Brensil Rolle now misleads Parliament

Brensil Rolle

Since the member for Garden hills have brought up the 70% Brizillians on the previous US terminal, he has now jogged our memories and we are now dusting off our files on a company known as Balfour Beatty.

The company we now remember was the link to a senior FNM close family member.



  1. While reading let’s think Bahamas.. So if we found offensive what the PLP, who was the governing party in The Bahamas allowed and we dismissed them, why shouldn’t we dismiss those who would embrace this policy that we all found/find so rupulsive.

  2. Everyone so quick to shout Bahamianization and talk about what the FNM is doing. Foreign work force is nothing new….ask the PLP they are experts.

    THE DEBATE on the number of Chinese to be employed on the construction of the Baha Mar Cable Beach project — six hotels, about a 100,000-square foot casino, a 200,000 square-foot convention centre, 20-acre beach and pool, 18-hole golf course and a 60,000-square foot retail village with additional residential products — is going to be interesting, if and when it takes place on the floor of the House.

    The number of foreign workers required by the Chinese as part of the deal is unusually large. But it is well known that the Chinese do not approve foreign loans unless their workforce is employed as a major part of the loan project. In the case of Baha Mar — valued at about $2.5 billion – $1.918,965,693 billion has been negotiated with the China Construction Company as primary contractors. With that financial outlay it is amazing that government was able to negotiate any Bahamian presence. As Mr Ingraham said in presenting his resolution for this project to the House “the foreign labour component intended during the construction for the resort exceeds levels ever experienced in the Bahamas and is beyond anything ever contemplated by my government.”

    Under the UBP, construction up to a certain value was reserved for Bahamian contractors. Over that value it was agreed that Bahamians did not yet have the expertise or equipment to handle very large jobs and so those were left to foreign contractors, such as McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and others. In the 1950s, said Mr Ingraham, the government permitted 25 per cent of the labour force in construction and/or the operation of tourism development to be foreign.

    During the Pindling era, however, the foreign labour component increased and newspaper articles recorded protests, either by foreign workers complaining of working conditions, or Bahamians questioning their presence in the Bahamas. For example, in 1988, 600 angry Indians went on hunger strike on the construction site of the Crystal Palace Hotel, Cable Beach. They accused the foreign contractor, Balfour Beatty, of treating them as slaves. Earlier – in 1981 – the Construction and Civil Engineering Union picketed the construction site of government’s $66.5 million Cable Beach Hotel. “They import Filipinos to shovel sand. You tell me no Bahamans can do that?” complained a Bahamian worker. There were 40 Filipinos on that job site.

    But the 1990 demonstration to protest the employment of common labourers — truck drivers for example — from Brazil on government’s $55 million Nassau International Airport expansion was particularly interesting. The ratio of foreigners to Bahamians was 70 per cent on that construction site with government having to pay a large penalty if the number of Bahamians went over the agreed 139 or 30 per cent of the total work force. This prompted the carrying of placards that read: “It’s Better in the Bahamas for Brazilians!”

    At one point during the contract there were more than 340 Brazilians at the construction site, bringing the Brazilian count to 71 per cent compared to the 139 Bahamians that the company had agreed to use during this period.

    The Pindling government had agreed that for every five Bahamians hired by the Brazilian company over the agreed 139 Bahamian workers, the government would have to pay $88,000 or $17,000 for each worker.

    In the House on April 30, 1990, then Opposition Leader Hubert Ingraham revealed that the Pindling government had also agreed to pay all of the Brazilian company’s Customs and stamp duties, work permit fees for their workers, and building fees on mechanical and electrical permits. In addition government was to pay all public utility fees — connections and the like — except for the actual electrical consumption.

    The FNM found it preposterous that government would be penalised if more than 139 Bahamians were hired at the airport. “It is incredible that the Government has agreed to pay extra monies for Bahamians to work in their own country,” said the FNM.

    When the Ingraham government came to power its policy on foreign labour was established on the resort properties of Kerzner International — the ratio of Bahamians to non-Bahamians on that site was not to exceed 30 per cent foreign to 70 per cent Bahamian.

    And now here were the Chinese financially backing the transformation of Cable Beach into a mega tourist resort and asking for 8,150 of their countrymen to be engaged on the “core project”. The projection is that some 1,200 Bahamians will be engaged in construction of the non-core projects.

    Because of the unusual request for foreign labour — 71 per cent foreign to 29 per cent Bahamian — Prime Minister Ingraham has brought the matter to the House to give the Opposition an opportunity to express the opinions of their constituents on the matter. Both sides have to determine – in the words of Mr Ingraham – “whether this invaluable benefit of skills transfer and improved exposure to new technologies can or will occur in a project where contact between Bahamians and foreign experts is likely to be limited.” Bahamians also have to decide whether in these lean years this project, with its foreign labour, is what they believe will jump start their economy.

    September 28, 2010

  3. Has mr Brensil rolle been promoted to the minister of housing, is mr Kenneth russell ill he does’nt same to contribute to the house debates on matters relating to housing development.

  4. this dum *** man misleading the bahamian people he make me sick and thats why the fnm gone!!. and that minister who drop the custom duty tax for his sister he aint get no shame. how can the fnm pay 70million for a seven mile road my lord what next.

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