‘Ready For Jobs In Growing Technology Sector’

January 24, 2017

[Updated] “We support the new network Digicel will install and recognise the need to upgrade our telecommunications infrastructure,” the PLP said today, adding that it is “disappointing” that the “OBA granted approval for Digicel to waive advertising for the 80 guest workers,” as “with the large number of Bermudians still unemployed it is the responsibly of the Government to make the required investments in training to ensure that Bermudians are ready for jobs in the growing technology sector.”

PLP Bermuda TC January 24 2017

The PLP said, “It is disappointing that the OBA granted approval for Digicel to waive advertising for the 80 guest workers who landed on the Island on Sunday when there very well could have been individuals in Bermuda qualified to complete some aspects of the work being carried out.

“Less than a month ago, Home Affairs Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin stated that all positions must be advertised, insisting that the rules apply to all. We call on the Minister to clarify why the rules did not apply in this case.

“Contrary to what has been reported in some media, the Progressive Labour Party did not have discussions with Digicel regarding the foreign workers contracted to build a new Fibre Network.

“Upon learning of the situation, the PLP contacted Digicel which led to Opposition Leader David Burt and Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Walton Brown meeting at 11:00am yesterday with the senior executive team at the company.

“We support the new network Digicel will install and we recognise the need to upgrade our telecommunications infrastructure and the enhanced value it will bring to Bermuda, particularly as a global business centre.

“In 2015, when the PLP announced Vision 2025, we spoke about the urgent need to upgrade the skills of Bermudians to ensure our people were equipped for the jobs of the future.

“A PLP government would have worked with telecommunications providers to ensure that there was adequate training to maximise Bermudian job opportunities for this installation project.

“With the large number of Bermudians still unemployed it is the responsibly of the Government to make the required investments in training to ensure that Bermudians are ready for jobs in the growing technology sector.”

Update 8.53pm: Minister of Home Affairs Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said, “In response to the PLP statement, I can confirm that the rules indeed do apply to all.

“Contrary to the many assertions, BTC/Digicel indeed advertised several short-term positions in February 2016, with a view to building an infrastructure that was ultimately sub-contracted to Protel, a company with expertise in the GPON technology.

“For the specific GPON experience, the ad required:

  • Project Manager with 3 years’ experience managing large fibre rollouts and GPON. There were 3 responses, none of whom had the GPON technology expertise
  • 3 OSP Managers – 2 responses, but no expertise in the GPON technology
  • 2 Stringing Managers – 1 response but no expertise in the GPON technology
  • 2 Splicing Managers – 3 responses but no expertise in the GPON technology
  • GPON Engineer – 1 response but no expertise in the GPON technology

“As a result of the apparent lack of skill set in the required technology, the company restructured its approach and after internal readjustments, decided to sub-contract the GPON infrastructure build, and to train Bermudians to maintain this system. All of the foreign workers who have received the short-term permits to enable this build are GPON technology specialists.

“The representation to me as Minister, was to not require further advertising as it was unlikely to get sufficient Bermudian personnel to build out the entire infrastructure, and with the promise of 56 permanent, Bermudian, full time jobs, I made the determination to support the approach that the company was taking.

“This determination is supported by Item 1.15 of the Work Permit policy regarding Advertising Criteria which allows an extension of six months before permits are applied for.

“In this instance, an additional 4 months had expired, but given the information previously mentioned, I permitted the company to use their sub-contractor for the infrastructure build and to provide a system to support ongoing Bermudian jobs. The company has also provided the department with its training framework with which I am satisfied.

“I believe it is clear that this matter has no correlation to the other matter for which the Opposition is questioning, but I am extremely pleased that they realize the importance of this build and the enhancement of our Telecommunications structure which will add value to Bermuda as a global business centre.”

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Comments (16)

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  1. Terry says:

    Nothing to see here.

    • So Silly says:

      Yup. Digicel advertised for 8 managerial positions 11 months, and brought in 80 staff all of which aren’t managers.

      Bermudians get shafted again. OBA didn’t think to say well maybe we can train 10 Bermudians to pull wires in 10 months?

      This OBA government needs to go.

  2. somuchless says:

    If there are any qualified persons, speak up and contact Digicel.

  3. Ringmaster says:

    The PLP is spouting rubbish as usual. If there was some disconnect the BIU would be up in arms about 80 non Bermudians coming here. However, silence, so they were consulted. A PLP Government had from 1998 to 2012 to train Bermudians.

    Clearly the 80 jobs are very specific and if Bermudians had been trained, and I doubt the training would be a few hours, then they would be unemployed again after the system has been put in place. Just noise and false promises from the PLP. When Berkeley was being built I remember around $500,000 was paid to train Bermudians. What happened there?

