We have done several stories on the concern which we have with the ad hoc approach by the Barbados government regarding its lack of a policy towards immigrant labor. Of particular concern has been the inclination and ease which companies in Barbados have been allowed to bring Chinese and other labor into Barbados. It seems that the concerns of ordinary Barbadians which have been to a large degree ignored by government and other non governmental agencies are being responded to, but in a token way.
We wonder why?
Does it have something to do with the fact that the international media has picked up this story and our friend Sir Roy now realizes that there are some embarrassing times ahead if he stays mum on the issue? It is well documented that the Chinese are paid very low wages comparative to our Caribbean laborers. The interaction of Chinese and Guyanese recruitment in Barbados in recent years is starting to reflect in some social fall-out. Two days ago the Inter Press Service (IPS) did a feature on the growing problem of Chinese immigrant labor which Barbados and other Caribbean governments are experiencing. IPS quoted Sir Roy as saying:
Read Barbados Underground Feed
Sir Roy Trotman, general secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), says the time has come for a comprehensive review of the situation, as the current brigade of about 500 Chinese labourers working on construction sites has undermined the booming local job and construction market.
“We realise you can’t stop greed. Some employers told me that they heard the buildings we are going to put up at Mangrove will be put up with Chinese labour. I don’t know if they are getting mixed up with me or someone else, but that will happen in another world, at another time, under another general secretary,” Sir Roy said.
To Sir Roy we say welcome to the fray on the Chinese issue and hope that your international reputation would not have been significantly dented on this issue. We listened carefully to Minister Joseph Atherley’s long winded press conference last night and marveled at the level of spin which he was able to impart on the issue of the work permit issue relating to the construction of the Four Seasons Hotel. His reference to other Caribbean islands importing Chinese labor does not add to the debate because according to the IPS story other Caribbean islands also share the same concerns as Barbadians. Also his reference to the government, BWU and the Barbados Contractors Association having several points of commonality peaked our interest. It would be informative indeed to find-out what are the commonalities. We laughed at Atherley’s weak attempt to justify the issuance finally of work permits to the Chinese caught working illegally on the Four Seasons project. His hint that a sovereign government would factor the fear of legal action if they did not issue the permits was ridiculous indeed. Here is an Arthur administration which has boasted of locking horns with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). But we all know the reason why this project has to proceed, Mr. Pemberton’s deep pockets and our barefoot politicians may well be key factors.
How do BU contributors feel on the issue? Yesterday a concerned contributor posting under the name “Holy Cow” submitted a comment which we agree with 100%.
I saw where Sir. Roy (BWU) had met with many of the BLP Ministers about the Chinese problem and lo and behold is now suggesting he is willing to re-think his position. Among the people he met with were the very ones that to this day have given not one word of explanation to the Barbadian people for this outrageous act by Pemberton and which the Government closed their eyes to.
But here is another thing unless my memory is failing me. Am I wrong when saying that soon after the Arthur Government got in ten or so years ago they promised because of a building boom back then that they would establish vocational trade school/s. And the purpose was to train Barbadians in various trades so that they could fill Barbadian jobs?
Am I dreaming?
What ever happened to this promise? Ezra Alleyne suggested in one of his weekly addresses and he should know as he is an expert or at least he thinks so that 50% or more of Barbadians do not draw a pay check. Yet we have Chinese workers having to be brought in to fill jobs? Does that make sense?
But here is what I find troubling about Sir. Roys change of heart. He admitted like the rest of us that allowing these Chinese in without work permits was illegal. I suggest it was also and still is a threat to the National Security of Barbados. And were any of these workers given a health check to see that they were not carrying the Bird Flu, or were HIV positive among other health issues? No one in Barbados has been offered an explanation by the Government, nothing has changed yet Sir. Roy after meeting with the BLP is promising to soften his position.
This is exactly how free trade, Globalization and open borders work. Foreigners come in and take over jobs. And I could be wrong but I do not think that they are made to or required to pay union dues, Unemployment Insurance, Healthcare benefits, Income tax etc like most Barbadians. Yet they enjoy all of the amenities Barbadians are paying for. Were this happening the likes of Pemberton would not be bringing these people in as he is doing because there would be little or no savings.
