DNA on PM, Director Agrees NPRIP workers are Underpaid
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
24 November 2011
DNA – PRIME MINISTER, DIRECTOR AGREES NPRIP BAHAMIAN WORKERS ARE UNDERPAID
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham may have admitted that Bahamian workers employed by the New Providence Road Improvement - Project (NPRIP) are paid 75 cent below government minimum wage of $5.25. He was quoted as saying: “We don’t expect construction workers to work for the minimum wage in The Bahamas.”
If this is the case, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Mount Moriah candidate Wayne Munroe said, “Government needs to pay attention to Section 71 of the Employment Act which requires all employers to keep accurate and complete records on their employees and if requested by the Minister, to ‘furnish to the Minister’ this information.”
He said: “We now question whether, in light of the allegations made, if the government has ever made such request. If not, we wish to remind them of this provision in law.”
In a recent news release, the Director of Public Works John Canton expressed dissatisfaction in the rates being paid to the NPRIP workers. Prime Minister Ingraham concurred with Canton that employment and pay records from employers are not always readily shared with the government.
Recent reports indicate that some $120 million was borrowed for the roadwork, which is behind schedule and possibly in need of more capital injection.
“This is unexplainable and inexcusable” Munroe opined. “In spite of our ballooning National Debt during these tough economic times, much to the chagrin of the government; they have found a way to make the inept Jose Cartellones very wealthy while exploiting, demoralizing and financially bankrupting Bahamians.”
A few months ago, BEC also indicated that it would have to dig up the roads again. Munroe questioned, “How much more can our citizens and local businesses endure?” He added, “Well placed sources have indicated that the government may be planning to pave all the streets without BEC & Water Works infrastructure being completed. Again we cry shame! Shame! Shame!”
“Government needs to come clean with the Bahamian public,” Munroe stated, “Bahamians need answers: How much money has been spent, How much more is being allocated, from where is this money being sourced, how will this debt be paid back and when will these road works be completed.”
Over the last month, the DNA has pressured the government to address the NPRIP complaints of: Workers mistreatment, labour law violations, alleged sexual and physical harassment, poorly planned and executed road works and the financial lost to Bahamian businesses.