  4. Kevin says:

    So lets really understand what the plp just said
    We would have worked with the telecumunicating industry to ensure adequate training to bermudians to maximize Bermudian Job oppurtunities….they are proving daily how much a bunch of rocks they are….we know of two villages missing their idiots…guess the skills these people pocess can be obtained in a month or 2 …… wait i have a better idea …the OBA need to train some Bermudians who can serve as opposition surely with what we are seeing now ,,,it really can’t take more than a day or 2 to find some Bermudians smarter

  5. Y-Gurl says:

    Much ado about nothing, guest workers build the network and
    suitably qualified Bermudians (not sour ex BTC workers) will be left to service and maintain the infrastructure and we all benefit..sounds sensible

  6. wondering says:

    why is it NEVER just a compliment instead of political jockeying for points – politics in Bermuda is so infantile that the tacticians on either side should be 12 year olds because it is like a schoolyard fight with people on one side and then the other and one person on both sides pushing the fighter they support to throw the first blow. after the fight is over one side claims somethin was wrong with their (losing) fighter whilst the other side gloats in ‘victory’

  7. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    DigiCel, the Government and the PLP are all wrong and right here. The simple fact is that there is not enough qualified and available Bermudians or equipment to aid DigiCel in the deployment of this network upgrade in the short time they have, but they should have made a greater effort to include at least more of the local talent that there is here. Their existing local staff will however benefit from the hands on training and experience that they can get working along side these foreign workers, and it doesn’t make too much sense training many other locals in it, if only DigiCel will be the ones using this technology and once completed they are let go from DigiCel and won’t be using that training anymore. Training and experience is only good to have if it is used and kept up. The very short timeframe that they also have makes it difficult and not cost effective to use too much untrained labour, as the training would only slow deployment and raise its costs. What the PLP seem to miss here is that a local work force will receive the training needed, but they really need to stop generalizing and grandstanding that they could have provided better about these things, it only highlights how negligible their ‘Bermudians First’ dogma is to the longevity of Bermuda and Bermudian as a whole.

  8. Average Bermudian says:

    These comments have no regard or respect for the many bermudians unemployed/underemployed right now.

    Instead – it is people on this thread rambling-on politics – as normal.

  9. Micro says:

    You know, if the PLP didn’t rack up a billion dollars in net, they probably could’ve sponsored a couple dozen Bermudians to embark in degrees and internships in the technology field.

    That said, these are highly specialized individuals that have been brought in. Of those dozens of Bermudians that could’ve been trained, not many will have been interested in pursuing these exact skill sets nor have had the opportunity to gain the necessary experience without leaving their home for extended periods of time; something the PLP has vehemently spoken out against.

    I remember when I was graduating from High School in 2009, the departments of W&E/Youth Dev. were trying to put in place a program where graduating Bermudians will receive a full ride in a power engineering degree. I’d like to know how many actually completed that program vs how much money was spent on it.

  10. somuchless says:

    So there was an ad and those people who applied did not have the qualifications. Nuff said.

  11. Kevlarian says:

    Politics aside, this project appears to be a win win all around. Wish we could all look at both sides of an issue. Bermuda is moving towards a stronger future. We must keep up or be left behind. All of Bermuda will benefit as residents and businesses alike will have improved services and want to stay, hire and expand.
    On the lighter side of the issue, but still very important, 80+ people for six months. What a nice opportunity for all businesses in winter. Boarding, hotels, food service, transportation, landing fees, permit fees entertainment …, bet this number works out to be significant and positively affects all people on island. Let’s try to work together and find the good in things. Oh yeah, the world is coming and enhanced IT services can only help highlight our little piece of paradise and welcome future visitors and business alike.

  12. Michelle says:

    I guess where I’m lost is, does every position absolutely require expertise in GPON technology? They mentioned 80 guest workers landed. Now because they were excused from advertising the other positions, how do we know that there are for certain, no qualified Bermudians? Anyone can pick the most qualification dependent positions and build a case to avoid advertising the rest. A lack of qualified applicants for the management level roles does not mean there will be a lack of qualified individuals for other roles. Not everyone will be a manager and any good manager can work with those who have the hands on skills and can follow quality directions if given the opportunity. I’m not convinced that this was not just another convenient use of carefully selected data to manufacture an acceptable point or buy-in from the public.

    Give me the whole truth, please…all sides of it, if possible.

  13. Rhonda says:

    We All are kidding ourselves if we believe it is anything but cheap labour, with the argument that the end justified the means..

    Mark this day, this is the pre 1960 reincarnated.

    We have specialist dishwashers, grass cutters, trash collectors and list goes on.

  14. Rhonda says:

    Will the St Geo hotel be built by specialist.