“Finally…Finally…Finally”, the words of a former Jolly Beach worker who said he has spent nights and days hoping that he would be paid the monies owed to him.
The man who prefers to remain anonymous has been a kitchen staff at the hotel for many years and is a father of three.
He said when Jolly Beach closed its doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, his finances took a turn for the worst. The man said although he continued to operate a mobile snackette, “it just wasn’t enough to make ends meet at the end of the day”.
Jolly Beach workers have been on the breadline since 2020 and for the past two years it looked like their severance and vacation pay would not be forthcoming
But a deal between the government and Elite Island Resorts saw US$6 million being pumped into the reopening of the project to enable the renovation of rooms and allowed for the severance payments to former staff. In exchange, Elite will manage and market the resort for up to five years and share the profits with the government.
“Do you know the kind of horror stories that our staff has been revealing to each other over that period? Mortgages are behind. Some people got other jobs but others are living from hand to mouth,” the former Jolly Beach workers told Antigua.news
The ABWU will begin its distribution of cheques representing severance, vacation, thrift fund and back pay from Thursday.
The housekeeping department can collect payments from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, while those who worked in the kitchen department can collect their payment between 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm. 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm has been allocated for dining room staff.
And on Friday, the following day, former security and water sports, ground and maintenance department can collect their money from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm: while the front office, entertainment, and all other departments can collect between 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm,
The former staff are asked to bring along a valid government issues ID. The ABUW says it will not be issuing payments with a valid ID
For those who are unable to collect and are desirous of having others collect on their behalf, the ABWU says a notarized letter with a valid ID of the person collecting on their behalf must be presented.
Set on a 40-acre property, Jolly Beach is Antigua’s largest resort, with 464 rooms, with each room boasting either a private balcony or terraces across five different room categories.
Amenities include three eateries, three bars, two pools, a spa, a fitness center, tennis courts, and a volleyball court.
It was once and is expected to remain a crucial player in the tourism product being one of few places offering affordable accommodation to budget travelers.