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The Minister of Labor and Social Development is in close contact with City Market to understand how it may assist workers as unease sets in over the recent store closures.
The Minister, Dion Foulkes, told Guardian Business yesterday he's in daily communication with Mark Finlayson, who along with his family owns 78 percent of the shares in City Market's
holding company Bahamas Supermarkets Limited.
According to Foulkes, the company is trying to hold onto as many staff members as possible.
"My understanding is that Finlayson is attempting to keep employees and reduce the work-week as opposed to layoffs," Foulkes said. "Their main concern is to try to keep as many persons engaged as possible."
Meanwhile, as the Minister lends his support, at least one wholesaler is hoping that City Market will pull through its ongoing challenges and see a return to the business it enjoyed in better times, however.
Vice president of Bahamas Wholesale Agencies, John Robertson, told Guardian Business yesterday that although any loss of business that results from further declines in City Market's business would likely be picked up by other customers, the
chain had been a good customer for years.
"We want to see City Market succeed and are disappointed they are struggling a little now," Robertson said. "We are hoping they can come out of this and expand to where they were."
This newspaper published City Market's announcement Thursday that it was closing four stores - two permanently in Grand Bahama effective midnight Wednesday the 14th, and two temporarily in New Providence for renovations.
Until at least the end of the year, there will only be three City Market locations in operation.
The company said yesterday that it was redirecting staff from its South Beach store to its Cable Beach location. Workers from the Sea Grapes store will join its Harbour Bay location in New Providence. In Grand Bahama, staff formerly working at Eight Mile Rock and Downtown Freeport stores were directed to report to the Lucaya Store, which City Market said would move to the chain's 24-hour format.
No layoffs as a result of the store closures were announced up to press-time. The government was, nevertheless, preparing to assist workers should layoffs ensue, according to the Minister.
"We have put several things in place to help in Grand Bahama, as we did with the layoffs at Our Lucaya, including facilitating and fast tracking the unemployment benefit. We are also facilitating as many as possible to apply for the [National Job and Skills Training Initiative] in Grand Bahama," the Minister said.
The employees converging on the remaining stores likely means drastic weekly reductions in how many hours line-workers are able to log. Barring an investment injection and new store openings, the current scenario may be unsustainable.
Guardian Business asked the question of how long the chain could sustain its current employment levels, but had no response up to press time.
According to the company, the renovations in the Nassau stores include an "overhaul" to fix infrastructural issues and address challenges it says have "plagued" the refrigeration system and other equipment. The company is reporting it does not expect renovations to conclude before the end of the year.
These most recent closures follow the closures of its Lyford Cay and Rosetta Street stores early last month.
At its peak, City Market had eight locations in Nassau and three in Grand Bahama.
City Market workers were locked out of the Sea Grapes Shopping Plaza location yesterday and told by a security guard to report to the Harbour Bay location for work, several of them told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
The ire built up as more and more of them reported for work only to find out there was no work to report to at their assigned store.
They said executive management did not let them know that the store would be closing, nor where they should report to yesterday morning.
"They need to inform the employees what they will do with us," said stock clerk Evette Robinson.
"They are not giving us any information on where we are heading, no meeting, nothing. It's not fair to us because we're being pushed around and up and down like yoyos.
"We're supposed to report to another store just by word (of mouth), nothing official from management."
However, management sent an official statement to the press Wednesday, stating that the South Beach and Sea Grapes Shopping Plaza stores would be closing temporarily.
The release also announced that City Market's stores in Freeport and Eight Mile Rock would be closing permanently.
"The position takes effect at midnight Wednesday, September 14, 2011," the release said.
"At the stores slated for renovation the company will be addressing infrastructure issues and the many challenges that have plagued the refrigeration system and other equipment.
"The renovations which have been described as a complete overhaul are not expected to conclude before the end of the year.
"City Market will also be converting the Lucayan, Grand Bahama, location to a 24-hour store in keeping with its New Providence 24-hour formats."
The release also gave directives for City Market's staff to report to other City Market locations. Those were the same directives staff told The Guardian they were not given personally by City Market executives.
