By Mellica McPherson-Ganda
With guests around the property, one would assume that it was business as usual at the Rosewood Little Dix Bay Resort at first glance, but a closer look at the number of the establishment’s employees in cue for the job fair held on 6 April brought the point home that the 18 months closure is still looming.
It was a bitter sweet atmosphere as the staff walked over to the various tables to discuss employment prospects with some 62 businesses that included resorts, hotels, restaurants, trust companies and many other firms inclusive of supermarkets, telephone companies, and insurance companies.
Junior Minister of Tourism, and At Large Representative, Hon. Archibald Christian told the staff that they were embarking on a new journey and that many of the companies wanted to employ days and weeks before.
Ninth District Representative, Dr. the Hon. Hubert O’Neal said that the announcement of the closure came as a blow to not only the employees but the residents of Virgin Gorda. He said “as Virgin Gordian it was a personal thing.”
He told the staff: “it is not going to be as bad as you imagine. Opportunities will arise even during construction.” He admonished the employees to use the opportunity to retrain themselves to be the five star hospitality providers they are.
In an interview Edward Linsley, Managing Director of the Rosewood Little Dix Resort explained that only a fraction of the establishment’s 330 employees will be seeking employment.
He said that some of the staff that were with the company for decades retired; while the expatriate employees from the Caribbean will be returning home. He said that the contractor informed that 100 jobs will be created and that some of the employees will be able to take advantage of those jobs.
A small percentage of the employees will be retained to oversee the construction and to maintain the property that belongs to the Resorts Home Owners Association.
Although the doors are expected to close on 30 April, Mr. Linsley stated that things are extremely business at the Resort as some of the loyal customers wanted to come back one last time.
The construction will entail renovating all of the guest rooms and restaurant. However, he said that the historical feature of the Pavillion restaurant will remain the same. Though, the interior will get needed change. The management explained that most of the work on the property will be infrastructural.
He said that once the construction begins the promotion and marketing will continue: “We want to keep the word out of course once we open we want to ensure that we have accumulated reservations so we want to ensure that we are marketing throughout the whole time globally and locally so that…once we do open we have business to start us off.”
In reference to the planned grand reopening the Managing Director explained that anyone who knows the property and has worked there will get the first interviews: “Once we start getting ready for the reopening we are going to be bringing in people for hospitality training, service training. We really want to make this an ultra-luxury hotel and we’ll be doing intensive training as we get closer,” he stated.