NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar on Tuesday claimed that representatives of the Grand Lucayan managerial staff are holding up the issue of voluntary separation packages from coming to any timely resolution.
“There is no movement and I’m a little alarmed. I don’t know what’s going on [or] what strategy they’re pulling, but I am an open and transparent guy,” D’Aguilar told reporters before heading to Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
D’Aguilar said the reps seemed cordial at the last meeting but he has tried to contact them at least seven times but has been unsuccessful.
“I am ready to talk and I want the people in Freeport to know that I am doing my endeavor best to get the matter settled and their representatives for some reason haven’t gotten back to me and I have been trying to reach them for seven or eight days. Call me,” D’Aguilar said.
There are approximately 90 managers who are waiting for the VSEP negotiation process to be finalized after declining on several occasions the proposal brought forth by Lucayan Holding Limited, the special purpose vehicle created to represent the government.
At last update, President of the Trade Union Congress, Obie Ferguson who represents the managerial staff in these discussions, told media that the amount proposed was “ridiculous and insulting” and members voted unanimously against the offer.
Yesterday, D’Aguilar said although the special purpose vehicle was created to handle the negotiations, he wanted to use his financial expertise and get a closer look at the negotiations to see where there were still conflicting interests.
“I am a financial guy, so I wanted to see specifically [the numbers] broken down by individuals,” the minister said. “Give me the spreadsheet. Let me work it. Let me see whether we’re addressing all the particular concerns.
“So yes, I have immersed myself into the weeds of the negotiation and you know I was under the impression that we were making good progress and I don’t know what strategy they’re pulling, what’s going on, but we’ll wait and see.
“But I want the employees in Grand Bahama to know that their representatives in Grand Bahama are not saying anything to me. The ball is firmly in their court.”