Column: Famous On Bermudian Employment

April 15, 2015

[Opinion column written by Chris Famous]

On Monday March 2, 2015 Tourism Minister Crockwell delivered The Hotels Concession [Pink Beach Hotel] Order 2015 [PDF].

Minister Crockwell stated, “Mr. Speaker, the developer plans to employ between 80 and 100 construction positions with the majority of these jobs being held by Bermudians. Pink Beach Hotel estimates that 50 to 80 long-term, full-time hospitality positions will become available, half of which will held by Bermudians and offer some employment opportunities to students.”

On Wednesday March 18, 2015 during the debate on Hotels Concession [Pink Beach Hotel] Order 2015 in the Senate, OBA Senator Vic Ball repeated this statement, “Pink Beach Hotel estimates that 50 to 80 long-term, full-time hospitality positions will become available, half of which will held by Bermudians and offer some employment opportunities to students.”

In response to PLP Senator Diallo Rabain’s questioning why Pink Beach will only be 50% Bermudian staffed, Senator Ball responded, “On the question of why only 50% Bermudian staff, as this is a new luxury boutique hotel, there is a certain level of experience that is required that will come from overseas.”

Immigration Policy

This statement appears to be in direct violation of our current work permit policy which states; “main criterion in assessing whether or not to grant foreign nationals permission to work in Bermuda is whether there is a suitably qualified Bermudian, Spouse of a Bermudian or PRC holder who is interested in the job and available to do it.

Consequently most work permit categories require employers to conduct a bona fide search including advertising vacancies on bermudajobboard.bm and in the newspaper. Additionally, employers should take care to hire suitably qualified Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders who fulfil the minimum advertised requirements.”

How is the OBA and Senator Ball able to state that only 50% of these jobs will be held by Bermudian when Pink Beach has not even advertised for qualified Bermudians to fill the remaining posts?

What Training Plan?

OBA Senator Ball speaks of “certain level of experience that is required” to fills these posts. Why isn’t the OBA implementing training for Bermudians now in preparation for when these jobs come available?

Isn’t this the purpose of OBA’s highly publicized National Training Plan that Minister Fahy unveiled in May 2014 when he stated, “The Plan will fulfil our goals of ensuring that Bermuda ultimately reduces our reliance on overseas labour because we have carefully considered the future needs of the economy and developed our people accordingly.”

Corporate Welfare

At a public forum held in February 2015, Morgan’s Point developer Mr. Craig Christensen announced that he would not promise construction jobs for Bermudians despite taxpayers acting as guarantors for the project to the tune of $165,000,000.00

“Morgan’s Point will have who can do the job for the best price,” he said. “Putting percentages on to things is ultimately dangerous.”

The OBA has granted hotels tax concessions in excess of $20 million without directly requiring that the hotels train and hire Bermudians.

So exactly why are they getting tax breaks from Bermudian taxpayers again?

No Conscience

4,000 Bermudians are currently experiencing unprecedented levels of unemployment. Many Bermudians are now forced to pack up and move out of Bermuda in order to survive.

Recently, OBA MP Jeff Sousa boasted about the rise in work permits under the OBA.

What kind of MP should be bragging about the amount of non-Bermudians who are gaining employment while Bermudians are unemployed and leaving their home in droves?

At this point in our history these questions must be asked:-

  • Why would OBA Minister Crockwell agree to a deal where only 50% of the staff will be Bermudian?
  • Why would OBA Senator Vic Ball ensure non Bermudians are employed while Bermudians are systematically being shut out of jobs in their own country?

- Chris Famous can be contacted via email at Carib_pro@yahoo.com or Twitter at @ryderz777

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Comments (40)

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  1. Aaron G says:

    “4,000 Bermudians are currently experiencing unprecedented levels of unemployment.”

    And why do you suppose that is, Mr Famous?

    • COH AGAIN !! says:

      Well outlined points on UnEmployment in Bermuda today Chris. Keep it up !! I think the government has a major problems on their hands, that seems to be getting worst. Where are the JOBs?

      • Sickofantz says:

        Well part of the jobs will be the 50% mentioned at Pink beach.

  2. C James says:

    I don’t believe this is in direct violation for immigration. It was clearly an honest estimate of the number of Bermudians and foreigners who might be employed. It is understood by everyone that all foreign workers have to be vetted and issued with a permit and only when no Bermudian or spouse or PRC is found for the job.

