Pinder: Mexican labor issue above my pay grade

Director of Labour John Pinder said he played no role in approving work permits for the 135 Mexicans assisting Baker’s Bay’s Hurricane Dorian recovery and reconstruction efforts, noting that he doesn’t “do foolishness” with his job.

“Let me categorically state, I had no involvement in those Mexicans coming here. That was above my pay grade. That amount they wanted, they would’ve had to speak with the special committee with the Cabinet who would’ve announced or given them approval,” Pinder said on Friday while on “The Hit Back with Nahaja Black” on Guardian Radio 96.9.

He added, “They don’t need to come to the Department of Labour. The Cabinet or the special committee form the Cabinet makes that decision.”

Pinder added, “They don’t need a certificate from the Labour Department. They gave immigration instructions to give these people their work permits to come in. So, please, people out there, I don’t do foolishness with my job.

“I don’t do foolishness when it comes to Bahamians. I’m a nationalist at heart.”

His comments came after public concern was raised regarding its decision to employ foreigners at a time when many Abaco residents are still jobless in the wake of the deadly Category 5 storm and thousands of other Bahamians are without work due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Baker’s Bay, a development on Guana Cay, Abaco, yesterday defended its decision to hire the foreigners, noting a “critical” need for “a large scale specialized” workforce in a short timeframe.

“A critical element in the recovery efforts at Baker’s Bay is the availability of a specialized reconstruction workforce to complete our ambitious restoration and reopening goals,” it said.

“Given the increase in demand for construction services in both Abaco and Grand Bahama as a result of the damage sustained by Hurricane Dorian, the availability of a large scale specialized workforce to restore and reopen the property in the shortest timeframe is critical.

“As such, Baker’s Bay has sought and received approval for our 135 Mexican national construction work team — the global workforce (GWF) — who will supplement our existing robust and ongoing, primarily Bahamian labor driven construction efforts that includes some 420 Bahamian professionals.”

Baker’s Bay said that by bringing in the Mexicans, it has significantly increased its probability for achieving recovery and reopening goals as they specialize in the recovery and reconstruction of hurricane-ravaged communities and, particularly, private club communities such as Baker’s Bay.

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