‘Publish jobs of permit holders’

photo

Ranard Henfield

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

SENATOR Ranard Henfield, leader of the We March protest movement, wants the government to disclose the list of jobs and positions for which work permits have been issued to non-Bahamians to perform.

In a Facebook post this week he noted: “I'm (also) urging the government to indicate how long these positions/persons have been on work permits. Upon production of this report, Bahamians would know which upper and middle management jobs will be available at the end of that 12 month success plan period."

Asked about this, a government minister granted anonymity to discuss a matter not officially reviewed by the government, expressed openness to it but added that any such matter would have to be considered by Cabinet before a position is taken.

I have always been disturbed by resorts putting Bahamian staff on two to three day work weeks after receiving millions of dollars in concessions," Mr Henfield wrote. "Not to mention the fact that shares in these resorts had not been sold to Bahamian staff. I have always been disturbed by resorts and expat-owned businesses closing for months while staff don't receive salaries during the closure. Some of these business owners have skipped town, never to return while staff are waiting to be paid."

Post-Emancipation Day, the Bahamas should no longer allow Bahamian workers to be exploited by investors and hoteliers, Mr Henfield said.

"For starters, at least 60 per cent of upper and middle management of every resort/hotel should, by law come August 2018, implement a twelve month succession plan to replace the large amount of non-Bahamian workers with Bahamian workers.” he wrote. “We have too many of our people with the qualifications in hotel management that are unemployed or underemployed while expats are raking in 10's of thousands of dollars each year."

In May, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has directed government officials to ensure that no foreigner should get a work permit where there are qualified Bahamians to fill that position.

Speaking about the Free National Movement’s position on the issue at the time, Mr Foulkes said the Minnis administration is committed to maximising Bahamian employment where possible adding that the government is in talks with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for a $20m loan for apprenticeship and workforce training.

Senator Foulkes said since assuming his post after the May 10 election, he has been “very strict” in approving labour certificates for work permits and has denied or deferred many of them.

“The prime minister has given me directions to ensure that no foreigner gets a permit where there is a Bahamian available to do the job,” he said at the time.

Comments

Economist says...

Senator Henfield clearly does not understand what needs to be done to create employment. Getting a list of work permits is not the answer.

Indeed, if we issued many more work permits he would find that employment of us Bahamians would grow

Posted 11 August 2017, 3:17 p.m. Suggest removal

OldFort2012 says...

Absolutely right. But he has his future political career to think about. How else is someone with no qualifications whatsoever supposed to make a great living, if not from constant suckling at the teat of the taxpayer? And to do that he has to spout the rubbish the unwashed masses want to hear.

Posted 11 August 2017, 3:40 p.m. Suggest removal

jackbnimble says...

No qualifications? Mr. Henfield is a trained attorney.

Posted 11 August 2017, 4:06 p.m. Suggest removal

TheMadHatter says...

I don't think his desire for disclosure means he doesn't understand the economics of it. I agree with you that we need LOTS of foreign employees here training us esp. in banking, but in many other industries.

The point, though, is for this not to take place (like most things in the Bahamas) behind a cloak, or swept under a rug. This could be a section of the bahamas dot gov website where anyone could look and see. We could restrict it to access only by Bahamian ISPs so that foreign persons don't have their business spread all over the world.

We could also LEARN as a people of all the wonderful things that our fellow Bahamians are learning from these persons and growing in their knowledge and careers.

If there were 5,000 of them here working and training Bahamians - that would be great. The problem, though, is the Govt will say there are 300 persons here training us - but will not tell us that there are 4700 others here working but not training. We are supposed to be happy with 300.

I am glad to see him getting started on the right foot as a Senator. I marched with him and was delighted to speak with him in person on a few occasions. He is a true Bahamian patriot - even though, like me, he is not perfect and falls short of the Glory of God. Don't we all? And I'm sure he would readily admit that.

Posted 11 August 2017, 11:12 p.m. Suggest removal

TalRussell says...

