NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday accused the government of being too passive with hotels that will remain closed or severe employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Davis insisted that those hotels must be reminded that they’ve been given concessions to protect the jobs of Bahamians.
“People don’t know how they’re going to pay the rent or the mortgage, or how they’re going to keep the lights on,” he said, during a press conference that the PLP headquarters.
“And yet the government stands by passively while people with decades of service at hotels in this country are being sent onto and into poverty.
“The government should not sit idly by and do nothing.
“The hotels must understand that after all the tax concessions they have been given, they have a wider moral obligation to these workers and this society.”
Baha Mar began its first wave of firings this week as it seeks to reduce its staff count of around 6,000 employees by 20 percent.
According to sources, 1,200 employees will be laid off in this first wave.
Atlantis will push it reopening to July 30 due to the “dramatic increase” in coronavirus cases in the United States – which represents 82 percent of The Bahamas’ foreign visitors.
Davis noted yesterday that the government must take a particular stand with the Paradise Island resort, pointing to reports that contract workers are being employed over Bahamians.
“The government has to get engaged with these hotel owners and managers to see how they can protect the jobs of these workers,” he continued.
“That’s what I’d be doing. I’d be pointing out to them, you are what you are, the government continues to provide these concessions to these hotels, those concessions amount to millions of dollars.
“We give you concessions for the protection of our workers and to ensure the security of their jobs.
“We appreciate that there is no income coming in, but we also have to appreciate that you still rely on our concessions and we need our people to continue to work.”
The country reopened its borders to international flights yesterday, however, there is still a 10pm to 5am curfew in effect.