The Pointe, Ministry of Labour figures of Bahamian workers ‘conflict’
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said yesterday that the ministry is investigating conflicting figures surrounding the number of Bahamian workers at The Pointe.
Foulkes said that The Pointe presented reports to the ministry that indicated that the number of Bahamian workers was much higher than the ministry’s own surveys found.
“We have agreed to do several surveys as a result of some of the controversy that came up last year,” he said while speaking on Guardian Radio’s Morning Blend with Dwight Strachan.
“We have so far conducted two surveys since that controversy. We have sort of a conflict between our results and what The Pointe is reporting to the Ministry of Labour in terms of their figures.
“So, we have scheduled a meeting with them to see if we can reconcile what we found as opposed to what they are saying is on the ground.”
He added, “They have presented certain reports to us where the Bahamian component is much higher than our reports indicate. So, we want to be fair to them, so that is something that we are trying to settle with them.
“We don’t have a definitive position on it at this point.”
According to Foulkes, The Pointe said that the numbers would vary depending on when the ministry’s surveys were conducted.
“One of the things that they explained to us, depending on what the job is at any given time, that would influence the Bahamian to non-Bahamian component,” he said.
“So, when we send our inspectors, the timing that we send our inspectors may reveal different results depending on what’s being done at the site.
“So, that is something that we are investigating.”
He added, “Their argument is they have different jobs at different times. I think they said they have something like 10 Bahamian companies there that are working that employ Bahamians. As a job finishes, new companies may come on. It’s all a question on when you do an inspection.”
Last year, Bahamas Contractors’ Association (BCA) President Leonard Sands complained about the ratio of Bahamian to foreign workers on the project.
The BCA said there were only 42 or 43 Bahamians currently working on the project, and queried if The Pointe was living up to the terms of the heads of agreement (HOA) which stipulates that there be 70 percent Bahamian workers and 30 percent foreign workers.
However, in the aftermath of those complaints, Director of Labour John Pinder said he had personally visited The Pointe and was satisfied that the complement of Bahamian workers there was in keeping with its agreement with the government.