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Foreigner brought in to replace CIBC boss Marie Rodland-Allen

At a time of high unemployment in The Bahamas, the Minnis Administration has issued a work permit to a foreigner to replace former First Caribbean Bank Managing Director Marie Rodland-Allen.

In October 2020, Rodland-Allen resigned from the Board of First Caribbean International Bank Bahamas Limited.

She has been replaced by Barbados national Dr. Jacqueline Bend, who took up the position of Managing Director and is now based in Nassau.

Bend’s appointment took effect on April 1.

CIBC employees, with hopes of advancing up the corporate ladder, are furious that the government has issued a work permit for a foreigner to fill a position previously held by a Bahamian when there are at least a dozen Bahamians qualified to fill the position.

Senior banking officials say they feel betrayed by the Minnis Administration.

In May 2017, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis reportedly directed government officials to ensure that no foreigner should get a work permit where there are qualified Bahamians to fill that position

“The prime minister has given me directions to ensure that no foreigner gets a permit where there is a Bahamian available to do the job,” Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said on Guardian Radio talk show The Political View.

“I have given directions to the director of labour and we are represented on the Immigration Board and no work permit can be issued without what is commonly known as a labour certificate, we call them notice of vacancies, unless there is a heads of agreement between the government and the developers or owners of a resort that says the general manager, financial officer or somebody else you can get work permits for them,” Foulkes added.

With the national unemployment rate hovering around 40 percent, due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, members of the banking community feel the government should’ve held off on issuing work permits to allow for more job opportunities for the thousands of Bahamians who have been laid off since March 2020 and to allow for qualified Bahamians in lower levels to be elevated.

However, it seems that politicians have forgotten the promises they made to Bahamians following the 2017 General Election.

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