BCPOU calls for ZNS GM to resign

Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) President Dino Rolle yesterday called for the resignation of Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (BCB) General Manager Kayleaser Deveaux-Isaacs.

Two employees at the corporation tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. 

On Monday, Rolle claimed that employees, who were exposed to the first COVID-19-positive employee, were told to report to work on Sunday and not allowed to quarantine. 

During a press conference outside ZNS’ headquarters yesterday, Rolle said, “The union came this morning simply to ask for the resignation of one Kayleaser Deveaux-Isaacs because, Madam GM, you have failed your employees.”

He added, “Repeatedly, after the government issued its return-to-work guidelines and indicated in the guidelines about the employer’s responsibility to the employees as it relates to the Health and Safety Act in providing them basic personal protective equipment; the management at this broadcasting corporation have refused to do so, as recent as August 10.

“The BCPOU sent a communication to management that they have yet to respond and now we are where we have now two persons who have contracted the COVID-19.”

Rolle accused management of attempting to “bully” staff back onto the job.

In a statement, BCB said it and the board of directors were “satisfied” that the general manager and executive team immediately applied all necessary COVID-19 protocols as outlined and confirmed by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Environmental Health Services.

“The board fully supported these actions,” it said.

“The relevant areas affected were cleaned and sanitized immediately after the first positive test and thereafter, the entire building was sanitized and cleaned.

“Both union presidents were notified during every step of the process as well as being invited to attend during the cleaning and sanitization by the Department of Environmental Health Services.”

ZNS said its news updates and nightly newscast would be broadcast from its Freeport office until further notice.

On August 17, BCB’s general manager issued a memo to staff.

“In addition to the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic, the corporation is facing serious financial challenges and, as a result, therefore, the board and executive management will be determining how to restructure the corporation which may, if absolutely necessary, include downsizing, to ensure the future economic viability and sustainability of the corporation,” the memo read.

Yesterday, Rolle described management as “heartless”.  

“I think that is unconscionable,” he said in response to the idea of downsizing.

“It shows that the general manager lacks empathy for her staff and that’s the reason why the union is asking for her resignation.” 

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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