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Director Of Labour Concerned At Job Losses

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunmedia.net

DIRECTOR of Labour Robert Farquharson yesterday said the termination of 2,000 people from the stalled Bah Mar resort is a “tremendously concerning” issue that will affect the country’s unemployment rate, which stood at a staggering 14 per cent before the mass layoffs.

Mr Farquharson said that while officials were “disappointed” that Baha Mar’s former workers are now on the unemployment line, those affected should ensure they register with the department to solidify receiving unemployment benefits from the National Insurance Board (NIB).

This comes as the employees were expected to receive their final salary payment yesterday, which was not to include redundancy or severance pay.

So far, Mr Farquharson said an estimated 150 of the resort’s terminated workers have registered with the department.

The remaining employees should either visit the Labour Department in the Clarence A Bain Building or its office on Robinson Road for registration, as failing to do so will prevent them from receiving unemployment benefits from NIB, Mr Farquharson said.

The department also expects to assist the workers in finding alternative employment options, he told The Tribune.

To register, people are asked to bring a resumé, government issued identification and their NIB card.

“I can tell you that we are tremendously concerned that 2,000 people have now been added to the unemployment (line) as a result of Baha Mar being unable to open,” Mr Farquharson said. “We are talking about a figure that will have an effect on the 14 per cent unemployment rate.

“Beginning from last Friday and then again today around 150 of the workers came in to the department to exercise their right to apply for NIB’s unemployment benefits.

“We are really urging the workers to come in and register as this will ensure they can get NIB unemployment and make them eligible in getting assistance from us in finding jobs until the hotel is opened and they can rehire them.”

He said additional staff was brought in to assist in the workload that is expected to increase this week.

Justice Ian Winder, in the Supreme Court on Thursday, granted Baha Mar’s joint provisional liquidators the approval to make 2,020 of the resort’s employees redundant.

The decision affected approximately 1,440 non-active employees and approximately 580 active employees, including members of management and line staff, but did not affect the Melià Nassau Beach Resort.

Bahamas-based KRyS Global and UK-based AlixPartners, the joint provisional liquidators, said the layoffs were due to the financial insolvency of the $3.5 billion resort project that has been stalled since June 29.

On June 29, Baha Mar and 14 of its affiliated companies filed for bankruptcy in a Delaware court, blaming the resort’s contractor, China Construction America (CCA), for the construction delays that caused it to miss previous opening deadlines. However, the bankruptcy claims for Baha Mar’s Bahamian-based companies were later thrown out of the US court.

In reaction to the bankruptcy filing, the government filed a winding up petition against Baha Mar in the Supreme Court. The court later approved the appointed of the joint provisional liquidators.

A Supreme Court hearing on the winding up petition is scheduled for next month.

Comments

TruePeople 6 years, 1 month ago

They're more concerned about making the Stat seem low than actually concerned about what that stat is......... Last time i checked only Jamaica had a higher unemployment rate...... Welcome to Di Gaza

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