Workers relieved

“We have to pull together, we cannot be divided. We have suffered for too long and I thank the government from the bottom of my heart for what they have done.” ~ Michelle Dorsett CUHSAW, President

The meeting with Commonwealth Union of Hotel Services and Allied Workers (CUHSAW) executives and Bahamas Hotel Corporation Chairman, Michael Scott, and his team was described as “awesome.”

President of the Commonwealth Union of Hotel Services and Allied Workers (CUHSAW), Michelle Dorsett, spoke with this daily following Wednesday’s (September 12) meeting, noting that it was quite eventful and a breath of fresh air for the union and line staff employees of the Grand Lucayan Resort.

“God is an awesome God. In all things we must put Him first. On top of that you must have faith; faith is so important, not just talking it but walking and believing in it.

“Today was an awesome day. The trials and tribulations that we went through for the past years with Hutchison, today was a breathing day of the doors being open. The workers can be relaxed and free. I can now see a change in the top executive and top management posts.

“Mr. Scott did a marvelous job in introducing his team, in introducing himself and saying that he is straight up; he has nothing to hide; just like Mr. Kwasi Thompson and the government officials. They never had us on a blind slide, they have always been straight up with us and today, Scott’s presentation, I must say, was great,” said Dorsett.

“He and his executive team met with us – myself, our lawyer (Pleasant Bridgewater) along with our executive team, it was tremendous. It was really warming and respectful, acknowledging us. We have not had that for years. Today Mr. Scott and his team, we welcomed them and applaud them. Like he told us, they expect the work to carry on and (for us) to help them.

“I want the public to understand that they had to do what they had to do, because there was a lot of an undermining action; a lot of things were going on at the hotel that they did not know. There were things going on behind our beloved government. I work there and there were some things going on and some people need to be held accountable,” Dorsett claimed.

Noting that Scott alluding to forging an amicable relationship with the line staff, the union boss was questioned on whether or not she was optimistic about the relationship. “You can see it, today, on the faces of the line staff. They feel relieved, their faces are shining; God is awesome. This is what we have been working on for years, it is finally coming to light. We are crying tears of joy, honestly speaking,” “We have to pull together, we cannot be divided. We have suffered for too long and I thank the government from the bottom of my heart for what they have done.”

Dorsett responded.

Lucaya Renewal Holdings Limited assumed control of the hotel operations, on September 11, Dorsett was asked how hopeful she was on the government’s acquisition of the property and what it would mean for the line staff workers. “I am hopeful, first of all, that a suitable team will be brought in to manage the hotel. And once they have that everything should be in place, where we should do what we are supposed to do and, where we can sit down and discuss things as simple as our gratuities, where we can sit down with a committee to discuss what should be paid out, having a backup sheet and how it should be spread out, not having people feel like doing what they want to do.

“Secondly, to also assist in the atmosphere of the hotel, encouraging church members, teachers, neighbors and others to return the hotel to what it used to be with local guests. When business is slow the locals used the hotel. An important thing is to bring the locals back into the hotel, to make them feel like kings and queens as well.

“I believe that a lot of things are going to happen for this island for all workers – taxi drivers, straw vendors – where everyone can get a piece of the pie and feel much better,” Dorsett said.

With regard to the government’s purchase of the resort, Dorsett had this to say, “the Government of The Bahamas, the leader Dr. Hubert Minnis and his team – I am very, very thankful to them. There are so many things that I would like to say, but God is awesome. He will bless them and bless this government regardless of all of the criticism, they are going to rise.

“We are also taxpayers, but we are Bahamians first; so, we carry the burden along with us. I truly thank them, our prime minister; our Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest, especially Min. Kwasi Thompson (Minister of State for GB in the Office of the Prime Minister); Sen. Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour; Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism – they all engaged with my team and our lawyer, Pleasant Bridgewater.

“I appreciate them so much. They were welcoming and understanding, putting our situation on the table, from day one. I thank our prime minister so much, he is a godly man and he and his team are blessed and will be anointed. This move they made is historical!” Dorsett stated.

The union chief also thanked all of her supporters, especially her immediate family, as well as the media for understanding their struggles.

“We have to pull together, we cannot be divided. We have suffered for too long and I thank the government from the bottom of my heart for what they have done.

“I have to also thank the public, – all over the Commonwealth – for understanding, holding hands with us and praying. Nothing in life is a quick fix; everything is a struggle, but you have to buckle up, suit yourself up and set where you want to go,” concluded Dorsett.

Bethsheba Russell, a CUHSAW member expressed similar sentiments as the president, “The meeting was excellent, it was very fruitful and I was very pleased with the outcome. I can speak for almost all of my colleagues, we were very pleased with the outcome.”

She was questioned on what was discussed, Russell replied, “At the end of the day, long standing owed monies were discussed … that they are finally willing to reward us with and so I am very happy about that.”

Russell noted that she is hopeful that the property will bloom under the government’s management. “Yes, unlike with the Memories and even the Princess Hotel, the government cannot just up and leave us. We actually feel more secure with the government acquiring the properties. I am very happy about that.”
CUHSAW Member Shankia Griffin expressed, “Today’s meeting was excellent. I am more than pleased and more than happy.”

Questioned whether or not Scott was forthcoming with information as it relates to the government’s acquisition of the hotel and the Hotel Corporation’s intentions with respect to the employees, she responded, “Yes, he was very clear and forthcoming with the information. It basically put every employee at ease, because it cleared up a lot of misconceptions that we were being told before.”

She continued that Scott was open and transparent with the information that he relayed. “I am more than pleased; I cannot wait (for what is to come).”

Griffin has been an employee with the Grand Lucayan Resort for the past 16 years.

This daily was unable to speak with Scott following the meeting, as he had to return to the capital immediately after. However, The Freeport News will reach out to the Hotel Chairman for an update.

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