Comrade "We March" Senator Ranard, is wasting no time draining whatever little red battery life he started out with..... But I thinks Minnis done knew appointing him to the Upper Red Chamber - couldn't possibly stop this Maverick from fast draining down his red battery's charge.
Now, let's wait see if he outlasts the Green Party's Bran's time sitting up in the Senate? I knows you're asking..... Bran Who.... But don't count Bran out just yet ..... I hear Minnis is all 'locked and loaded' for a cushy political appointment job for Bran? They says best keep your political enemies in sight...... likes PM Christie did with the Pot cake!

Posted 11 August 2017, 3:56 p.m. Suggest removal

jackbnimble says...

Publishing the names is not the only answer. It's also fixing the system. How else do you explain why a foreigner is able to keep a job for 10 years in the same position without anyone noticing that no one was trained to replace him.

Check this out: The procedure to get a work permit especially for a high-ranking job requires that you first apply for a Labour Certificate. In order to get the Labour Certificate you have to advertise the job for three consecutive days one of the local newspapers. The application for the Labour Certificate requires that you submit the responses to the ad. So even if a "qualified Bahamian" has applied for the job, what do you do? You simply don't send his response with your application. Instead you send the responses of the persons who did not qualify to make it look like there is no Bahamian qualified for the job.

Additionally on the application for the Labour Certificate you have to fill in the name of a Bahamian you are training to replace the expat. Any old "Jo Blow" will do. So how is it that 3 years later the expat is still on the job and nobody is noticing that his work permit is being renewed every year and the Bahamian who's name was put on the application form has yet to replace him.

The Labour Certificate is a waste of time. It's merely a formality and the persons who hire the expats know it.

But I blame the Government/Minister of Labour who have allowed it to happen. It explains why the place is saturated with foreigners. We do not follow through on our own policies. We do not have checks and balances.

Posted 11 August 2017, 4:18 p.m. Suggest removal

Economist says...

It is interesting to note the immigration policies in Turks and also Cayman and then look at the amount of unemployment.

Posted 11 August 2017, 4:24 p.m. Suggest removal

CatIslandBoy says...

Some of you bloggers just make stuff up! Mr. Henfield is an attorney, and a brilliant one too. However, don't let a little fact get in the way of belittling a well-qualified young Bahamian. Tal, you just make up stuff that has no grounding whatsoever in any semblance of truth.

Posted 11 August 2017, 4:24 p.m. Suggest removal

TalRussell says...

Comrade CatIslandBoy, I would never post anything I know to be an outright lie. The key is to present lucid enough facts that will make readers question, if all the stars were aligned - could there be 'some ounce truth' to the post..... After all, I only get creative with politicians and the people they appoint and surround themselves with.... And, I never make it mean or personal.

Posted 11 August 2017, 4:43 p.m. Suggest removal

killemwitdakno says...

The last time I saw this report, it was in the paper during the hurricane where of course no one probably saw it.

Department of statistics is useless if you can't go to their site and see it.

Posted 11 August 2017, 4:59 p.m. Suggest removal

BahamasForBahamians says...

This guy lost his credibility when he said he would march within 100 days if the government didn't legislate a freedom of information act, instate a 2 term prime minister rule, and repeal vat on bread basket items.

We are 8 days out of the 100 day mark and its as if the senator post has muzzled his thrive for a better Bahamas.

"WE March leader Ranard Henfield, in his first speech as a senator yesterday, said the support Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has expressed for some of his organisation's demands is proof that the new administration is delivering what activists wanted.

#Mr Henfield said that many demands of the We March organisation are on the table under the new "people's government" and they already have "ticks next to them."

#In May, Mr Henfield released a list of demands of the government. A failure to accomplish them within the first 100 days of the administration would prompt his organisation to take to the streets and march again, he had said. The demands included lowering the cost of living and jailing corrupt politicians."
http://www.tribune242.com/news/2017/j...

