The delegation included Permanent Secretary for the Premier’s Office, Mr. Brodrick Penn, Deputy Secretary in the Premier Office, Mrs. Geraldine Ritter- Freeman, Labour Commissioner, Mrs. Janice Rymer, Territorial at Large Representative Elect, Mr. Archibald Christian, Ninth District Representative Elect, Mr. Hubert O’Neal, Director of the BVI Tourist Board, Mrs. Sharon Flax -Mars and Help Desk Coordinator, Mr. Albert Wheatley.
In his remarks to the workers, Premier Smith stated that he was disheartened that the property has closed and that employees jobs were made redundant. He reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to providing support to the workers.
The Premier said that the Government remains committed to doing everything possible to assist with the transitioning of any of the workers to other employment opportunities.
He said “We already are in conversations with several hotels who have indicated the potential for several dozen positions to be filled.”
Premier Smith told the workers that the Labour and Immigration Departments have been asked to provide special assistance to affected employees both in processing permits and transfers as well as in Immigration time.
“I am optimistic that we can find a way to re-open the property and we are working with resort owners, through their local representative to explore all avenues to do just that,” The Premier said.
Premier Smith further added that a Help Desk was established to provide personal assistance to all affected employees. The desk is facilitated by Human Resource Specialist, Mr. Albert Wheatley who will serve in the capacity as liaison between the workers and the Government.
The Help Desk was also introduced to coordinate opportunities that arise for new employment as well as held handle other queries and concerns. This will be done in conjunction with the Labour department.
The Help Desk is located at the Flax’s Building at the Government Administration Complex on Virgin Gorda and will be operational from Monday through Fridayfrom 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or as needed. Help Desk Coordinator, Mr. Albert Wheatley can be contacted via telephone at 468-6598.
The delegation also engaged in open dialogue and candid discussions with the workers, who were given the opportunity to share their concerns and comments. Among other issues raised where questions in relation to severance, operations at the hotel and new opportunities.
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to broadening and deepening the economy so that as these inevitable circumstances arise workers are absorbed seamlessly into a stronger economy. [Source: GIS]