NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Atlantis executives say they were “very disheartened” by a recent Department of Labour investigation, noting that they were concerned over the approach taken which was not reflective of the level of cooperation which has existed between the two sides over the last 25 years.
Vaughn Roberts, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Special Projects while speaking with reporters yesterday expressed doubt that the Department of Labour survey had received any significant participation from the resort’s employees.
Atlantis has denied pressuring the resort’s employees to oppose Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) $100 million beach club development, stressing that their sole focus was on ensuring that the development undergoes environmental due diligence and the natural beauty of Paradise Island remains protected. The Department of Labour has launched an investigation to determine what impact a communication last month from Atlantis President and Managing Director Audrey Oswell urging staff to take a stand in relation to RCI’s beach club project may have had on them.
“We had some notice that they had received a few anonymous complaints. We did not receive any data on what the complaints were, but we agreed to cooperate. For the last 25 years, cooperation has been different than what was demonstrated here last week. We were very disheartened by it, but we stand firm on our belief that our employees can make the right decisions, good decisions for themselves,” said Roberts.
He continued, “I don’t imagine that they had a lot of participation. They handed out survey cards but they didn’t reach all of our employees. We saw the cards on the floor in the parking areas. It is unclear to us how many responses they got. They are apparently tallying up and summarizing the findings, and we look forward to seeing what the survey uncovers.”
Roberts said that resort executives are not as concerned over what the survey will uncover as they are about the approach taken by the Labour Department.
“We’re not so much concerned about what the survey will say, we’re concerned about the approach. We view ourselves as an important part of the community in The Bahamas. We’re the largest private sector entity here. We have had a very good relationship with the Department of Labour and certainly the government over the many years of our development, and this was just a surprise for us.”