Freeport News sacks 12 staff as GB faces COVID-19 “double jeopardy”

Freeport News sacks 12 staff as GB faces COVID-19 “double jeopardy”
Fred Sturrup, General Manager/Managing Editor of The Freeport News (photo credit: Freeport News)

General Manager says many GB companies in ‘distress’

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Freeport News has fired 12 employees in a downsizing exercise forced by the COVID-19 shutdown.

General Manager Fred Sturrup said said the island was now facing “double jeopardy” as the number of confirmed cases of the virus continue to climb, and businesses struggle to cover expenses.

“We have downsized,” Sturrup, who also serves as Managing Editor said.

“I can tell you that we downsized under the circumstances ongoing with coronavirus, especially that here in Grand Bahama we’re facing double jeopardy.

“We are still dealing with effects of Hurricane Dorian and still trying to cope with recovering. Then, here comes coronavirus. It’s a terrible situation. A lot of the companies are in a lot of distress financially having to cover salaries and the rest of it.

“You have to make some adjustments,” he said.

Sturrup was asked if the layoffs were temporary.

“We made no guarantees,” he said.

“We are unable to do that under the circumstances.”

Grand Bahama was devastated by Hurricane Dorian, and remains in recovery mode six months after the monster storm raked the northern Bahamas in early September.

Much of the daily newspaper’s physical infrastructure was severely compromised during the Category 5 storm.

As a result, the daily newspaper reduced publications to twice a week on Monday and Thursday. The papers were printed at its sister company The Nassau Guardian and flown over, Sturrup said.

“Of course with the coronavirus, no planes are flying in,” he said.

He added the Freeport News will continue to publish news content on its website.