New coronavirus could affect completion date of The Pointe

The completion date of China Construction America’s development The Pointe could be affected by COVID-19, the new coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China, in December, The Nassau Guardian understands.

A Pointe official told The Guardian yesterday that the company has to reassess whether it will still be able to follow its schedule, or when a possible opening date could now be.

However, he noted that work is still ongoing on the project in the meantime.

On January 30, shortly after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health emergency, the government announced a travel ban on all non residents of The Bahamas who have visited China within the prior 20 days.

Bahamian residents are allowed to return, but will have to be quarantined for 14 days.

Chinese Ambassador Huang Qinguo has noted the Chinese Embassy in The Bahamas was also assessing the implications the ban could have on Chinese workers who might not be able to return to the country as a result.

According to Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes, ongoing talks between the government and the company regarding the number of foreign workers on the project have also been stalled due to the ban.

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

“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.”

The heads of agreement between China Construction America and the government called for the labor ratio at The Pointe to be 70 percent Bahamian and 30 percent foreign, but Foulkes last month said the actual percentages are the opposite.

During the Department of Labour’s last inspection, it was discovered that there were 229 Chinese, 38 other nationalities and just 97 Bahamians working on the project, Director of Labour John Pinder noted last month.

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