No work permits will be awarded at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) for jobs that can be performed by Bahamians, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said.
He made the comments in the House of Assembly on Thursday after Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin questioned the government’s concern for BTC employees amid concerns over rumored layoffs at the company.
BTC CEO Garfield “Garry” Sinclair confirmed to The Nassau Guardian yesterday that the company will engage in voluntary separation packages.
Minnis said, “The member gave the impression that this government, we do not care about the workers at BTC, but I want the member to know that I was waiting for the meeting with the relevant BTC ownership, and at that meeting it was made quite clear that The Bahamas government will not allow its call center to be moved to Guyana.
“That was made quite clear.
“And another matter the member must be quite aware of, once a position in BTC can be held and performed by a Bahamian, there will be no foreign entity allowed nor given a work permit to perform a job over a Bahamian.
“And we would only be bound if the contract agreement allows it, but outside the contract agreement, no work permit will be given to any foreigner to replace any member of BTC.”
Earlier this week, a video of Liberty Latin America CEO Balan Nair criticizing BTC and its employees made the rounds on social media.
He made the comments at a recent Liberty Global town hall meeting in Jamaica, during which he said that BTC is one of Liberty Latin America’s lowest-performing subsidiaries. Nair also joked about the prime minister asking for more jobs for Bahamians and being unable to look Sinclair in the eyes. He later apologized.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish