By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
WHILE job security remains uncertain for the more than 2,000 Bahamians employed at Baha Mar, an Atlantis executive said the resort would consider hiring staff of the $3.5bn project based on its needs.
Ed Fields, Atlantis’ senior vice-president of public affairs, told The Tribune yesterday that the Baha Mar employees will be subject to the normal hiring process regardless of whether they were former Kerzner International workers who resigned to seek opportunities at the Cable Beach property.
“We would have to look at each person on a case-by-case basis,” Mr Fields said when contacted by The Tribune, “and a decision would be determined by our needs.
“Anyone who was employed with Atlantis and left for employment at Baha Mar or any other hotel would be subject to the normal hiring process.
“There is no policy (that prohibits employment with us under such circumstances). We have a normal process and they are hired based on needs.”
More than 2,000 Baha Mar workers were on Monday told to stay at home and not report to work until further notice as the mega-resort pledged to pay salaries and benefits for the next three weeks until it begins court hearings on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy claim.
In a letter to employees, Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian revealed that while the resort and its affiliates have requested court authorisation to continue payroll obligations – which average $7.5m per month – it is unclear whether it will be able to reach an acceptable agreement with its lender.
Mr Izmirlian explained that if such an agreement cannot be met, the cash-strapped resort would be pushed to make “extremely difficult decisions” that include reductions to its workforce.
However, he urged Baha Mar “citizens” not to give up in the face of repeated opening delays that he said were caused by the general contractor, China Construction America, and the resulting loss of revenue that put the project on the path to declaring bankruptcy.