"The staff complement at these stores have been redirected as follows: South Beach staff are to report to the Cable Beach store; Sea Grapes staff to the Harbour Bay store and staff at the Eight Mile Rock and downtown Freeport stores to the Lucaya store," the statement said.
"City Market appreciates the patience of its customers in this effort."
However, it is the staff who say they have run out of patience with the new owners of City Market. Bahamian businessman Mark Finlayson and other investors bought out the food store chain earlier this year.
Stock clerk for City Market's South Beach location Alberta Rahming said she simply wants management to give her the monies that are due to her so she can be done with the company. She said the management has strung the employees along for too long with no regard for them.
"He (Finlayson) hasn't earned my respect so I'm not giving it," she said. "We just want to move on, we're tired. We just want to move on, we want to go; enough is enough."
City Market now has only two locations left open in New Providence: Cable Beach and Harbour Bay.
Dairy and Frozen Food manager Kendra Bodie insisted employees wanted to hear from management yesterday.
"I feel as if we the employees have been slighted by our employers," she said.
"The employees here are hard working [and] dedicated. The employees give their heart and soul for the company and in turn get treated like this.
"When will you sit with us and speak with us?"
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The Government, through Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's Office, has moved to broker a resolution to the 'impasse' between Baha Mar and Scotiabank over the former's $200 million outstanding loan, sources told Tribune Business, the issue being the main obstacle to the $2.6 billion Cable Beach redevelopment.
This newspaper was told that the Government had moved to bring Baha Mar and the Scotiabank-led syndicate to a resolution, having moved over the weekend to arrange a meeting between the two sides.
How active a role the Government might play in seeking to broker a resolution is unclear, especially given Prime Minister Hubert Ingraha ...
Nassau, The Bahamas -- We
believe that teachers are the lamps that light our way along the path
of knowledge, said Ross Smi
th, Acting Deputy Director of Curriculum in The Ministry
of Education, Science and Technology Oct 13.
Mr. Smith was delivering the speech of Minister of
Education, Science and Technology the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald at the
10th National Teacher of the Year Awards ceremony at the Sheraton Nassau
Beach Resort Hotel, Cable Beach. The theme was Celebrating Outstanding
Nassau, Bahamas - Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham (right) greets Clayton
Green, leader of the Progressive National Party of the Turks and Caicos Islands
during a courtesy call at the Office of the Prime Minister, Cable Beach on Thursday,
EDITOR, The Tribune.
The story in this morning's paper about a Ministry of Works road worker being struck by a car lends even more credence to the following.
As a frequent 6 am commuter in the Cable Beach area one can't help but notice the many joggers and walkers using the road instead of the sidewalks and foot paths and yes, before you squeal, I know why you do it. However the question begs which is least painful, a twisted ankle or skinned knees and elbows from running on an uneven surface, sidewalk, or full contact with a vehicle moving at 30 mph?
After another near miss yesterday morning it is my observation that while some joggers wear reflective vests, arm and head bands th ...
SuperClubs Breezes yesterday said it would pay staff a percentage of their wages to minimse the impact of its two-month closure until November 1, 2011, as it moves to repair roof damage caused by Hurricane Irene.
Explaining in a statement that it was impossible to keep the property open while the repairs were taking place, the Cable Beach-based resort said it had no option but to temporarily lay-off staff for two months starting on September 1.
Apart from paying staff a percentage of their wages, SuperClubs Breezes encouraged them to take accrued vacation so they could receive full pay for two weeks.
The resort added that some staff would remain in areas such as housekeeping, food and beverage, ...
Nassau, Bahamas - Enclosed is Remarks by Attorney General at the Crisis Center Peace Conference
at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, Cable Beach, Nassau on 20th Sept
When I think about
peace, I think of that popular song, "Let there be peace on earth and let it
begin with me, let there be peace on earth the way that it was meant to be, with
God as our father, brothers all are we, let me walk with my brother in perfect
harmony". That is exactly your theme, Peace at Home (let it begin with
me) and let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony (peace in our
community). Sy Miller and Jill Jackson were a husband and wife songwriting team. In
1955 they wrote this song about their dream of peace for the world and how they
believed each one of us could help create it
Growth and profitability is the top priority for most Bahamian businesses, but one that's becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. However, some companies do it well, delivering sustainable growth year on year. So what makes these companies so successful? And more importantly, what can your business learn from them?
