Staff hike at ministry was justified - Wilchcombe


Tribune Business Reporter

Former Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday defended his decision to increase the size of the ministry’s staff by 55 per cent under this tenure. Mr Wilchcombe told Tribune Business he was proud of the fact he had created opportunities for Bahamian professionals to be employed within his department, a move he said was done within the ministry’s budgetary constraints.

“Obviously this administration has a different strategy they wish to deploy. That is their right given the mandate they received from the people,” he told the paper.

“I sought to Bahamianise the ministry and open new offices to cause for many qualified Bahamians to have an opportunity to be employed. We have qualified Bahamians with two and three degrees who can work anywhere in the world and countries certainly will try to lure them. We can’t just continue using outside agencies and that’s why we are doing more work in house now, employing Bahamians. The reality is there was still space for further hires.”

Mr Wilchcombe said he was uncertain of the number of people recruited under his watch but arguing the bigger issue was regardless what the number was they were qualified Bahamian professionals.

“I wanted to ensure they were working throughout the industry and we were creating linkages,” he said. “The thing is we needed more staff. We took on more festivals for instance and we opened more offices in the United States and elsewhere which is why we brought in more people to assist. There are many department heads still complaining about being understaffed.”

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar has pointed to the growth of the tourism department despite the industry’s failure to grow over the past few years. According to Mr D’Aguilar there were 260 employees when Mr Wilchcombe assumed office as Tourism Minister in 2012 and 403 when he left.

Mr Wilchcombe said yesterday: “I am proud of the individuals that we brought in. One also has to consider attrition and we were also preparing for that. I certainly don’t want to get into a back and forth with the minister. The law gives him the right to do what he sees fit. I believe however that what I did was in the interest of the country. There certainly was nothing political about it. We never went looking to ascertain whether someone was an FNM or a PLP. All that we did was intended to improve the ministry and become the marketing force as we should and to grow the sector.”


sealice says...

All the hotel workers were losing their jobs, that lady that leads the union is horrible, so Obie did what he had to do and starting hiring hotel workers in his ministry.....It's kinda like the taking the golden egg and making an omelette...

Posted 9 August 2017, 3:34 p.m. Suggest removal

baldbeardedbahamian says...

The minister did not learn his lesson when his cousin from a nearby country was imprisoned by the British for his blatant acts of corruption while he held senior political office. Maybe these corrupt ministers are just as dumb as the street criminals who think they will never be caught. If only the corrupt Lynden Pindling could have been tried and convicted then these jokers would nnot have felt so untouchable.

Posted 9 August 2017, 3:51 p.m. Suggest removal

Greentea says...

In an age when the tourism business is changing, increasing staff at the MoT based on an out of date model is utterly ridiculous. Playing king with the tax payer money.

Posted 9 August 2017, 8:25 p.m. Suggest removal

realfreethinker says...

What a clown. Tourism numbers have been stagnant the las tfew years and the idiot's solution is to icrease staff. I see why this country is so broke. How does he justify hiring over 20 persons one month before election. They relly take ud for idiots. Fook you Obie

Posted 9 August 2017, 9:35 p.m. Suggest removal

C2B says...

Oh well; the hiring strategy didn't work. Let's go back to the old staffing levels and save the money. Simple.
Also why not cancel the Junkanoo thing that didn't work. Here is a little known secret; no one outside of the Bahamas cares about Junkanoo. Really. If we want a party for locals, fine. Just don't kid yourselves that the rest of the world wants to attend.

Posted 10 August 2017, 9:21 a.m. Suggest removal

Well_mudda_take_sic says...

It's not that simple. The very corrupt Mr. Wilchcombe needs to be held accountable and responsible for abuse of his public office and the public trust, not only regarding this particular matter, but many other matters as well.

Posted 10 August 2017, 9:40 a.m. Suggest removal

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