“We want to hear about our money, nothing else” Announcement resignation Jules James upsets employees

POSTED: 05/7/12 1:23 PM

SIMPSON BAY-Managing Director of the Simpson Bay Resort Jules James announced on Thursday his intention to vacate the helm of the embattled company. The announcement was made to a group of approximately 30 resort employees, who were summoned to an emergency meeting at around 3:45 pm in the sales office.

(For James statement about his resignation, see story on Page 3).

The meeting lasted a mere three minutes with James saying that he would now use the opportunity as a United People’s Party parliamentarian to effectively function for the remaining two years of his term. Most of the employees expressed disgust at the announcement, although many of them were visibly shocked. When one employee asked James the reason for his departure at this time, he tersely replied, “Because I choose to.” He would not entertain any questions on whether the resort would comply with the Court’s ruling to have previously sacked employees reimbursed for their years of service. He simply said that the company’s lawyers were engaged in dealing with the situation. James did not indicate whether his resignation was with immediate effect and it is unclear who will succeed him. Employees also sought clarification on this to which James responded “I don’t know.”

Employees said that they were peeved that no mention was made of their retroactive payments, with many of them voicing their concerns even in the presence of management personnel. “Why did he only decide to resign now? After he has made all the mess already, he comes speaking meekly. We want to hear about our money, nothing else,” one irate woman said.

James began the meeting on a cordial note informing employees that they would be able to benefit from an upcoming online course and encouraged them to remain faithful despite a decrease in the room occupancy. He then proceeded to thank the workers for their years of service before revealing that he had tendered his resignation. “He shocked us. He just spoke so calmly about it and looked so pleasant,” a senior staff member confided.

Immediately following his announcement, James exited the premises embracing a few of the employees in the process. One of them was a Pelican housekeeping staff that, after 13 years of service, was terminated because she refused to sign a one year contract under the new Simpson Bay Resort management company. She said that when she was told that an employee meeting was called, she immediately made her way to the resort. However upon arriving at the premises, she was barred from entering the meeting. “I came here just to get my payout for my years of service not to hear that he is leaving. They have already done all that they wanted to do and they are still fighting us with appeal after appeal. But my God told me that he will never leave me or forsake me.”

Many of the unionized workers after the meeting expressed disappointment that they were not given the opportunity to ask more pointed questions. “All we can do now is wait and see what they will do when payday comes,” one of the maintenance staff concluded. That day is expected to be on Thursday May 10, 2012.

Ernest Wyatte has been working at the resort for the past 24 years.  He said that during his tenure he has seen many managers come and go, but never has someone faced as someone been at the center of such negativity as James. “I just feel they should live up to their responsibility. I worked for my money and I would like to have it. That’s all that I am concerned about. You have a lot of people outside that lost their jobs and have mortgages to pay now. Some of them are about to lose their house.”

A resort guest said that she empathized with the workers plight. “It is a shameful thing for us an island. But I do believe that they made it get out of hand. No one expected a group of small workers to stand up to a big company. You got a 200 million resort for 30.1 million, they stole a resort. With such a bargain I believe they could have paid the workers. Why did they allow it to come this far?”

“They are saying that they prefer to close the resort than pay us out. It’s all about greed. I guess that is why he (James) decided to resign now, so that if the resort has to close he wouldn’t be in the middle of it,” a contract worker said.

Today Newspaper understands that the resort has already secured an appeal date in June for the most recent verdict. “It took more than 7 months to get our appeal but they have gotten a speedy one,” a Wifol member opined. Earlier in the day, the resort was rumored to have held a meeting with the St.Maarten Timeshare Association, the outcome of which is unknown.

“He is operating like a real circus clown, we all know that this just damage control. But it is too little too late. If they close we are going to champion government to take their license,” the disgruntled employees said.

James joined the resort in 2008 as general manager of then Pelican Resort which was bought by the Royal Resorts chain and rebranded Simpson Bay Resort.

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