As the Browne Administration promises yet another opening date for the defunct Jolly Beach Resort, the United Progressive Party (UPP) is again calling for the “long-suffering” former workers to be paid their severance and entitlements, noting that they are still holding an empty bag.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has announced that, in 60 days, the hotel will be up and running, as the Government will purchase the property and Apple Vacations will manage it. This promise comes after local hotelier Rob Barrett withdrew an offer for resuscitating the resort.
But Harold Lovell, UPP Political Leader, doubts that the resort will be reopened in two months, given the volume of renovation work to be done. He also cites the continued water-distribution challenges that the Administration blames on supply-chain challenges.
Accordingly, with this unlikely new timeline, it appears that the former workers, once again, are being taken for a ride, the UPP says.
By its last count, the Party notes, there have been six separate announcements of buyers for the hotel and re-opening dates – along with assurances that the workers’ outstanding payments would be prioritized.
In September 2020, Sunwing pulled out of the purchase deal; in December 2021, a $300-million investor from Holland purportedly was identified; in May this year, a prospective buyer should have invested $200 million. But not one of these has materialized, the UPP says.
Later in May, the Cabinet announced that Elite Island Resorts had been tipped to manage the hotel; and then last week, July 6, the Executive announced that the Barrett group is no longer interested.
That announcement was followed, on July 9, by PM Browne’s claims, on his affiliated radio station, that the Government will purchase the property and turn it over to Apple Vacations for management.
According to the UPP, the Browne Administration needs to stop playing “ring around the roses” with the struggling former workers, especially at this time, when the cost of living and fuel prices are so high.