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Foulkes says China ban has hampered Pointe workforce assessment

Progress on addressing the ratio of Bahamian to foreign workers at The Pointe is being held up because two of the managers recently traveled to China and now cannot get back into The Bahamas, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said yesterday.

Foulkes said they cannot re-enter the country due to the government’s decision to ban travel from China in an effort to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

“We haven’t done a new assessment yet, but we are in the process of doing that,” he said.

“We had spoken to the principals of The Pointe. Unfortunately, both of the main managers are in China.

“They went for the new year and unfortunately, because of the virus, they were unable to return to The Bahamas.

“I don’t know when he’s going to return, but as soon as he does, we intend to have a meeting about it.”

Foulkes said last month that the ratio of Bahamian to foreign workers at The Pointe should be around 70 to 30. However, it has been found to be the opposite with foreign workers far outnumbering Bahamians on the project.

He said the ministry was in talks with the company to determine a way forward.

The matter of percentages of Bahamian employees at The Pointe has been a concern for some time.

Last June, Foulkes said there were discrepancies between the ministry’s count of workers and the figures provided by The Pointe.

He said 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.

Foulkes said last month that the same problem of conflicting figures persists now. He said The Pointe claims that the ratio of workers changes significantly depending on when and what time of day the assessments are conducted.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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