Posted 11 August 2017, 5:05 p.m. Suggest removal

SP says...

**Economist & OldFort2012** ... Please expound on how "issuing many more work permits he would find that employment of us Bahamians would grow"?

That has to be the most foolish, asinine statement made to date!

You two cannot possibly be Bahamians or are joined at the hip with **P**illage **L**oot **P**lunder or **F**oreign **N**ational **M**ovements tribes who "governed" the country with that same philosophy which has led us to the crippling position we now find ourselves.

Unquestionable substantiating circumstances causing the collapse of the economy is evidence that expats "spending" habits and the repatriation of USD have caused negative effects on our foreign reserves and simultaneously killed the local economy as expats are traditionally hoarders of hard currencies, invest only in home countries, and do not "spend" anywhere near as Bahamians would in the local economy. This is totally understandable as these peoples interest is assisting a family in home countries and have no interest whatsoever in staying/growing/developing the Bahamas.

The Stark reality is If the Bahamas got rid of 50,000 low skilled expat blue/white collar workers and replaced them with low/medium skilled Bahamians workers, the country would experience an immediate renaissance of the economy as these people would"spend" exponentially more locally, instead of repatriating income abroad. (DUH, AMEM, DUH, DUH)

Banking, inter island tourism, real estate, car sales, retailers, apartment rentals, restaurants, dry cleaners, food stores and literally every sector of the economy would show instant robust gains if Bahamians held these jobs instead of expats.

Unquestionably Sen. Ranard Henfield obviously had to have been as blindsided as PM Sheriff Minnis when they took the seat of power and was forced to the "true realization" of the ailing and horrible dire straights of the country.

**FACTUAL REALITY** is a quick study for intelligent individuals as Sen. Ranard Henfield and PM Sheriff Minnis which dictates the need for recalibration, compromise, and steady heads, while translating to mass confusion and idealistic ideas to fools!

**Economist & OldFort2012** by their statements, have placed themselves in the "fools" category extraordinaire.

Posted 11 August 2017, 7:15 p.m. Suggest removal

Economist says...

SP it is very clear that you don't travel very much and, if you do, that you have not got any further than the United States.

Your eyes and thoughts are stuck in the mid twentieth century.

If you reduce the number of work permits you will collapse the Bahamian economy.

Also the governments have borrowed so much money that we must have some foreign direct investment to survive. Can't do any of this without those work permits.

If you want isolationism go to Venezuela or North Korea.

Posted 11 August 2017, 10:49 p.m. Suggest removal

SP says...

Lol...What is "clear" is your assumptions have proven you an even bigger fool than anticipated. FYI, I am a frequent traveler to several continents and abandoned visiting the United States over 10 years ago!

You've made another stupid assertion that "reducing the number of work permits you will collapse the Bahamian economy" **total pig nanny!**

Your Perry Christie style smoke and mirror diatribe purposely cross's from one subject to the next. The situation in question concerns low skilled work permit holders. "Foreign direct investment" was never mentioned or alluded to. Everyone without a brain knows the need and benefits of FDI.

However, there is no need and a huge negative benefit of having 100,000 low skilled, blue collar expat workers holding jobs that low skilled blue collar Bahamians should possess!

FDI are welcomed to our country with open arms and work permits for **"essential personnel"** must be granted.

Posted 12 August 2017, 7:17 a.m. Suggest removal

regrolli says...

I am continually astounded by the ongoing vitriol being spat by Bahamians who insist that our already overly restrictive immigration policy needs to be further restricted. The open disdain of everything foreign that is shamelessly shouted from the rooftops by Bahamians on a daily basis is sickening. How in God's good name are we to attract FDI with an invitation in one hand and a leash in the other? When are we going to realize we are trying to make an old model work in a new world? We desperately need diversification in business and as much as the naysayers may dislike it, this likely will come via foreign investment; we have to be able to attract the foreign people who can bring it. What do young Bahamians currently have to aspire to? Utilize immigration as an incentive to attract new ideas, new industry and new business rather than as a deterrent. With all the anti foreign discourse I read on a daily basis, if I were a potential non-Bahamian business owner, I would no more invest money here than I would roll it up and smoke it! For the love of God, please let's open our eyes, get out of the way of ourselves and start realizing that not everything foreign is inherently evil.

