The Ministry of Labour and the Public Service has announced the appointment of attorney, Howard Thompson, as the new Director at the Department of Labour. His predecessor, Robert Farquharson, has been elevated to serve as the Executive Manager of Special Projects.
Howard Thompson is a seasoned attorney who has worked in the areas of labour and employment law, dispute resolution, and civil litigation, among other areas. His career has spanned roles at top local firms like McKinney, Bancroft, and Hughes, and he has served as a partner at Baycourt Chambers, as well as Maynard and Thompson. In recent years, he worked as a Supervisor at the Office of the Judiciary Research Council and served as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Directors at the Bank of The Bahamas.
Robert Farquharson is an experienced leader who previously served for a number of years as a Labour Consultant with responsibilities related to the National Tripartite Council and Special Projects Unit, as well as Chief Technical Officer with responsibility for industrial relations and employer- employee relations. He served as Director at the Department of Labour since September 27th , 2021.
Prior to his work in the public service, he was an Associate at Anthony Thompson & Co. and Lord Ellor & Co. where he led the Industrial Relations Units. He also held multiple senior leadership posts in local unions.
The leadership change was announced as the Department of Labour prepares to roll out a number of significant initiatives, beginning with the Notice of Vacancy Policy and Enforcement Unit which will be launched in just a few months. This Unit will enforce the law related to the hiring of non-Bahamians and the identification and training of Bahamian understudies to occupy roles held by non-Bahamians.
The Ministry is also in the midst of implementing the International Labour Organization (ILO) Decent Work Country Programme. A major component of this initiative will be the much-anticipated National Apprenticeship Programme, which will focus on on-the-job skills development for hundreds of participants.
The leadership changes closely follow the appointment of a new Labour Minister, Hon. Pia Glover- Rolle, and the creation of the Ministry of Labour and the Public Service. Minister Glover-Rolle stated that the move was necessary to enhance senior leadership capacity as
the Ministry aggressively pursues its agenda.
“Howard Thompson brings such great experience to the role. He has a wealth of knowledge as a labour and employment law specialist who has also led negotiations and resolved legal disputes. He has earned a professional reputation as a top performer and a highly productive, hands-on leader.
As you can imagine, these are all traits that make him an ideal Director for the Department of Labour.”
She added that the need for a new Director arose as Robert Farquharson’s leadership, expertise, and focus were required to ensure the successful implementation of key initiatives at the Department.
“Mr. Farquharson is highly experienced and has deep institutional knowledge that made him the ideal candidate to work on special projects that we are launching, beginning with the ILO Decent Work Country Programme and the National Apprenticeship Programme. These initiatives are of critical importance, so the decision was made to transition him away from general duties so that he can focus his strengths as a leader on these key projects that he is uniquely positioned to lead in his new role as an Executive Manager in the Department.”
In coming days, the handover process will be completed as Thompson and Farquharson settle into new roles that Ministry officials believe will maximise their strengths and position them for sustained success.