Hotel Chairman allays employees’ fears

MICHAEL SCOTT, Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas Chairman

Hotel Corporation of The Bahama Chairman, Michael Scott, assured Grand Lucayan employees yesterday, “there is no need to fear, there is no need to panic,” as he sought to allay workers fear over today’s transactions.

Scott, in a telephone interview with The Freeport News Monday (September 10) evening, confirmed that Lucaya Renewal Holdings Limited (government company) will be taking control of the hotel operations today – Tuesday, September 11.

“We are taking over control of operation tomorrow – September 11. However, the actual completion and transfer of ownership from Hutchison Lucaya Limited to Lucaya Renewal Holdings Limited occur on September 21, 2018, after the House of Assembly gives its affirmation resolution to the issue of a guarantee in favor of the financing of the acquisition package,” Scott disclosed.

“What it means for the employees is business continues as before. In other words, it will be a seamless transition from the operation and control of Hutchison, to the operation and management by the new company, which is being overseen by myself as chairman and a team of professional directors.

“I am a lawyer, but some of whom (directors) are in the hotel industry. For example, Russell Miller, who is managing director of Atlantis Paradise Island … some lawyers, some accountants, like the treasurer director of the group Ed Rahming, who is a Forensic Accountant. Then there is Linda Turnquest, who is with the Grand Bahama Shipyard.

“And so, you’ve got a fairly experienced cross section or broad spectrum of private-sector professionals, who are helping with the transition not only in the ownership, but in the stabilization of this product to repair and hopefully restructuring, and preparation for marketing and promotion for a new investor or new investor group to reboot and revitalize the Port Lucaya micro-economy in Freeport,” said Scott.

Reiterating that the transition will be as seamless as possible, Scott stated that the employees’ compliment at the hotel will in no way be prejudiced.

“All of the employees are being continued. Some will ultimately opt for a retirement package, and that will be paid out, as such will be worked out by management and the union in accordance with the law. But no one will be prejudiced or short changed.”

He noted that some employees may wish to and in conjunction with and in agreement with management continue on with the operations and hopefully, be subsumed into whatever new development takes over the operations with a new investment team or a new investor that comes and takes over the hotel.
However, he alluded, that will be the employee’s decision.

Meanwhile, Scott and his team are expected to travel to Grand Bahama on Wednesday, September 12 to meet with employees and the union, oversee and get briefed on the operations and inspect the mechanics of the transition.

“But there is no need for employees to worry, everybody should breathe easy. This is not a time for panic, not a time to be stressed, this is hopefully … we’ve crossed the threshold, and this is an opportunity for the dawn of a new era in Freeport. New thinking, new vision and the end of ownership which really did not represent the maximization of what the Port Lucaya area had to offer in terms of the Freeport economy,” said Scott.

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