CHARLESTOWN, Nevis - AS if the pandemic was not bad enough, a total of 280 employees were yesterday (Oct. 15) placed on the breadline when the largest private employer in Nevis, the Four Seasons Resort, severed ties with its staff.
The cut was reportedly made due to the loss of business resulting from the delay in reopening of the borders.
Nevis’ Premier and Minister of Finance, Mark Brantley in a statement lamented that the Resort has been forced to restructure its operations and now requires “only the minimum staff members necessary to support significantly reduced occupancy levels”.
The workers are entitled to all benefits and payments owed to them, the Premier noted, adding that affected persons could collect their payment between October 19-23 as advised by the Resort.
“This news was expected but is nevertheless tragic news for our island and yet another harsh reminder of the carnage caused to our economy by this COVID-19 pandemic, which has destroyed economies globally,” the Premier reminded.
Brantley assured the affected workers that the Nevis Island Administration would work closely with the Federal Government to ensure that their full severance and other benefits accrued are paid.
“We are also committed to partnering with affected workers and their families to do all that we can to assist them in this difficult period for them and for our island home.
“My Government looks forward to the reopening of our borders on October 31, 2020 and the gradual reopening of our hotel sector, and will continue to engage in an aggressive marketing campaign to attract business to our island,” the Premier added.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ borders have remained closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, forcing hotels and tourism-based organisations to either terminate their staff or furlough them all together.
The Government has been providing financial assistance through the Social Security Administration to affected workers in the tourism sector.
Premier Brantley reiterated his pledge to the people of Nevis that the Government would not neglect the people of the island.
“As Premier, I give my solemn pledge that we shall not allow COVID-19 to defeat us. This pandemic has been a health crisis and has now become a full-blown economic crisis. But as a Government that has always put our people front and center of our decision making, I assure each and every affected worker that my Government shall not abandon you in this period of difficulty. Our island has thus far endured the brunt of this crisis and are still standing. We have done so with the grace of God and the excellent leadership of our COVID-19 Task Force, which has guided us exceptionally well thus far.”