Foreign workers must also train locals but none at Marriott

Dear Editor,

I have read in the various print media of the outrageous statements made by head of the Privatisation Unit, Mr. Winston Brassington in defence of the hiring of Chinese workers instead of Guyanese workers for the Marriott Hotel Project.

Mr. Brassington has cited the language barrier and that Guyanese workers do not have the skills for that type of construction.

It appears that Mr. Brassington is not living in Guyana or he is not a Guyanese or he has no respect for the Guyanese work force.

Guyanese construction workers are well renowned for their expertise in Guyana, the Caribbean and North America. The previous Prime Minister of Barbados Mr. Owen Arthur publicly praised the Guyanese construction workers in Barbados. All the hotels, houses and large buildings in Guyana were built by Guyanese workers, some under the supervision of foreign professionals.

I cannot see why Mr. Brassington must ridicule the intelligence of the Guyanese nation by stating that Guyanese does not have the skills to work on the Marriott Hotel project. I smell a rat here because this whole Marriott Project is clouded with secrecy and controversies.

On January 28, 2013, the Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada reported a similar situation in Canada.

A Chinese company, HD Mining Company had  to send back sixteen temporary Chinese foreign workers to China who had been hired to work on the company’s Murray River Coal Project in Vancouver saying a high- profile court case has resulted in too much uncertainty to keep the workers in Canada.

Two labour groups, that is, trade unions filed a court action challenging the work permits.

HD Mining has said it sought foreign workers because it was not able to find the skilled workers it needed in Canada. The labour groups have challenged those claims, saying the company didn’t do enough to try to hire Canadian workers and advertised positions at lower than going rates.

The unions that brought the court case questioned the company’s decision to send the workers back to China, saying the move followed a court order that resulted in HD Mining reluctantly agreeing to turn over résumés of Canadian workers who applied for, but didn’t get, jobs at the Murray River project.

“The B.C. Building Trades questions why HD Mining would decide to pull out of its B.C. coal mine project just days after we received the résumés of 300 Canadian workers who were rejected for jobs that were then filled by Chinese temporary foreign workers,” Brian Cochrane, business manager of IUOE Local 115 (one of the unions), said in a statement.

HD Mining agreed to supply the  résumés after a Federal Court judge ordered Ms. Finley, who has responsibility for Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada to “further consider” her compliance with a court order to compel disclosure of documents – including  résumés of Canadian workers – the unions had sought in court.

That case remains before the Federal Court.

In order to get work permits in most countries, the employer have to satisfy the authorities that the skills are not available in the country and when the foreign worker arrives he must train the local workers, that is, the skills must be transferred to the local workers but in the Marriott Case no skills would be transferred because there are no local employees.

Finally, trade unionism is a dying breed in Guyana and those unions that remain are like empty vessels making the most noise.

Yours faithfully,
Immigration Consultant

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