|DPM Davis breaks foreign stranglehold to empower Bahamian stripers|
|Friday, 03 August 2012 06:50|
NASSAU, Bahamas -- On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon Philip “Brave” Davis, MP, assured Bahamian striping companies that they would “soon be an integral part of the completion of the road projects”, breaking the 13-year old monopoly held by foreign stripers.
While visiting Bahamas Striping as it completed the Eastern & Johnson Roads junction this week, the DPM and Ministry of Works & Urban Renewal, declared: “I can see for myself ... there is no need to import or use for foreign labour or foreign striping companies to do road striping.”
“We have to believe in these young Bahamians—that they can do the work. They’ve demonstrated that they can and we’ll now ensure that the works will be with them.”
DPM Davis, who, with Bahamas Striping President Atario Mitchell, striped a section of Johnson Road, said: “There is no need to import. I’ve seen that for myself. I see the work they’ve [Bahamas Striping’s crew] has done. They brought me out here to demonstrate what they’ve been doing and what they can do. Our motto and our mandate is to ensure that we empower Bahamians to empower other young Bahamians, as they are doing here today.”
DPM Davis was told by Mitchell that Bahamas Striping, while only two years old, has employed and trained 13 young Bahamians while the foreign company has failed to train a single Bahamian during the 13-year monopoly striping Bahamian public roads.“I am extremely impressed with the manner in which these young Bahamians are executing the works here at this junction,” said Davis.
Accompanied by the Ministry of Work’s Permanent Secretary Colin Higgs and supervising engineer Dion Munroe, Davis said: “There’s no doubt: you’ve seen the quality of the work and it is good work. We have Atario Mitchell and other Bahamian companies and that’s what we’ll be insisting on, that we need to use these young men ... they will be given the opportunity.”
While being successful in securing parking lot and private road striping from private contractors, Bahamas Striping and other Bahamian stripers have been blocked from striping on taxpayer-funded public roads. Although the road works now in production are the biggest in the country’s history, no Bahamians have been allowed to stripe them. Bahamian striping companies are outraged that they’ve been blocked from working on the New Providence Road Improvement Project, the Chinese Airport Gateway or the Sports Center roads, which together constitute a massive share of the country’s total striping market.
Other than a few speed humps, the Eastern & Johnson roads junction was only the second small public road job awarded to Bahamas Striping by any government, says Mitchell. For two years, Bahamas Striping has been requesting public roads jobs from the Ministry and private contractors and wants the government to put a ban of foreigners being issued work permits. The company invested in tens of thousands of dollars worth of thermoplastic equipment and in training its crew, only to be denied work while foreigners were flown in to do exactly the same work.
The DPM also addressed the problem of private companies bringing in foreign crews. “They [Bahamian striping companies] will get the opportunity and we’ll ensure that any public road works being done in the Bahamas where road striping is required, that those contractors use Bahamas Striping or one of these Bahamian companies.”
Mitchell told the press that Mr. Tony Lewis of Advanced Paving gave the Bahamas Striping the contract because Lewis is one of those contractors who “... believes in Bahamians.”
Bahamas Striping’s Managing Director, Sean Adderley, spoke with DPM Davis, saying that the company’s approach has always been to invest in training young Bahamians and that the training programs in New Providence can be replicated throughout the Bahamas. Adderley says the company hopes to take its training program to empower young men in other islands such as Eleuthera, Cat Island, Abaco, around MICAL, or anywhere where employment is desperately needed.
On the site, the DPM was introduced to several young Bahamians including Anfernee Rolle, 17, Anton Frazier, 17, Jamal Wright, 22, and Triston Johnson, 24, who can stripe exactly the same lines and arrows on Marathon Road that foreigners were recently flown in to stripe.
Photo 1: Deputy Prime Minister 'Brave' Davis stripes a double centerline with a thermoplastic hand cart on Johnson Road. The Minister of Works & Urban Renewal praised the quality of Bahamas Striping’s work and stated that whenever any public road in the Bahamas requires striping, Bahamians would get the work instead of foreigners. Davis says he insists that Bahamas Striping will be an integral part of the completion of the road works.
Photo 2: Bahamas Striping President Atario Mitchell (left) and Managing Director Sean Adderley (right) give DPM Davis a tour of the Eastern and Johnson Road junction. Adderley informed DPM Davis that Bahamas Striping’s employment and training program was transferable to all the Family Islands to make a positive impact on local unemployment and give many young Bahamians skills and a future.
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