All of the off-shore operations that Bajan Companies say they are opening in cheap labor destinations is anyone seeing cheaper prices on the products they make and ship back to Barbados? But I bet the profits of the company has significantly increased much as we see with oil companies. This is what it is all about!
When Four Seasons Resort was planned no go ahead to build by Government should have been granted until all labor requirements, availability of it etc been met and approved. This is a project being built and it matters not if Barbados laws are broken or not. And here is another thing we have not heard another word from any source about Sir. Roys claim of defective steel being used. Maybe the meeting he had with the BLP might have involved a deal for his silence on this and other matters.
That is how the game is played no one is exempt from playing “Let’s make a deal”.
When one considers the economic strength of China we cannot underestimate the influence they will be having in our region in the coming years. The IPS story provides an idea to the resources which China is prepared to throw around the Caribbean, and yes it is a Caribbean wide problem. Where is CARICOM on this issue…can we expect a one policy on this matter. We think not! :
As an indication of how serious the fight has become, China last year announced that it had set aside a billion dollars to develop relations and boost trade with the Caribbean and Latin America. “We know that China has one of the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world of over one trillion dollars. As a trading partner with the Caribbean it ranks third after the U.S. and the EU and there is little doubt it has growing influence in the region and that its influence will grow over the years,” said Henry Jeffrey, Guyana’s Foreign Trade Minister.
Given the overtures which the Arthur administration has been making to China; any policy change directed at the Chinese will be cosmetic in nature as we have seen from Minister Atherley’s press conference last night. Our willingness to fold in the face of the economic agenda by sacrificing basic principles which have served us well in the past is truly regrettable. It is a time like now that we remember the famous quote by the late Right Excellent Errol Barrow and its appropriateness: Barbados will be friends of all and satellites of none.
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As I said in the other place, Mr Trotman recognizes that Barbados needs Mr Pemberton and Four Seasons and the employment and foreign exchange they will generate, not to mention the prestige that Barbados will earn in the international market by having the Four Seasons brand name here, more than Pemberton needs Barbados. And if Pemberton insists that Chinese labour is essential to the project, then the Gov’t has to go along.
As a member of the social partnership, Mr Trorman may be convinced that some concessions have to be made in order to achieve that objective and to bring one of Barbados’ prime tourism locations back into productivity after too many years in disuse. He has a very delicate tight rope balancing act to perform. He has to be seen/heard to be making all the right noises about protecting the rights of Barbadian workers while acknowledging and accepting the reality of the situation without appearing to be betraying those he represents.
I am not seeing any wild cat strikes, neither from BWU members or those of any of the other unions nor has there been any protest action from anybody so the storm in the teacup may be subsiding.
The dithering we are hearing from the Government and the apparent acquiescence of the unions should tell all that this situation is a fait accompli. It also sends a message to Barbadian workers that real competition is here to stay and they had better start competing. A new era has begun.
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So where do we go from here with this issue ?
The truth of the matter is that all those involved with this scam should be censored and fined here we have people absolutely flouting the law and employing this group of workers and we have the PM and company encouraging this illegal act they all should be fired.
What nonsense is Trotman talking that he is trying to decide if to soften his stance what a load of bull, but we have to come to grips that he is one of those caught up in the politics of inclusion and instead of fighting for workers rights the ones who pay his healty salary he is now no more than a mouth piece of King Arthur, you should be ashamed of your support of Owing at the expense of the workers of this island.
If this is your stance you to should step down from your post and let someone who really has the workers at heart take control and not you who has been sidelined by the politics of inclusion and corruption, honestly I am ashamed of you Trotman to represent me on any issue.
WIV~the next step is to hear form your revered leader on this matter. Is he able to whip up the passion of a nation on the eve on the biggest election that he will face in his political career. The issue of immigrant labor and corruption brought down the Christie government in the Bahamas recently. Has Thompson been taking notes?
I must tell you that if the jury were to deliberate now it would be brief!
must tell you I am not sure that I like the new format typestyles used on the site now not as nice as before.
David will have a voice I am sure.