Posted 12 August 2017, 12:32 a.m. Suggest removal

SP says...

Posted 12 August 2017, 7:22 a.m. Suggest removal

DaGoobs says...

The whole work permit application process is nonsensical and devoid of any long term strategy for the growth, development and employment of Bahamians in replacement of so called foreign specialists. As I have said before, the work permit is not issued on condition in specified cases that the foreign specialist must train and mentor one or more Bahamian understudies to take over his/her position within a 3 to 5 year timeframe with measurable milestones involved so that Immigration and the Bahamian(s) can ascertain that training and mentoring is actually being provided. Then we have the pay disparities between Bahamians and work permit holders. Bahamians get their regular salary, maybe a pension plan, maybe a medical plan, maybe a bonus system. The work permit holder gets the same things PLUS moving expenses both ways, annual airline ticket(s) home, work permit fees, spouse and children residency permit fees, maybe a company vehicle or a vehicle loan, gasoline allowance, house/apartment rent, children's school fees, airline passage coming and going, and other benefits. I live from pay check to pay check while some of these folks live off the non-salary monies that they get while banking their monthly salary or sending it to their home country. Then there is all the secrecy and mysticism in the whole application process. Other than want ads large and small in the newspapers, some of which one can clearly understand what skills and specialties the potential employer is looking for, there are other ads which obfuscate who it is the employer is looking for beyond the applicant being fluent in one or more languages other than English. I was in Turks & Caicos some time back and was amazed that persons that persons there who were applying for residency permits (seemingly the foreign spouses of Turks "citizens) had to publish their names, nationality and other information with a photo in a local newspaper so that locals who might wish to object were aware of who was applying for what. It struck me that the Bahamas should have similar requirements for citizenship, residency and work permit applicants in this country. So Senator Henfield's proposal is not so far fetched as some people would like us to believe.

Posted 12 August 2017, 2:30 a.m. Suggest removal

Porcupine says...

Most business people want to make money.
They don't care who they hire, so long as that person will do their job in a capable professional manner.
Most any business person is happy to have a qualified person working for them.
It is even better to have a person of the same nationality of the country you are operating in.
As I see it, 1 in 10 Bahamians have the work ethic to hold a job anywhere other than here.
If you want a better Bahamas, start working to improve Bahamians skill sets and work ethics and we may get somewhere as a country.
By focusing on work permits, we confine ourselves to selling mediocrity.
Provide great applicants and you will get great jobs.
We seem so focused on this idea that foreigners are killing this country that we are blinded to our own suicidal ways.
Sad.

Posted 12 August 2017, 7:22 a.m. Suggest removal

killemwitdakno says...

Data is needed for progress around here. FDI have to know what kind of jobs usually need permits. Decision making info required for ease of doing business.

Posted 13 August 2017, 6:25 p.m. Suggest removal

Bigbellyboy says...

Too much control is given to companies applying for work permit permissions to the Department of Labor. If you look carefully at the bottom of the application form it asks the question "Have Any Bahamians Applied for the Position". The answer is invariably no even if Bahamians have applied--I know I've been there. Better control is needed at the Department of Labor as follows: 1) Companies would not advertise positions. They should be required to send the ad to the Dept. Of labor which would in turn place the ad. Responses to the ad would go to Labor and not the Company looking to hire. 2) interviews would take place in front of an official from Labor. 3) Only if Labor agreed there were no suitable applicants would permission be granted to look toward an overseas hire. Control of the process leading to the granting of a work permit is extremely poor as it allows companies to knowingly and with malice of fore thought exclude suitable Bahamian job candidates.

Posted 14 August 2017, 11:40 a.m. Suggest removal

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