Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE led a delegation of Government officials to Virgin Gorda on Wednesday and met with the employees of Rosewood Little Dix Bay.
The delegation was comprised of Ministers, Ninth District Representative Dr. the Honourable Hubert O’Neal, Permanent Secretaries from the Premier’s Office and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, heads of the Labour and Immigration departments, the Chairman of the BVI Tourist Board, and other support staff.
Premier Smith stated that while he was saddened with the 18 month closure for renovations, he was advised that it was important to renovate the hotel in order to remain competitive, and in so doing, keep the BVI at the forefront of Caribbean tourism.
The Premier said “Little Dix Bay has been the flagship property in the tourism business for the BVI for quite a long time, and many of the resort’s employees have been a part of that success for Little Dix Bay over the years. I want to publicly thank these workers for their contribution to the BVI tourism industry while working at Little Dix Bay.”
He reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to providing support to the employees, and doing everything possible to assist with their transition into other employment opportunities.
The delegation also engaged in open dialogue and candid discussions with the employees, who were given the opportunity to share their concerns and comments. Among issues raised were questions in relation to severance, new employment opportunities and government assistance.
Premier Smith told the workers that the Labour and Immigration Departments have been asked to provide special assistance to affected employees both in the processing of permits and transfers as well as in immigration time.
The Premier added that he is indeed heartened that some members of the BVI business community and other tourism industry partners have already reached out to assist with providing new opportunities for the affected employees. He is encouraging the rest of the BVI business community to do the same.
“The employees were happy that we were able to have a discourse with them. We were happy to have met with them and we will continue to hold Little Dix Bay accountable for all promises made,” Premier Smith said.
A Help Desk will be established to provide personal assistance to all affected employees. The desk will be facilitated by Human Resource Specialist, Mr. Albert Wheatley who will serve in the capacity as liaison between the workers and the Government. It will coordinate opportunities that arise for new employment as well as handle other queries and concerns. This will be done in conjunction with the Labour Department.
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to broadening and deepening the economy so that as these inevitable circumstances arise workers are absorbed seamlessly into a stronger economy.