ABWU confirms that Jolly Beach severance funds were received today and workers’ pay-out could begin before Christmas

Former Jolly Beach workers could begin to receive their severance payments and other gratuities before Christmas, since their union has finally received the funds.

The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) says attorneys for Jolly Beach advised earlier today, December 2, that they have received from the firm of Lake, Kentish & Bennett Inc. the funds allocated for payment of all former Jolly Beach Corporation workers.

In the coming week, says Deputy General Secretary Chester Hughes, the Union and its attorneys will work expeditiously to process “these funds for payment to individuals in short order.”

A schedule and dates for payment will be published in the coming week, Hughes adds.

Meanwhile, he notes that the Union receiving the cheque only today is further confirmation that Prime Minister Gaston Browne lied when he claimed that ABWU was in possession of the funds weeks ago.

Notwithstanding that controversy, the Union is thanking its members for their patience and understanding as it sought to have the matter resolved urgently.

More than 500 former workers are collectively owed more than EC$7 million, having been placed on the breadline in March 2020, when the resort ceased operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jolly Beach has since been leased to Elite Island Resorts, which is renovating up to 200 rooms in order to receive guests this month.

Hotelier Rob Barrett reportedly has invested US$6 million – a loan to the Government – to renovate the property and facilitate the payment of severance.