Former Pelican workers get little attention during Great Bay demonstration

POSTED: 01/13/12 11:55 AM

St. Maarten – A group of former employees of what is now Simpson Bay Resort and Marina and the Villas at Simpson Bay Resort and Marina held a peaceful stand about at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort on Thursday. They went there hoping to raise awareness of their plight and the fact that Jules James of the St. Maarten delegation, who is also Managing Director of the Simpson Bay Resort Owner Company and Simpson Bay Resort Management Company, is the reason why they lost their jobs.

First Vice President of the Windward Islands Chamber of Labor Unions Claire Elshot was also present at the stand about and helped the employees plead their case to several MPs from a variety of delegations. Elshot was standing in for President of the Workers Institute for Organized Labor (Wifol) Theophilus Thompson who was meeting with the union’s attorneys to discuss options.

Police made sure that security stayed tight while the demonstrators stood about. When the delegations walked out of Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel and boarded the bus for the harbor the police formed a human wall to keep the demonstrators and MPs apart. Many of the MPs, James included, did not even stop as they proceeded on their way.

Thursday’s stand about comes a day after Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labor Cornelius de Weever said he was happy with a letter he received from the management of Simpson Bay Resort, in which they give an exclusive seven day offer to 92 former Pelican workers for them to apply for employment.

“I understand the role of the unions, but while others grandstand the workers must survive. As minister I must find a balance between business and employees. I am happy with the letter I received from Simpson Bay Resort Management Company and I hope this will be resolved with time,” de Weever said.

Dismissal request

The minister also said on Wednesday that he was unsure of the status of a conditional request to dismiss 49 employees. He also asserted that a miscommunication is what has led to the delay in a decision on the request.

“I’ve seen it myself and there doesn’t seem to be any information gaps and if there is I’m sure the department, if it hasn’t already done so, will send a request for the rest of the information,” de Weever said.

The minister added that ambiguity over which company is responsible for paying out the employees has also delayed the handling.

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