In their book 'Growth Champions' Tim Jones, Dave McCormick and Caroline Dewing provide a revealing insight into 20 of the world's leading companies such as PepsiCo, Audi, Rolls-Royce and Apple. Their aim being to identify how such organizations have achieved their success by assessing what they all have in common and understanding the strategies they have implemented.
To achieve this aim, 'Growth Champions' is split into three core sections:
1. The Growth Agenda - what it means and how it is changing
2. The Growth Champions - how leaders have achieved success
3. The Growth Challenges - the issues that we all need to address.
The Growth Agenda is explored by presenting an overview of the change drivers and strategic approaches to achieve growth using academic theory and case studies. This helps to demonstrate why companies such as Amazon, BASF, Google, LEGO, Nestle, Novo Nordisk, Proctor & Gamble, Samsung, Shell and Tata have grown into market leaders.
These market leaders are used to identify the key characteristics of Growth Champions, which includes:
o Clarity of Ambition: Growth aspirations must inspire and be specific
o Shared Values: Clear ambitions that fit with the organizational values
o Organizational Confidence: understanding strengths and areas for development
o Innovation: across core products, services and internal processes
o Foresight & Insight: understand the trends shaping markets and their implications
o Leadership: being prepared to challenge conventional wisdoms.
Finally we are led into the Growth Challenges for the next decade, which bares an uncanny resemblance to the current economic environment within The Bahamas. The authors argue that the three key 'Growth Champions' are likely to include attracting Chinese investment, working collaboratively with companies with different approaches, and delivering sustainability to drive growth. You only have to look around to see that it's already here, with the Baha Mar development on Cable Beach being a perfect example.
My only complaint is that 'Growth Champions' allows many of the top-20 senior executives to promote their companies' virtues in a manner that would make their PR departments blush - as saying goes 'don't believe the hype'. However, it's a quick read, relevant, inspiring and 'Grows' on you, which is a big plus for a business book.
o 'Growth Champions' edited by Tim Jones, Dave McCormick and Caroline Dewing.
Published by John Wiley and available from www.Amazon.com.
o Keith Appleton JP, BA (Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within an academic, managerial and strategic leadership role. He is a member of the UK Institute of Leadership & Management and can be contacted at KeithAppleton@Hotmail.co.uk or follow him at twitter.com/writingrightnow .
It's only been about a month since Trans Island Traders Ltd. bought the City Market chain of food stores, but company CEO Mark Finlayson has said the downward financial spiral endured by the chain has ended.
Shrinkage (loss by theft and spoiled goods), major refrigeration problems and issues with creditors brought City Market to near closure a month ago, said Finlayson as he monitored the restocking of shelves at their Cable Beach store yesterday.
Finlayson explained that things were so bad that prior to November 12, customer traffic had dipped to less than half of what it was the same time in 2009.
"It was down to 49 percent. Two weeks ago it was at 51 percent. I just recently looked a ...
Nassau, Bahamas - Prime Minister the Right Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham has
confirmed his participation as keynote speaker at Bahamas Business Outlook (BBO)
2011. Under the theme
Bahamian Economy: Fact, Fiction or the Real Alternative?", the premier
event is scheduled to take place Thursday, January 13, 2011 at the Wyndham
Nassau Resort, Cable Beach.
Following Prime Minister Ingraham to the podium will be a series
of dynamic speakers, who will inform on a range of timely subjects including tourism, financial services, agriculture,
telecommunications, oil exploration, entrepreneurship...
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday blasted former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's change of heart on the upcoming gambling referendum stating it is "shameful".
Ingraham, who previously said he would not vote on Monday, announced at a press conference yesterday that he intends to vote no and urged Bahamians to do likewise.