WIV~please note that we have no control over the presentation of the blog. We will have to submit a support call tomorrow. Try using a different browser. We tried and it is happening with IE only.
A very good point was made by the BU on this thorny issue.
I have a very serious concern that the Chinese initiative in trying and it would appear have been successful in getting a foothold in the Caribbean and its economies have devious, dangerous, and far reaching long term motives. Even more so than the Industrial and Real Estate invasion of plunder on Barbados by the Trinidadians.
I am curious and maybe BU might enlighten me. Is Barbados the only or major island the Chinese have shown interest in and have been welcomed
to do so by the BLP? Which other Caribbean destinations might the Chinese been involved with?
The Chinese have basically gone to bed with the USA economically and in luring a number of major US manufacturing businesses to their shores and that trend will and is continuing.
This has given them the confidence to now look further afield and this expansion in my opinion fits very nicely into their ambition of the military domination of the world. Let us not forget that China is huge, with a huge population has and continues to grow militarily and added to these dangerous mixes is now about to become THE Major economic emerging Nations in the world.
But what is more scary is this China has the money to corrupt even more than they are now Governments like what is common in the Caribbean. China has already pumped Billions into the USA and China does not give away anything unless they benefit big time.
Will Sir Roy now strike when construction companies refuse to pay higher wages? It is very clear that in order to remain competitive bajan construction firms have to keep their wages down.
No-name~your comment has triggered the thought that Sir Allan, King Arthur and Sir Roy would have spent a lot of time together as they flesh out the Protocol Agreements over the years. Both of them have been rewarded for their good work. We have always found the idea of the government honoring a trade unionist as distasteful. It is also human nature to build a relationship the more time is spent with one another.
WATCH AND WAIT! Remember these words and when the time comes, I will reveal the meaning!
Let me say this. When you have an island like Barbados who has valuable real estate and some very good and sustainable industry WHAT little of both IS LEFT THAT IS BARBADIAN OWNED. And a very loosely run “Off-shore sector that serves the tiefing needs of the elite and wealthy none who ever get caught.
Then add to this mix, Foreigners mainly, flocking to Barbados to buy up these limited resources it is a win win situation for politicians, and their colleagues like Union leaders, decision makers in Government responsible for awarding building permits, zoning land etc to become very rich very quickly. It is called the “sleazy world of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours” and to hell with the majority of Barbadians 145,000 who have no pay cheque according to the good book of Ezra Alleyne the Professor of BLP propaganda. Noe let us take this Walt Disney scenario of living in “make believe” land a little further
This Chinese influx of “happy feet” was engineered by Pemberton who is on the public record of saying this, but here is the burning questions. How can anyone bring Chinese, Americans, Canadians or anyone else into Barbados for the sole purpose of building the Four Seasons and not get work permits first. Surely Sir Roy, would have heard about it or should have. But what about the first line defence of the Nations Security forces “Immigration Officers”. Why did they let these people in with no work permits etc and not knowing the details of why they were in Barbados and we have no rice paddys. Scary stuff!
Then when the proverbial dirt hits the fan “NO ONE IS TALKING” to the people of Barbados about it or explaining why and how slack and flexible the rules can be allowed to become when it comes to National Security and not protecting Bajans from risk when it comes to health issues
in keeping certain people on the island and all of this is being done to keep a certain person of influence and money happy. No self respecting country would do this for ANY private construction project regardless of how valuable it might be to them.
And here is something else to think about that smells. Sir Roy first started out his public comments by expressing the same concerns the average Bajan had about this Chinese invasion. And after not obviously being paid any attention to by his Government friends decided to ratchet up the initimidation by suggesting to the Barbados people that the steel being used in the Four Seasons project was sub standard. That sure got their attention and results.
Sir Roy was invited into the “Inner Sanctum” of the BLP Headquaters of King Arthur and all of a sudden Sir. Roy is thinking of “softening” his position and nothing more is said about the sub standard steel.
Does this only alarm me or does it not smell of hanky panky of the worse sort.
