Posted by Hunter Kinder
The Bahamian government is in the process of a state-wide crackdown on work permits. Many of the jobs are filled by immigrants, particularly in tourism (making up 50% of the Bahamas’ economy and 60% GDP).
A U.S. citizen employed by a Bahamian resort was detained while training sea lions for having a pending permit. Foreign Affairs Minister, Fred Mitchell, was regretful to how the woman was detained but supported the crackdown as a way for more Bahamians to become employed.
“This applies from the top to the bottom. It applies to the bank, the newspaper and the industrial sector. It applies across the board,” he said at a news conference Monday. “It is a simple question. Is there a Bahamian available for this job? If there is a Bahamian available for this job, then a work permit will not be granted.”
William Rolle, the former CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, claims there are not enough skilled Bahamian workers available for the private sector.
“What happens when we cannot find people to get the job done? Are these businesses supposed to go without? I don’t think that is practical and realistic,” Rolle said. “I think the current stance by government is damaging. For people sitting outside of the Bahamas, what is being portrayed is scary.”
About half of the Bahamian workforce is employed in tourism. This sector, established by Americans, is being threatened with this crackdown. If enough permits are rebuked, these companies could go under, leaving half of the Bahamian workforce jobless. This begs the question whether or not the Bahamas rose too heavily on American established tourism or democracy.
Zakaria, Fareed. “The Rise of the Rest.”The post-American world. New York: W.W. Norton, 2008. 1-5. Print.