"If Hubert Ingraham wants to settle a political score with the PLP over the failed 2002 referendum, then he should be a man and say so," said Roberts, referring to the failed constitutional referendum brought by the Ingraham administration.
"If he is opposing the referendum because he is not driving it then he should show some backbone and say so.
"This attempt to cowardly demonize the web shop owners and workers and use them as scapegoats is unseemly, petty and hypocritical.
"I urge all Bahamians to firstly ignore Ingraham.
"Secondly, I urge all Bahamians to exercise their rights and go out and vote their conscience on Referendum Day."
Ingraham said the march to Parliament led by web shop owners on Wednesday convinced him to change his position.
He was referring to a march by more than 1,000 Vote Yes supporters, including web shop owners Craig Flowers (FML), Sebas Bastian (Island Luck) and Davon Jones (Whatfall) among others.
On Monday, Ingraham said he was not going to vote in the referendum because the question of casino gambling was absent from the ballot.
"Well a number of FNM supporters have spoken to me and expressed their alarm at my non participation in the referendum and I was particularly moved as a result of yesterday's demonstration," said Ingraham at his law office on Cable Beach.
"It is an unfathomable thing to see the operators of a numbers business, including one of whom was convicted in the courts of The Bahamas, [march to Parliament]."
Roberts said Ingraham's comments seem strange as his administration had once tried to regulate the sector.
In 2010, Ingraham had explored the possibility of legalizing web shops, but abandoned the idea after strong objections from church leaders.
He announced at the time that he would put the matter to referendum if his party won the government again.
The former administration also drafted a bill to govern computer wagering.
"Ingraham obviously bit his tongue when he said, 'the blatant disrespect and disregard of the laws of our land (by web shop operators and workers) is intolerable to (him)'," Roberts said.
"This cannot be the same man who invited the web shop owners to make their financial statements available to the then FNM government in an effort to formulate an equitable taxation regime for that industry that he fully intended to legalize and regulate."
Earlier this week, Roberts stated that the PLP was urging voters to vote yes. He later retracted that statement, saying the official PLP position is that voters should vote their conscience.
The outbreak of dengue fever in New Providence is driving the sale of the popular insect repellant OFF!.
One consumer said in an interview that she went to two stores before being able to get the item.
"I went to the smaller stores in the Carmichael area - the Chinese stores," Margaret Beneby said.
"They were both out. Their stocks were not probably major to begin with, but I was told that OFF! was their biggest seller."
Justina Adderley had a similar experience.
"I went to Supervalue in Cable Beach last week looking for OFF! because my mom is going to Harbour Island and we asked the worker and he said they were out," she said.
That store has since replenished it's stock, according to a representative.
Nikki Simmons, marketing manager at City Market, told The Nassau Guardian that OFF! is also moving off their shelves quickly.
Simmons said sales picked up over the last three weeks. Sales increased further, she added, following a press conference held at the Ministry of Health last week when Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed a growth in the number of reported dengue fever cases.
Simmons said City Market is in the process of ordering additional shipments of OFF!.
"We're being as proactive as we can," she said.
Additionally, the chain has been giving out informational flyers to its customers, Simmons said.
Last week, health officials reported that there were more than 1,500 recorded cases of dengue fever in New Providence.
However, that number likely has grown significantly, as scores of people continue to flock to public and private health care facilties with symptoms of the virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, eye pain and joint pain.
The large number of cases this year has burdened the public health care system.
The government has urged citizens to ensure there is no standing water in their yards in order to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for spreading the virus.
Over the past week there have been an average of 100 reported cases per day of dengue fever, according to estimates from the Ministry of Health.
Nassau, Bahamas - The Bahamas
Society of Engineers held its inaugural Engineering, Design and
Construction Conference at the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort on Friday,
Among those in attendance was the Hon. Phenton Neymour, Minister of
State in the Ministry of the Environment. The theme for the one-day
conference was "Building A Better Future..."