As I have said on BFP, I suspect that prior to the meeting Owen called Sir Roy and told him that as usual he was expecting him to cooperate and not to Jeopardize all the good work that has been and will be done by the chinese. He probably told him that allowing a few chinese to stay even though it was illegal, was not worth it when compared to possibly another trip ( for Sir Roy )to China as well as hundreds of houses for the BWU Project. He probably offered him another ‘Sir.’
The Presence of the chinese who are allowed to live and work on the respective sites while being paid very low wages conflicts with the spirit of the protocol. I wonder what will be Sir Roy’s response if some clever local contractor (assuming it is possible) forms a company in china and bids for work in Barbados using chinese labour.
This is not far from reality because under WTO rulles there is provision for reciprication….i.e A bajan setting up a company in china should be entitled to the same benefits a chinese company enjoys in Barbados. They can use the same approach used by Cave Shepherd, Simpson Motors et al to set up companies outside of Barbados to sell protect to themselves.
I cannot see how we can have a two tier system of wages existing in the construction industry. There are now two chinese companies exisiting on the island. The latest one is managed by the person who managed the Chinese company that built the market ect. This situation will encourage local contractors to subcontract work to these chinese who can bring in cheap labour at the expense of local labour.
In the end it may be a good wake up call …because we have not before now seen the need to be ready to compete with the new world. We have to revolutionise things around here such as firing the entire Board of BS&T and restructuing, retooling it to compete with and go into the rest of the region/world.
Let me say that after reading the Nation News Business Section Today there is someone far more proficient than me on these matters expressing the same sentiments I did on Friday or Saturday last.
The article I talk about is saying “Beware of Chinese bearing gifts”. That warning is even more relevant when it comes to who is getting the gifts! Enough said!
I have great difficulty in understanding all of the soft peddling that is going on with respect to Trotman’s sellout of the workers of Bdos. he should be ashamed for providing the cover for Owen Arthur and not standing up for a principle – a word that used to fall so easily from his lips. He is now a national disgrace. For what? A knighthood and the friendship of Owen Arthur?
Trotman is a leading figure internationally in the field of labour. He sets himself up as defender of the Barbadian worker. Yet he only responded when he was exposed as a do nothing, sell ot trade union leader by David Thompson that he sprang into maction. Not to defend the worker but to cover the exposed backside of the government abd himself.
he has an annual conference coming up in August and he is looking for to save his face but some of the delegates are planning to ask him some hard questions.
How can he look his colleagues in the face at the ILO and the ICFTU when the question of worker exploitation comes up for discussion.
Can he tell the public what wages the Chinese are paid? Under what contract they work? Under what conditions they live? Are they prison labour finishing out their sentences in Bdos?
CAN HE NOW SPEAK ABOUT WORKER EXPLOITATION IN BDOS?
Trotman has been exposed as a fraud in the labour movement. He has been heard to say that he will do nothing to jeapordize his friendship with Owen arthur for after all the two of them run Bdos.
Trottie, boy you are in for a rough ride and Owen will not be able to help you this time.
He brags about his relationship with Owen, often calling him his friend.
There can be no excuse whatsoever for these people to be allowed to reside in Barbados while this nonsense was ongoing.
We should not allow money to be the deciding factor in how we handle matters such as these.
Simply put they were here illegally and should have be treated in the same manner as the Indians were earlier this year, no questions asked no quarter given, I wonder if these were from Guyana if they would have be treated like the Chinese or the Indians ?
When we allow private arrangements made between Pemberton and Arthur and Arthur and the Leader of China to dictate the wellbeing of this nation we have a problem.
If Atherley had an ounce independence in him he would have done what should have been done and that is deport the whole bunch of them but instead he was awaiting Arthur’s blessing to do and say what Arthur told him to say and do.
You are right ..as long as Sir Roy softens his position on the Chinese, he can no longer speak of worker exploitation. He should not even speak about a minimum wage!
Actually he could not speak for me on any subject.
His voice is limited other than maybe how to sellout your pride and respectability to the highest bidder.
he should hold his head in shame for being so scandalous and dishonest to the workers he represents.
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This is my final comment about these illegal Chinese workers which is consuming the Barbados populace and which obviously the Government nor the BWU under the leadership of Sir Roy intends to do anything about or make a statement about.
