country of laws, and a heads of agreement is a legally binding document. Deviating from that agreement should and must bear consequences. Barring any sanctions on CCA, there is little hope that Bahamian contractors will find any meaningful work on this project.”

“In 2018, The Bahamas should not be entering into relationships where companies are importing their labor to build their developments to the exclusion of local contractors. The government of The Bahamas should ensure that opportunities are available for Bahamians in their own country.”

There are some local contractors that are part of the development, though Sands is calling for much more inclusion of local contractors.

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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