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Montevideo, July 23rd 2021 - 16:45 UTC

 

 

Falklands' lack of tradespeople affecting housing and public works programs

Thursday, February 11th 2021 - 09:51 UTC
Full article 7 comments
MLA Elsby: the problem is not being solved and to some extent we hope the private sector will come up to that. ”We're talking hundreds of thousands of pounds.” MLA Elsby: the problem is not being solved and to some extent we hope the private sector will come up to that. ”We're talking hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
MLA Elsby said he envisaged a scenario where the private sector bundled the work together then brought people into the Islands to work on it MLA Elsby said he envisaged a scenario where the private sector bundled the work together then brought people into the Islands to work on it

With an economy growing sustainedly 3,9% annually, full employment, and with ambitious public works and housing projects in the books, the ongoing problem of the lack of tradespeople in the Falkland Islands has become more evident and challenging. Penguin News invited MLA Barry Elsby to comment on the situation in an interview this week.

MLA Elsby said: “It's not [being solved] and to some extent we hope the private sector will come up to that. You see if you tot up the amount of work that's waiting to be done in just government housing you're talking hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

He said he envisaged a scenario where the private sector bundled the work together then brought people into the Islands to work on it, “they could bring people down for 18 months or two years of repair work for a small gang working their way through.”

In Penguin News last week, it was reported – in the words of MLA Elsby – that the FIG has “contracted the next tranche of housing with the MoD for a contractor in the UK.” However, FIG clarified to MercoPress that the tender process is still ongoing and does not end until 19 February.

There were three pre-qualifying companies who had responded to the original pre-qualification questionnaire, both local and from overseas. The final decision on the tender process will be concluded during March based on the tenders received. Details of the successful tenderer will be published once the evaluation process is completed and all tenderers have been informed of the final decision, FIG said.

“Why not? Accommodation is the perennial problem, no matter who's coming in, but that is a perennial problem. But we had hoped that a lot of those private sectors in the Islands would undertake the bulk of the work.”

He said: “Why wouldn't you build your company, hopefully make more money. I think people just feel that they are comfortable where they are at the moment...” He added: “I think it's an odd situation the Falkland Islands where the concept of going out and getting three or four quotes for a bit of work just doesn't exist.

“You just don't; you just beg people to come and do one job, so it is difficult, but I think we just have to hope that it will improve.”

MLA Elsby assured they had spoken to the private sector, “we talked to them, the Chief Executive met with them through the Chamber, and a company is a company and if people don't want to take on all that extra responsibility you can't force people; but we hope with this company coming down from the private sector for the housing for Bennett’s Paddock might look around and go ‘actually, there's a lot of work here and there's much more work at MPA’ and out of that might come more permanently based people here.”

He said details of the size of the gang coming down had yet to be finalised. One problem caused by the lack of tradespeople is that FIG housing requiring refurbishment is often held up, in turn contributing to the housing shortage. (Penguin News)

Top Comments

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  • darragh

    Gabby Hayes

    “Argentina negotiate” - isn't that an oxymoron (with emphasis on the moron)

    Feb 11th, 2021 - 04:12 pm +5
  • kelperabout

    Billy Hayes
    The one advantage the islanders have is that they are able to rise to every challange and has always managed to achieve their goals.
    The very efficient handling of the recent german flight showed that though we may be small in numbers we can compete with the big guys.
    TDF are concerned that when we build our new port we will be a threat to their Antartic arrangements.
    My answer to that is they will have to step up a gear or accept the consequences.
    It's called competition.

    Feb 11th, 2021 - 04:21 pm +4
  • kelperabout

    Think the mla who was interviewed should do his home work a little better.
    He says there is a shortage, and there is of people to build houses and goes on to say that to bring people in to do the job requires more houses that is also true. But then he says they are looking to contract more people to come and build these houses that are needed but knows there is no accommodation to house these people.
    What he failed to mention is that there are a whole lot of people in the local community who could do this work but are not taking it on because they want top earnings for the work and most of these private companies that could take them on wont pay that kind of money. Instead they would rather import foreign labour from countries that have very low incomes and there lies the problem. To get these people in you need connections and with the pandemic that is not possible.
    The alternative is import from the uk but that labour costs more than they are prepared to pay.
    So government tries to step in and they then have the problem of housing the workers.
    A catch twenty two.
    Yes there are unskilled workers here on the islands but few will take them on to train and often these new workers feel they should be receiving the same equal pay of the imported contractor.
    We must not forget also as we are expanding more jobs get created, most through contract labour so locals are pushed down the housing list which adds to the problem.
    Communication and fair trading is required to solve this problem. Untill it does not a lot will change.

    Feb 11th, 2021 - 10:45 am 0
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