While expressing satisfaction that the former Jolly Beach Resort (JBR) workers will finally be receiving their severance pay, Senator Damani Tabor says he is disappointed that the Browne Administration has not negotiated the re-hiring of those seeking reemployment at the hotel.
The Government has inked a deal with the principals of Elite Island Resorts to take over the management of the rehabilitated property. But while the company, reportedly, will be responsible for all personnel matters, no mention of rehiring the former staff has been made.
Meanwhile, quite a number of persons are saying they consider the agreement between the Government and the management company unfair.
According to a publicly circulated documented – unacknowledged by the Cabinet, but authenticated by a Finance source – the Government, through NAMCO, has accepted a loan of US$6 million to refurbish part of the Jolly Beach property.
The lender – alleged to be a business associated with the management company – reportedly has negotiated a 50% reduction of its corporate income tax, with this concession applied to all other businesses in which its principals have an ownership interest.
This irrevocable agreement is said to be for 15 years.
Tabor says it is appalling that the Government was unable to raise the money for renovating the resort, in spite of boasting of economic growth last year.
Senator Tabor notes that previous attempts to sell the property all fell through. And if this one fails, he says, the former JBR workers will continue to suffer during this very hard economic period.
More than 500 workers are in line for severance and gratuity payments from the resort. They were placed on the unemployment rolls in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the hotel sector.
Meanwhile, Tabor is scoffing at speculation that the workers being paid will put the United Progressive Party (UPP) at a disadvantage, since this was a hot-button issue on its campaign trail.
The Party’s Public Relations Officer says that, while this one area is being addressed, there are still many outstanding issues in terms of other workers receiving their back pay and benefits.
Tabor notes that the Browne Administration has over-promised and under-delivered during the more than eight years it has been in office.