Categorized | National News

Gov’t Moving to Ensure Foreign Investors Live up to Promises

The government is reviewing and monitoring all Heads of Agreements, particularly as it relates to labour and training.
In fact, according to Labour Minister Shane Gibson, a number of meetings have already been held with representatives of foreign director investors.

“Focus is being placed on ensuring that commitments given with regard to employment and training are implemented and the use of Bahamian labour is maximised,” he said while contributing to the mid-year debate in the House of Assembly last Thursday.

“The problem we have is that no one actually monitors these agreements to ensure that the commitments made by the developers are actually carried out. And so, in many instances we found that the developers themselves took advantage of the fact that we did not have any unit in the government to ensure that they commit to “X” amount of training. And so, we’re monitoring to make sure we get everything we’re supposed to get out of these Heads of Agreements and not just up front but from the back end as well.”

The minister further assured that no work permit will be issued unless the immigration and labour departments are certain a Bahamian is given an opportunity to fill the position.

“In the event a work permit is issued, the government has put a system in place whereby a Bahamian is identified as an understudy and a training programme is implemented and monitored by the Inspectorate Unit,” he said. “My ministry is reviewing the fee schedule and payment structure of the labour certificate with a view to increase revenue for the government.

“On the form, there was always a place to indicate who the Bahamian understudy was and, for the most part, most employers would ignore that. Now, we are making it mandatory for the employer to identify the understudy; to say who the Bahamian is understudying the foreigner to eventually sit in that seat.”

Minister Gibson also at the time spoke out against employees being paid below the minimum wage.

Minimum wage is set at $30 for an eight-hour day, $150 a week in the private sector; a figure the minister said is “too low.”

“In some instances, employees are intimidated or afraid to come to the Department of Labour to report it because they’re afraid of losing their jobs,” Minister Gibson added. “But I encourage workers do not be intimated.

“We have persons you can speak to confidentially. We won’t call your name. You just call us and bring us the information just call us and we’ll send inspectors on the job to investigate to ensure that Bahamian workers are not being taken advantage of.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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