    This latest effort from Mr Famous is quite simply making something out of nothing.

    Honestly Mr Famous, if this is the best you can do then you are clearly slipping.

    What will you complain about next week? That the sun comes up in the east and unfairly shines on Tuckers Town before everyone else?

    • Chris Famous says:

      “Minister Crockwell stated, “Mr. Speaker, the developer plans to employ between 80 and 100 construction positions with the majority of these jobs being held by Bermudians. Pink Beach Hotel estimates that 50 to 80 long-term, full-time hospitality positions will become available, half of which will held by Bermudians and offer some employment opportunities to students.”

      Before the hotel is completed the OBA is already stating that half the jobs are going to expats.

      • C James says:

        It is an estimation Chris. An estimation. Its an estimation Chris – an estimation. Can I say it any clearer?

        • C James says:

          A badly worded estimation I grant you. But you can do better than this CF. I am a little disappointed.

      • hmmm says:

        Key word was estimates….

        or they can take their money elsewhere and there will be no jobs for Bermudians….sounds like you’d prefer Bermudians to be out of work, so you still have something to bleat on about.

        • @ hmmm: That is the basic problem/s we all are facing on the Island at this time. We often see diehard supporters of the Progressive Labour Party complaining about,(in this case)an “estimate” amount of foreign workers given jobs while overlooking the other side of the coin where we see the other,(estimate)workers who are unemployed that now are / will be hired. Another reality is them that are from elsewhere will be contributing to our/ Bermudas economy just like everyone else that eats, drinks and sleeps on the Island. So Mr. Chris Famous,(and the likes) quite the B/S and get real! Be a part of the solution and stop in-sighting trouble for everyone else.

      • Bermyman says:

        No tax concessions = no hotel.
        Tax concessions = new hotel.

        Which do you prefer? One creates jobs and has a positive economic impact while the other, well it does nothing at all.

        Do we currently have 50-80 highly experienced, service school trained Bermudian hotel staff who are looking for jobs? If so then they obviously will get the jobs as they are qualified. They may not get 30 sick days and double time overtime when they please though!

  3. C James says:

    In addition, you are not telling the whole story about Morgan’s Point – just the part which suits your blinkered point of view.

    • Politricks says:

      Exactly. The Morgan’s Point team stated that they are simply the developer who will choose a contractor to construct the facility.

      As such the Morgan’s Point team does not determine who the contractor hires as that is solely down to the firm that is selected.

      Never has the developer had the right to determine who the chosen contractor hires and this development is no different.

      Well at least he backtracked on last week’s lie that the Pink Beach Act was amended by the Government to permit the hiring of foreigners without having to go through the usual work permit process.

      The above is simple politricks by the usual suspects once again.

      PS: Welfare is when the Government pays out monies to someone (i.e. social assistance) or when the Government forgives an outstanding debt because the individual/institution cannot afford to pay it (i.e. BIU’s bond forgiveness).

  4. Joonya says:

    Bie fack dis guy likes to herr himself tawk.

  5. Yahoo says:

    Does Famoussss have a real job? He seems to have way too much time on his hands…

  6. Alvin Williams says:

    Bermuda for the most part has had to be shock into realization of what is gone wrong with it’s social system. It you don’t think that we are heading into another shock with thousands of Bermudians unemployed; than perhaps you can be forgiven in not being around in the aftermath of the Pitt Commission and before that the Wooding Commission; But it remains true that if you don’t know your history; you are doomed to repeat that history.

  7. stunned... says:

    overheard Bermudian bragging about how he made himself scarce when he thought his company might need his assistance on his day off. was glad they didn’t have his cell number; how he turned down a management job because he didn’t want the responsibility. sounds like a model employee and there are hundreds of him around but would be quick to demonstrate and hold up poorly written placards complaining about work permits being granted to foreigners, (you know, to people who want to work, my words)…#BIAW

    don’t start – born Bermudian with no entitlement issues…

    • sswhite says:

      I could make up something similar. Sounds like fictional novels may be your avenue off island…

      • stunned... says:

        Stop with the silliness. Bermuda is my birthplace and home and it grieves me to hear and see such foolishness from my fellow Bermudians. This story is far from an anomaly. We have some of the worst attitudes and work ethic in our Island.

