NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A $4.3-million-dollar agreement between the government and The Bahamas Hotel Mangers Union was made yesterday for voluntary separation packages to be paid to managers of the Grand Lucayan Resort.
The agreement comes after months of legal wrangling between the two parties over an agreeable amount.
During a press conference held yesterday at the Ministry of Tourism, tourism minister Dioniso D’Aguilar said he was pleased that the matter was finally able to be resolved amicably.
More than 90 mangers, who are currently still employed at the resort will be begin to receive payouts by months’ end, according to D’Aguilar.
“Managers will receive a total 4.3 million, $3.7 million of that will come from the government as it is the shareholder and the rest will come from annuities that were put into the hotel. The employees will have the option of keeping it in the annuity plan or if they want to cash it out, they can cash it out,” D’Aguilar said.
Trade Union Congress President, Obie Ferguson, who represented the managers during negotiations, said that what was originally offered to the mangers was “insulting” and they were forced to go back to the drawing board.
“I am satisfied that at all times I did not condescend to negotiations which tend not to be productive….We along with the workers made the position clear and we are satisfied that the minister did what a responsible minister would do and that’s to protect and look after the interest of the public funds. But we had to look after the interest of our members.”
More than 200line staff were reportedly paid 3.2 million in VSEPS back in January. The original recommended payout for line staff was $1.4million.
The Tourism Minister said that while he could not give a total figure on what the government has paid out he says the government fully expects torecoup the $65 million it paid for the resort last August.
“What we have put in we think is a tiny investment when we think about the returns by transferring this property to a well-known operator namelyRoyal Caribbean and ITM when we look at VAT receipts, added employees and the infusion to the Grand Bahamian economy… when we thinkabout where it is now to where it will be, it’s a very small investment”