Residents seek assurances for work on new development project in Layou
Residents of Layou listen to addresses by officials about plans earmarked for Jackson Bay.
May 23, 2023
Residents seek assurances for work on new development project in Layou

Residents of Layou have sought assurances that they would be given jobs and on a new development project earmarked for that coastal town.

This arose at a community consultation with residents on May, 10 which involved Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves; Parliamentary Representative for Central Leeward Orande Brewster, along with project engineers.

FROM LEFT: Dimitri Samuel, area representative from Central Leeward Orando Brewster and Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves.

The $1 million Jackson Bay Development project will see the roll out of a river defense component; construction of bathroom facilities; provision of lockers for fisherfolk; and a gazebos for recreation.

“You mention work for the people of Layou coming out of this project and that is a complicated answer,” Gonsalves said in response to a question during the question and answer segment of the consultations.

“We always encourage contractors to hire locally but the government is also bound by laws,” he told the audience at the Layou Government School.

The minister explained that the government is obligated by law to advertise for tenders, especially for large projects such as the one earmarked for Jackson Bay.

“When we are doing a job and it is over a certain amount of money then we have to advertise it and put it out to tender. The person with the lowest bid wins the job. We can’t control that and if the person with the lowest bid comes from outside the area the most we can do is try to encourage the person to hire locals. But we cannot say we have a million dollar job and give it to Freddie or Charlie because that is how corruption comes into play,” he outlined.

“The large bids … we are constrained by the law, we have to follow the laws. Small jobs we have more discretion on. For example, the gazebos, the wash rooms and the lockers- that is going to be too much money for me to promise you that that will go to a local man. It will depend on the aspects of the jobs.”

Minister Gonsalves also pushed back at suggestions that foreign labourers will secure most of the jobs on the project and locals will be left in the cold. He made reference to employment of labourers at Buccament Bay where the Sandals Resort is being constructed saying that while there are foreigners employed on that project, mainly out of the Dominician Republic through a company called Codelpha, locals are also part of the construction.

“Every month I get a report on how many people are working at Buccament. Local employees 292, foreign employees 260, local employees to be hired in May are 20. The fact of the matter is that there are more local employees working here than foreigners.”