  8. Just a matter of time says:

    Spot on again Mr. Famous. “New luxury boutique hotel” therefore Bda, whose livelihood has been tourism since forever, STILL cannot be in the majority for employment in this area? Really?! Yet another goal post shift disenfranchising our own. Shame on the OBA for its continuous and consistent anti Bdian policies. And stop blaming the PLP. Let’s keep it in the present here. Here’s yet another opportunity lost to favour our own people. How on earth can promoting a 50% Bdian workforce be looked upon as progress? Oh half a loaf I guess, I see…. Smh!

    • Redman says:

      @ Just a matter of time,

      These numbers are guess work at best and the proof will be in the pudding. In case you haven’t noticed Hotel investors have been burned so often that most are unwilling to risk their hard earned money unless they have some control, that’s just the way it is. Of course we can tell them to shove off as we don’t need their Hotel anyway!!

      How about you and Mr. Famous build a Hotel and staff it with all or majority Bermudians. Do you own and run a business & If not then why not? If yes then tell us what is its operation and how are you doing hiring Bermudians?. I’m sure many would like to know your successful strategy.

      • sswhite says:

        Can we at least start filling the vacancies we have here already? Stayed at a “resort” this weekend past…was a ghost town. All this is is land sell offs so government can keep themselves afloat. PLP’s fault I know I know I know – that drum now has a hole in it… but at least have the guts to call it what it is and put down the silly political flags representing what “team” you are on…

        Not directed at you necessarily “redman” just at that train of thought.

        • Redman says:

          @ sswhite,

          I agree it would be great to get more Bermudians back to work especially on current hotel properties let alone any new Hotel development.

          However if investors wish to tie employment percentages to their investment then that is a situation probably brought about by past experiences. Sadly it is probably going to be the new normal and we may have to accept that or see little to no new development.

          Not waving any political flags, hadn’t blamed the PLP with that nor is it a train of thought, it is just the new reality we find ourselves in. Cheers.

  9. shameless says:

    #partisanhack

  10. Chris Famous says:

    There are near 4,000 unemployed persons in Bermuda.

    So according to some people trend of thought on 1% of them are qualified to work in this hotel.

    So the other 99% are not qualified?

    • Kangoocar says:

      Oh brother!!! Once again we have ” not so famous/plp ” writing fairy tales that are nothing more than total nonsense!!! May I remind you that zaney just recently enthusiastectly endorsed Morgan’s Point and said Bermuda needs this!!! Also, you claim the OBA Jeff Sousa was boasting about the increase of work permits?? What you FAIL to mention is these work permits are for those in the IB sector!!! You go on to claim there is 4000 un – employed Bermudians?? Well let me tell you, I just recently advertised for an employee, I said experienced reffered but willing to TRAIN the right applicant with the right attitude blah blah, also in the ad, I stated a police background check along with a drug test will be required to the successful applicant!! Guess how many applied??? 4 applied, and one of the applicants sent their resume from Sri Lanka?? So the real number is 3??? Luckily one of them looks pretty good but he happens to an American married to a Bermudian!!! I will start having compassion for Bermudians when they actually start helping themselves??? Any thoughts famous?????

      • sswhite says:

        What is your company Kangoocar?

      • sswhite says:

        “I will start having compassion for Bermudians when they actually start helping themselves” If you sir are a Bermudian whey do you refer to them with a tone of alienation? You could of said I will start having compassion for my “countrymen” etc.
        It is clear that you by this statement do not identify with Bermuda or Bermudians. Is the Bermudian you refer to different to you – if you are a Bermudian?

        • Kangoocar says:

          I am totally Bermudian with family roots that go back to the 1700′s!! I am a person that only states the blunt truth and the blunt truth is, I am totally fed up with my own Bermudians, because I put police back ground and drug test in an ad for employment I get 3 applicants, what does that tell you??? It tells me far to many Bermudians have either criminal histories or drug problems or BOTH??? Being I only employ Bermudians I can tell you that 50 % of them have trouble even making time everyday !!! So when I say I will only have compassion for Bermudians when they start helping themselves, I mean just that!!!

          • Kangoocar says:

            I should add, I used to only hire Bermudians, from this ad, I actually hired the spouse of a Bermudian!!! Thankfully out of the three applicants he was the good one!!!

    • Redman says:

      @ Chris Famous,

      There are near 4,000 unemployed persons…

      So how many of the 4000 are qualified to work in this Hotel? Do tell us.
      Further to that how many of those 4000 are you about to employ with your Hotel or other employment?

