Oran: Investors freezing out locals
(right) explaining to Minister of Labour Colin Jordan (third right) and Permanent Secretary Alyson Forte
some of the processes in the production department as members of the service team work on a window.
(Pictures by Reco Moore.)
by TRE GREAVES
A LEADING MANUFACTURER is crying out for international investors undertaking construction projects in Barbados to use more local goods and services.
Chief executive officer of Oran Ltd, Scott Oran, said yesterday that some of these firms had been slamming the door in his company’s face.
In fact, he wants Government to ensure that companies which undertake these major contracts here are bound by agreements to utilise more local services.
Though he did not name any companies which had overlooked Oran, he said it was happening too often.
“It is important for us, especially on the major projects, that local companies like ours be given the opportunity to supply those jobs. Very often it’s a challenge when you get big projects and sometimes they are being given duty-free concessions for everything, so they really don’t look at local companies.
“But it also happens because a regional company may not be familiar with who is here. I can tell you, from our experience, we often get the door closed in our face because they say, ‘We are not accustomed to you’ and ‘We know other people’,” Oran said.
He highlighted his concerns to the DAILY NATION after Minister of Labour Colin Jordan toured Oran’s headquarters at Harbour Industrial Park in Bridgetown.
Oran added that he understood Government might not want to pin down the investors, but he said that local companies were equipped for the task.
Oran specialises in aluminium products, specifically windows, doors, ladders, furniture and architectural items. The company employs over 250 people.
President of the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers, Lieutenant Colonel Trevor Browne, when asked to comment on the situation, agreed with Oran. He said some businesses justified their actions by citing access to raw materials and cost of labour.
“You have a situation where a lot of things that can be done in Barbados at a very high quality are not done simply because of the way projects are run. So he has a good point.
“The truth is, the technology and knowledge involved in doing a lot of these jobs are available. We have engineers of the highest quality in Barbados and even if we didn’t, it’s not that difficult to access that knowledge, so obviously we can do it here,” Browne said.
Jordan said he was undertaking a series of tours of businesses to get a first-hand view of their operations so he and his technocrats would have a better understanding of the challenges the entities faced.
ORAN’S OPERATIONS MANAGER Justin Oran
ORAN’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Scott Oran addressing the media yesterday.