No self respecting Sovereign Nation in the World would allow anyone to arbitrarily bring migrant workers into their country until all of the legitimate and required legal, immigration, health and labor laws paperwork had been done and approved by Government. Yet Pemberton was allowed to do this.
The bottom line here is no Government would make exceptions as was done for Pemberton anywhere else in the world because Immigration and other such Security laws of a Nation must be uniformly applied to all people coming to its shores. Political Asylum and the like excepted.
Having said that this distasteful abuse of power by the BLP and privileged residents of being able to bring in these workers in without legally meeting the Sovereign, Security and Health requirements of Barbados does n0t stop at the Chinese workers.
There are hundreds of illegals in Barbados most of whom are not from Caricom Nations and they too were let in many because of their financial status and how these finances might or could help the island and the BLP.
I am sure there are a few people from Caricom illegally in Barbados because of being smuggled or brought in by small boat. But the International lot had to land and Adams or come by cruise ship.
We all know on arrival every visitor even Barbadian Citizens living abroad and there for a holiday have to fill out an immigration form saying how long they will stay where they are staying etc. My question is how can this Immigration system be working if they are so many other illegal Iternational souls in Barbados? Why have they not be rounded up and deported? Because they know and are connected to the right people that is why!
One more thing on this subject.
I am very reluctant to call people dishonest, crooked etc without facts to support it, but the more I see and read in the mainstream media of Barbados along with what is printed in these blogs, I am getting progressively more concerned that corruption in Barbados is more widespread than most of us are really aware of and BIG money is involved. As Bajans would say “tiefing” is in and “honesty” is out.
Barbados is not being run like a Sovereign Nation because it seems anyone with money can write their ticket for what they want to do and how they want to do it. And while this goes on the average Barbadian is getting deeper and deeper into poverty while watching the island Nation raped by people who have no interest in the well being of the island or for the majority who live in it and who have already suffered too long.
However what really bothers me is this. The ones raping the island and its peoples are being aided and abetted by a Government who came to power suggesting they would help the ordinary Barbadian live the dream. Yet by Ezra Alleynes count 50% or more of the islands population 145,000 do not draw a pay cheque.
Sometimes I wonder how we Bajans get so ‘powerful foolish’. Once again we cant see the wood for the trees. All the emotional talk about threats to national security and illegal Chinese. Get real brothers. You really think that 53 Chinese could waltz through GAIA without going through immigration?
You all ain’t hear de man say that the people were not here illegally but that they breached the conditions of their stay by building their own quarters. There is a difference in my book.
And do you know just what a Four Seasons Resort will mean for Barbados. Four Seasons is the best-recognised hotel brand in North America. The resort here will employ over 700 Bajans when all said and done. Four Seasons made the Fortune magazine Top 100 Best Company to work for in the US eleven years in a row. It is renowned for its training programme and the opportunity for employees to move up the ranks.
So lets get real. I suspect that as usual Trottie was shooting from the hip without all the facts, but he got his own constituency and his own agenda.
What we should be asking as Bajans is why is it that some of our large locally owned corporations did not see the opportunity that Pemberton did in the Paradise real estate and raise the capital to do what he is doing. Jeanette Layne-Clarke would call them poor great poppets. Selling out to T&T when they could make money right here at home.
There is great interest in the Caribbean by the world’s leading hotel brands like Ritz Carlton and Mandarin. But if we don’t want investors like Pemberton to bring them here who we gonna call?
At the height of construction this project will employ over 800 people. I can’t even find a good mason to erect a wall round my place so where we going to find 800.
What we should be asking is how many Bajans have applied to work on the project and how many have been hired? Maybe Trottie now knows the answer to this question and that is why he softening so. So don’t be so hard on him. He might be guilty of intemperence of Napoleonic proportions, but cuh dear that is the nature of the man.
Sweet Cakes You have to do things legally and the right way, not by under hand deals with Owing and Pemberton as was clearly done in this case.
Left to me he would have been fined and each one of the illegal workers sent out of the island, we cannot allow two sets of rules to play out in this island, one for the Indians and a different one for the Chinese.