      This is not the 50′s 60′s or 70′s, investors are not knocking down our doors to do business here or have you missed that?. If we want hotel development we will have to accept some harsh reality’s and a guaranteed job because you are an unemployed Bermudian is not one.

      If you get investors on board with a Hotel then you can dictate the terms of employment numbers but I rather think you wouldn’t risk your money building one.

    • Zevon says:

      Where do you get the 4,000 number from?

  11. Just a matter of time says:

    @ Redman. I would love to run a business and hire my own people. Would love to! My current obligations do not allow such a financial alternative at this time but in time. However when will this Govt ever be a true champion for Bdians instead of for non Bdians? I understand estimated figures in the beginning but why not estimate a much higher number for Bdians at the front end rather than cutting us short from jump? Really? How is that too much to ask for? The other islands emphasize their own people on the front line. How can you pay money to come here on a vacation and confront people who do not look or speak like us and are not even from here. Many here can hardly speak English! A travesty. That adds insult to injury especially with so many Bdians unemployed right now. If a country doesn’t look after it’s own, how long can that last without unrest? And trust there is a lot of unrest right now. And that is counter productive compared to if things were done right from the very beginning. How can we develop national pride, develop hope in our young people to stay here if we continuously sideline our own? And stop giving the excuse that Bermudians do not want to work. A damnable form of propaganda imo.

    • Redman says:

      @ Just a matter of time,

      Hang in there, it will come and I wish you all the success.

      I have taken my licks like many these last few years and now there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Now if only I could get the investment I need to kick on, failing that it is going to be a long slow process of getting back on our feet.

      I agree the numbers are hardly cause for wild celebration but they are estimates and probably very conservative at that. Maybe the Govts 2000 jobs promise has caused the Govt to be more pragmatic and a little less boastful.

      Either way 50% would be a better start than 0% which is what it will be if these projects don’t start. Besides with better job training initiatives which must happen and the realization that a job is indeed precious today that number & the service that used to be there will get back to previous levels or higher. We have to start somewhere.

    • Redman says:

      @ Just a matter of time,

      “And stop giving the excuse that Bermudians do not want to work. A damnable form of propaganda imo”.

      Where did I say in that comment that Bermudians do not want to work???

      I have no problem debating things and answering comments but don’t make stuff up, thanks.

  12. Starting Point says:

    Famous is actually right this time even though he does not know he is right or why. Unlike the PLP the OBA know the tourism industry, and as opposed to ‘deceiving’ the country they state it like it is. Only 50% will be Bermudian because there are jobs for Bermudians at various levels but not the very low end due to the liveable wage and not the high end due to experience.

    I have no issue with the high end as in my experience, any Bermudian who excels in this sector quickly works their way up and is provided with a golden ticket of training and opportunity, anyone who tells you otherwise is either not a bermudian who excels, thinks experience (time) without value (work ethic) means something or has not worked in tourism.

    The issue is the low end workers who based on the economic model for hotels in Bermuda need to live on the property so they can be compensated for low wages with food and board, often shared living accommodation. These workers are then always on hand for additional shifts, sick leave replacement etc. while bermudians will be less likely to be called in.

    Personally I would like to see an opportunity for single bermudians to live on the property like a guest worker, this way they could start at the bottom (as per the traditional educational level of this group of workers) and work their way up based on their merit. I had the fortune to work in the hotel industry for several years and came across many young Bermudians who may not have the resume but have the attitude, communication skills to excel in the industry, unfortunately there was no future for them economically. If a single bermudian was allowed to live on property (existing worker housing), eat in the staff room etc. (keep their living costs to a minimum as they are establishing a career) they would thrive, be the first to be called for bonus shifts etc. When they attain a level of seniority, whether it be in the mechanical section, front desk, housekeeping, marketing etc. they can then transition off the resort.

    • Pastor Syl says:

      Starting Point, I really like your idea of single Bermudians being able to live in staff housing, etc. There are several people who would take advantage of that opportunity to sacrifice a little to get ahead. And then again, perhaps I am wrong, because, on second thought, I have to wonder how many Bermudian men would be willing to comply with the “No overnight guests” policy that is often enforced, or forgo the facility of privacy.

  13. steve says:

    time to buy a book.

  14. Cup Of Tea Anyone? says:

    Chris “misinformation” unFamous is at it again.

    you need some tea bie! or perhaps you have had too much?

    toodles