President of the Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association Obie Ferguson suggested yesterday that managerial staff at the Grand Lucayan resort may get their voluntary separation packages (VSEPs) as soon as next week.
The government purchased the Grand Bahama based resort last year for $65 million with $30 million paid upfront. It is expected to handle separation packages for the 91 managers who applied for VSEPs.
Negotiations between the managerial staff and Lucayan Renewal Holdings, the government’s special purpose vehicle charged with preparing the resort for sale, have been contentious in recent months.
When asked if the payouts would be paid by early next week, Ferguson said, “That’s the approach that I’m going [with] in this. …Just my cursory glance of it suggests there’s a basis for a resolution in short order.”
He added: “…There’s some way we can bring it to some satisfactory resolution.”
Ferguson was expected to meet with Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday at 3:30 p.m. in an attempt to bring a resolution to the negotiations.
Earlier this week, D’Aguilar said Ferguson had suddenly “gone silent” with regard to the ongoing negotiations.
Responding to the minister’s claims, Ferguson said, “I got from the minister this morning, he sent me what he promised me, which caused me to have been silent. I was waiting for a ‘modification’, he called it, of the offer. I received it this morning.”
He added: “But, I think from what I’ve seen, all indications are we’re not far apart in resolving. I want the record to show that I don’t respond to nonsense, you see. I’m not that kind of guy.
“If you tell me I must wait for a week or whatever, I [will] wait, but because I wait you’re going to tell me that I’m being like I’m ducking. How could I be ducking when I’m trying to look after the worker? That’s my whole purpose.”
Last month, it was revealed that negotiations had reached an impasse.
Ferguson has said the managers were seeking roughly $5 million.
However, Lucayan Renewal Holdings Chairman Michael Scott has maintained that the board will not exceed its $3.2 million offer.