Moreover trust me within the coming weeks you watch out and you will see those Chinese workers numbers grow steadily until they reach the 400 mark remember he first wanted to hire 600 of them.
This corruption must cease and these personal arrangements that Owing undertakes must end, all these overseas investors know the way around him by showing him a US $ or two ( I mean Million ) and all matters are solved, sad but true.
Sweet Cakes~you point is valid and we have made the observation that Barbados must maintain a climate which is receptive to foreign investment, without we perish. The issue which we must grapple with however is the many other similar and furtive (shady) decisions which our government has been making and what is perceived by a restless public as a government drowning in corruption. The idea of good governance is to be transparent (our interpretation) and it is obvious if we listened to Pemberton well before the issue broke that this was a done deal.
Trust me on this one Pemberton’s plan was to bring in as many as 600 workers maybe he has stumbled a bit with his plan but also trust me this was not something done in isolation, it was carried out with the full cooperation of the PM only after the press broke the news and it became a hot issue and they sensed the mood of the people that they altered course.
What Owing has not yet come to grips with is that his magic tongue has lost its appeal and that people are more prepared now more than ever before to question his motives and his actions, his dictatorship is fading away fast and the people are opening their eyes and their mouths and rebelling.
Interestingly we have received a note from our cryptic writing friend who has warned us to leave the Chinese alone. According to him the Chinese built the railway back in the 17th century and they will be around long after we are gone. So we suppose BU should leave the Chinese alone.
This is not only about the Chinese this is about the internal workings of the gov’t of Barbados what we have is a PM who is hell bent on selling out the islands to these overseas investors all the while he is collecting his kick backs for his various concessions granted to them while really these should have no cost attached to them other for the reason that they are illegally being given out.
Each and every questionable permission I can assure has had a dollar value attached to it, Arthur is distributing these permissions as if he is the sole authority and only one that matters meanwhile enhancing his bank account with every effort.
I don’t understand what is shady about granting work permits for a legitimate project that will enhance our tourism product, bring in nuff foreign exchange and employ Bajans when it is finished.
Now if you feel de right honourable get a kick back for making the right decision dat is a horse of a different colour.
I ain’t going there coz I know too many malicious Bajans with not so hidden agendas who like to give their mouth liberties without any proof at all.
Why are we so anti foreign investment when we Bajans ain’t got the foresight to do these things ourselves. Because we feel a man get a kick back? Well I for one got to look at the bigger picture and ask what would happen if projects like this did not come here. Ask the people in Grenada, St. Lucia and Antigua. Their tourist industries are soon going to surpass ours and they will be laughing all the way to the bank if we are not careful.
It’s people like you so that got this country corrupt.
I won’t be surprised if you are either white or indian because from my observation these are the 2 races,especially the indians who have made giving a bribe an ‘art’.
So it’s not important what you do to bring in this money or business,once you get it that’s all right?
No wonder we in the mess we in.
We have Pemberton thanking the Chief Immigration Officer for facilitating the “proper papers” of 100 Chinese already working, whilst at the same time the Minister responsonsible assures us that after checking with his CIO no applications have been recieved, no recommendations given and definitely no work permits issued.
Someone in authority is lying, and the law is being broken.
Sweet cakes seeing no problem with this corruption makes me wonder if he is not part of it, and his post may be considered as spin.
If we take his basic premise that the Immigration Act is stifling Barbados’ growth, then it should be repealed, and let the level playing field be restored.
Circumventing the law with back door agreements between individuals, officials and ministers, and downright lying to the public when the scam is exposed is the road to anarchy.
all governments do not matter if dlp or blp gets in we all will be in the same pot of shit get with it they all will tell us things to fool us just to get in after that they will forget about us ………. i think we all safer with who’s in read and listen to logic do some research pleaseeeeeeee. b4 its 2 late fuh all we bout hey
this is an crazy what a shame you people has nothing better to but put garbage o the web
you people need JESUS sweet Jesus you need to read your bible see the signs of time in daneil and revelations also matthew after doing this learn economics and politic tooooooooooooooooooo
Excellent points…..Rev. Atherley?