No October reopening for Jolly Beach Resort; but December date is under consideration, as well as workers’ severance pay

Another deadline set by the Gaston Browne Administration – this time for the reopening of the Jolly Beach Resort – will not be met, and no new date has been forecast.

On July 6, Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced the grand reopening of the hotel property would take place within 60 days. And, at the beginning of August, observers noted that the resort was only 31 days away from returning to the hotel stock.

Now, while the Cabinet reportedly has held a discussion on readying the hotel for the winter tourism season, a specific date for the reopening has not been given. Rather, a December 2022 date is said to be under consideration.

It is unclear what has caused this latest push-back of the reopening. But the Administration says that an estimate to prepare a number of rooms and common areas has been submitted, with the cost approaching $2 million.

During an earlier interview, Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the United Progressive Party, had said he did not expect the 60-day deadline would be met. He cited the many setbacks, to date, and the constant changes in investors who supposedly were interested in revitalizing the hotel.

Lovell said, then, that the Browne Administration is always rushing to get things done; and the rush, in the end, turns out to be a total failure.

Accordingly, he said the planned reopening was a sit-and-wait situation.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet is acknowledging that the demand for more hotel rooms “is strong in this post-COVID period.” It also notes that preparing additional rooms would benefit a number of employees, as well as “other suppliers who depend upon tourism in order to survive.”

During the height of the close-down, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jolly Beach workers were severed – but without being paid the millions of dollars they were owed collectively.

Despite the intervention of their union, no definitive word has been given, since 2020, on when they will receive their monies.

Now, however, the Administration says it “intends to ensure that those workers receive what they should have been paid,” and “severance [will] be computed in the reopening ambition.”

The hotel also owes the Government a considerable sum for electricity and water and significant unpaid taxes, the Cabinet Notes say.

At present, Jolly Beach Hotel is reportedly under the supervision of a court-appointed receiver.