A couple of interesting articles on the address by the Chinese ambassador to the Rotary Club of Barbados South.
Speaking at a Rotary Club of Barbados South function at Accra Beach Hotel on Wednesday, Huanxing said most Chinese workers here were artisans and managers who were regularly changed, working at most for two years before returning to China, and “not one of them stays here illegally when their working permits expire”.
Emphasising that “up till now, there is no single illegal Chinese immigrant in Barbados”, the ambassador said a locally registered Chinese company, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Ltd, had been contracted to construct the Four Seasons, which had 57 Chinese working as managers and artisans on the site.
The fact that they have work permits is not in dispute, that much has been established. The furore has to do with how the granting of those work permits came about. In Barbados, there is supposed to be a process to be followed for the granting of any work permit. So far, credible evidence that the correct process was followed has not been presented to the public of Barbados. And while there may not be a sufficient supply of local labour, for the Four Seasons site, the prevailing principal is that Barbadians should have first choice of those jobs.
Barbadians see this as the thin edge of the wedge, which if left unchallenged would result in foreign construction companies coming in with a full crew of foreign workers. While for the investor this might simplify matters, from a Barbadian perspective, it would be possible for Barbadians to become spectators in their own country. We on the margin, have no problem with foreign investment, or even foreign workers once the process has been followed (after all let’s face it without foreign labour construction in Barbados would shut down), however we do take a very dim view of the powers that be ignoring or dismantling the systems that make sure that Bajans don’t become foreigners in their own land.