88 Chinese Work Permits Approved
The Government of The Bahamas has granted 88 work permits to the government of the People’s Republic of China, for workers to assist with the construction of a new Chinese Embassy in The Bahamas.
Symonette, who is the foreign affairs and immigration minister, said the embassy would be constructed at the area near the intersection at Village Road and Shirley Street.
The permits are for one year, however, the workers will be allowed in the country until the work is completed, the foreign minister confirmed.
Symonette said that the Chinese workers will also assist with the refurbishment of the Chinese ambassador’s residence at Eastern Road. Hu Dingxian is the current Chinese ambassador.
The government is currently considering whether to approve the Baha Mar project at Cable Beach. It is estimated that 5,000 to 7,000 Chinese workers would come to the country to assist with constructing the $2.5 billion project if it is approved. The Chinese have agreed to fund and construct the resort.
The government plans to bring a resolution to the House of Assembly on September 8 on the labor component of the deal. Members of Parliament will have a chance to present their views on the controversial issue.
Baha Mar has pledged at least 3;300 construction jobs for Bahamians and 8,000 permanent jobs once the resort is completed. Symonette said that the approval of the 88 work permits, for the construction of the embassy and the refurbishment of the Chinese ambassador’s residence, are not connected with Baha Mar.
He added that the granting of work permits to foreign governments for their nationals to work on sites such as embassies is not unusual.
By BRENT DEAN