During a visit to Baker’s Bay Golf and Ocean Club on April 23, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that the Club would soon be creating over 250 jobs for Bahamians both in Abaco, and across the country.
According to Baker’s Bay Club and Resort, it employs some 800 people with 94 per cent of them being Bahamian.
The Prime Minister announced that that number of employees is expected to increase to nearly 1,200 people who will receive not only top of the line training, but major benefits.
Referring to skeptics on Mr. Christie’s optimism concerning the economy, he said, “I spoke about it and people said maybe I was delusional about it. Well I want to show them today what delusional really means. It means these buildings are now being built and people have bought them. Somehow people will say Christie wasn’t delusion. Christie just anticipated what was going to happen and it is now happening.”
Christie said the resort is “challenged” to find sufficient skilled workers.
“The challenge [is] the demand for skilled workers exceeds the capacity of the local Bahamian workforce and local specialty subcontractors,” Christie said.
He said Baker’s Bay will mount a jobs fair to attract Bahamian employees from throughout the country.
“They will also be permitted to a limited number of essential work permit holders, who will also be able to sustain multi-disciplinary on the job technical skills, training and apprenticeship programs designed to equip Bahamian employees and subcontractors with high levels of proficiency.”
Mr. Christie applauded Baker’s Bay for “creating one of the most environmentally sensitive and sustainable developments to be found anywhere.”
He said that “the development itself reflects that of wealth, but still is founded upon Bahamian culture. But apart from the extensive luxurious club, golf course, marina facilities, amenities and infrastructure, 48 high end residences were completed over the last two years. Currently, 35 homes are under construction at a cost of $150 million and another 30 coming on stream this year and 90 additional residences are forecast for 2016 and 2017.”
Baker’s Bay President, Michael Meldman, said Baker’s Bay has the capability to more than double the construction staff based on the current needs.
“We are literally growing faster than we can [manage],” he said.
“We have approximately 80 houses done and we have approximately 80 houses in the queue that we can’t even get to because the 40 we’re building are zapping all of the local workforce.
“We are doing everything we can. We’re working with the prime minister and the government to bring in more employees because we feel we can actually go from 800 to 1,200 to 1,500 employees. The amount of money that would mean to the local economy is staggering.”
Meldman said, to date, Baker’s Bay has invested close to $700 million in the property and will invest several hundred million dollars in the next year.
“So in the next 12 months, Baker’s Bay is going to be a multi-billion-dollar development,” he said.
As the property begins to employ additional workers, Mr. Christie said that Baker’s Bay would be permitted to apply for a limited number of essential specialized work permit holders.
He said the resort will also be required to sustain “multi-disciplinary on the job technical skills training and apprenticeship programs designed to equip Bahamian employees and subcontractors with high levels of proficiency”.
As Mr. Christie wrapped up his speech, legendary retired NBA player Michael Jordan stopped in to say hello.
Jordan said he’s been coming to The Bahamas for the last 15 years.
“I love it,” he told reporters, referring to Baker’s Bay.
“The people have been very nice to me. The hospitality and the facilities are growing and improving each and every time I come back. I look for reasons to come back. I love it.
“I like [to be] low key to some degree. I like being able to let my hair down.”