Nassau, Bahamas - Pauline Davis-Thompson, Harrison Petty and Mike Sands of the Bahamas
Association of Athletic Associations appeared as guests on 'The Sports
Guys' with Kevin Taylor on ZSR Sports Radio 103.5 FM this morning to
announce the upcoming Gala Awards Luncheon.
The luncheon which will be
held at 2pm on
at the Sheraton Nassau Beach
Resort on Cable Beach...
A man accused of a home-invasion robbery in 2010 is back in prison charged with another hold-up.
Prosecutors allege that 56-year-old Jeffrey Wilson, and Laron Grant, 19, robbed a Chinese couple at gunpoint of a deposit bag containing $12,500 outside the Cable Beach branch of Scotiabank on August 20.
Wilson, whose street name is 'Capone', was on bail in connection to the robbery of a family at Coral Harbour in February 2010.
Wilson, of Thurston's Close, Oakes Field, and Grant, of Malcolm Road, are accused of making off with the money that belonged to a Chinese restaurant.
The men are also accused of robbing another person of a purse that contained Chinese currency, $500 cash, a bank card and a driver's license.
Police allege the men fled the scene in a white Honda Accord. The car, a white 2008 Honda Accord, belongs to Donell Ferguson.
Wilson and Grant are accused of stealing the vehicle, which was recovered following their arrest, on August 16.
The men were not required to plead to the armed robbery charges, but they denied the car theft allegation at an arraignment before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez yesterday.
They have been remanded to prison.
As the BCA prepares to stage its first Homeowner Education Workshop tomorrow, important consumer protection measures in the new Contractors Bill may have to wait until next year to be codified into law.
President of the Bahamian Contractors' Association (BCA), Godfrey Forbes, told Guardian Business that a Government/BCA/Insurance industry meeting to address final issues surrounding the bill was held in the first week of July, but the BCA is still awaiting feedback from the Attorney General's office on revisions coming out of that meeting. With the revisions not finalized, Forbes is doubtful the bill will make it to Parliament this year.
"We were being hopeful that it would get into Parliament for this coming session. It appears that that's looking a little doubtful at this point in time," Forbes told Guardian Business.
"It's now two months later" said Forbes referencing the time elapsed since the tri-party meeting. "We still don't know what the status is."
One of the key issues remaining was who would fund a reserve to assist consumers that did not receive the work they contracted, Forbes said. Based on a maximum home value of $500,000, Forbes said that no more than 10 percent of that value, or $50,000, would be the maximum any consumer could receive from that fund.
The BCA's position is that the initial funding should come from the government, according to Forbes. Contractors, he said, are held liable for anything that goes wrong with a project. If they were responsible for the initial funding, they would not only have to take out contractor's all-risk insurance for their projects - to protect against losses during the construction period - but would also have to pay into the fund. He says it was more reasonable for contractors to make contributions to the fund over time.
As for the amount of the fund or the exact contributions individual contractors would make, Forbes said those matters would be best addressed through regulations rather than legislation. Pre-defined amounts would limit the flexibility of the fund to meet changes in the industry.
The fund is likely to be managed by insurance industry professionals, Forbes said, and procedures including a special committee that would review the legitimacy of any complaints would be put in place to govern it.
"Defects could be real or perceived and something like the fund could be abused," Forbes said.
In a first for consumers, the BCA is launching a special workshop that ultimately could help participants to avoid ever having to turn to such a fund. Saying that the BCA has been "in a sense inundated with calls about shoddy workmanship," Forbes said the association felt obligated to put on the workshop.
"Rather than having persons who had to suffer this experience, we want to say if you are considering building a home, you want to be more-or-less the manger of the construction project. There are things they need to know, and we want to arm them with that information," Forbes said.
Scheduled for September 24th, 2011 at the Wyndham Nassau Resort, Cable Beach, the workshop cost is $50 prior to the event at the door. The president of the not-for-profit association said it's costly to stage such a workshop and that, considering the value of the information, the price would be well worth it for those setting out on the building process.
