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Union Calls Emergency Meeting with Jolly Beach Employees for Friday at 10am

The Starfish will be detaching itself from the Jolly Beach Resort, as the Sunwing Travel Group reportedly have pulled out of the property in which it promised to invest “a substantial amount of money to renovate and improve” only three years ago.

As Trumpet News continue to follow this developing story , we have learnt  that Sunwing’s pull-out leaves the present and future of the hotel’s hundreds of workers “up in the air” an emergency meeting have been called with employees by the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union for Friday 4th September at 10am to discuss this development and the way forward for employees.

In June, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the resort was unlikely to reopen before November, since Sunwing was negotiating with the Canadian Government for support of its airline, which, he said, was responsible for bringing most of the hotel’s guests out of Canada.

At the time, Browne also said that several investors – including an American outfit – had shown an interest in purchasing the property outright, and that for US$29 million – rather than the US$37 million it was worth – Jolly Beach could be sold.  

This would be after hotelier Rob Barrett of Elite Resorts had reportedly injected a significant amount of resources into keeping the hotel open and saving jobs in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Government had announced plans to become the largest shareholder in the resort by converting taxes owed to the statutory corporations into shares to be held by NAMCO.  

Many residents were opposed to that proposal, pointing out that the statutory bodies would be robbed twice: They could not recover their arrears and they would be excluded from future profits of the resort.

Under the new circumstances, it is not yet known whether NAMCO will see its plan through.  Neither is it known how the staff, who have been complaining of missed and late payments for the past year, will be compensated.  

Many of the long-serving employees have said they are amenable to being severed.  However, since the hotel reportedly is unable to afford to terminate them, they felt they were being deliberately frustrated into leaving voluntarily and empty-handed.

As it stands now, “nothing is sure” say one employee when contacted by Trumpet News about the Winter Season reopening, expected between October and November.  

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