Presentation subjects will include how to: choose a construction team; prepare a contractor contract; and understand stage and monthly payment schedules and contract close-outs. JM Appraisers and Royal Bank of Canada/FinCo representatives will also make presentations.
Bahamas - The Government is committed to scouting for potentially great
athletes in the country and preparing them for the 2016 Olympics and
other future sporting events, the Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry
made the statement during a press conference on the Bahamas men's 4x4
metre relay team gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. The quartet of
Ramon Miller, Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, and Michael Mathieu paid a
Courtesy Call on the Prime Minister at his Cable Beach office on
Tuesday, August 14, 2012...
President of Bahamas Supermarkets Limited (BSL) Mark Finlayson yesterday assured that the pension fund of City Market employees remains sound.
He said measures are being taken to ensure it remains viable for many years to come.
In an interview with The Nassau Guardian, Finlayson said the trustees of Bahamas Supermarkets Employee Retirement Fund are looking for a buyer for the building on East West Highway that is currently the headquarters of Bahamas Supermarkets.
He said the building was appraised at $9 million in 2009 and the trustees think they could get at least $6 million for the building.
The building is owned by the trust, he said.
"The trustees have acted the way we were supposed to act according to the trust deed," Finlayson said. "I want to make sure it is clear that we have acted well on behalf of the beneficiaries because that's extremely important."
He noted that there is a big difference between the pension fund trust and Bahamas Supermarkets Limited. They are two competely different entities, he stressed.
Finlayson, who is one of two trustees of the pension trust, said it remains non-contributory.
The trust gets rent from BSL for use of the building and it also gets rent for equipment at the Cable Beach store. That is because the equipment is also owned by the trust and not BSL, Finlayson explained.
Under the trust deed, the pension plan is structured to benefit from profit sharing as well, he said.
Currently the company is losing money, according to Finlayson, but he said he is confident his group will turn it around.
He said former owners of the City Market chain used $3 million from the pension money and invested in the Cable Beach equipment.
"The employees shouldn't sit down and worry if something happens to BSL whether or not they are going to lose their pensions," Finlayson said. "They will not lose their pensions because the point is the building is there."
He said the trustees are trying to sell that building based on the recommendation of a forensic accountant.
"We are trying to sell this building in order to raise the cash to make sure the beneficiaries when their time comes to retire, their monies will be there," Finlayson said.
He said when his group took over the company early this year, there was $1.9 million in the trust.
The new owners decided to offer early retirement to qualified beneficiaries.
Finlayson said in order to qualify, workers had to have had full time employment with BSL for 25 continuous years or have reached age 55 with 10 plus years of service.
Under normal entitlement, employees could only benefit when they reach 65.
A terminated employee, as long as he or she was not fired for stealing, could under normal entitlement benefit from the trust at age 55.
Finlayson said more than 25 employees benefited from early retirement. This was done "for their benefit", he said.
"There's a good relationship between us and those who retired," he added.
Under the retirement program that was in place under previous ownership, an employee who reached 65 could qualify for pension, but could only get 20 percent up front, Finlayson said.
The other 80 percent was placed into an annuity, and the pensioners were often penalized when they accessed that 80 percent.
"They've gotten 100 percent of their money, which is something that's unusual," said Finlayson, referring to the employees who took advantage of early retirement, which was offered on a first come, first served basis.
Finlayson said he and the other trustee, Philip Kemp, felt it important that the employees should get all of their money up front.
"From our standpoint we thought this money doesn't belong to anyone else but the beneficiaries," he said. "If they want to put their money in an annuity, they should be free to do so."
BSL employs more than 500 people, but not all of them qualify for the plan. In order to be in the plan, an employee must have completed 10 years of continuous employment, Finlayson said.
"There are a number of employees who just received (collectively) $2 million in early retirement," he added. "So, you know, the proof is in the pudding."
Finlayson said the trustees are acting purely from "a human element".
"This is money that does not belong to me," he said. "It does not belong to my family. It does not belong to BSL.
"We met just under $2 million inside there (the trust) and one of the things is I wanted to make sure temptation was out of the way. That was the reason why we gave that money to people who were entitled to it."