Give hotel workers severance pay

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my concern for the economic welfare of the constituents in the Pinewood Gardens community.

My constituency is made up of over 40 percent of people employed in the tourism industry, particularly the hotel sector.

It is becoming an increasing concern in regards to the state of limbo many hotel workers are in now as the major hotels seem unprepared to pay severance packages and the industry does not look to have a jolt of life until October 15, but this seems unreliable as major hotels are contradicting this message in the press.

The government needs to hold these major institutions to the letter of the law. It is at this time that the hotels pay employees their severance packages as now most employees were receiving an allowance during this pandemic.

The residents of Pinewood have been fair players in our country who have done everything according to the law and now need the law to have their side.

After 13 weeks, there needs to be some clarity for Bahamians. These individuals need to have the capacity to chart their own course, made redundant and given their packages. How long do the residents of Pinewood have to suffer through this plantation model?

Our people need a voice and I would like for you to allow their voices to be heard.

The minister of finance has told people to be creative in managing their finances during this pandemic. How are we to be creative with our hands and feet shackled to the plantation?

How can the hotels open when we have laws that arrest tourists instead of giving citations for infractions such as face mask wearing and curfew violations?

How does The Bahamas compete with other tourist destinations that have adopted a model for the tourism dollar to flow?

This is not a favorable situation for anyone to be in. There needs to be a clear and consistent message coming from the government and stakeholders in regards to the future of the hotel industry.

In our country we have given the hotels major concessions to do business in The Bahamas.

Is this how Bahamians will be valued during this time when we need to lean on each other to pull through?

At this time it is beneficial for Bahamians to have the ability to lean on these organizations for financial prudence rather than the organizations social distancing from severance packages.

The Bahamas has made way for them to profit from our assets of sun, sand, sea, and hospitality.

What is left for our people to do if they can’t depend on the protectors of our sovereignty to simply enforce their laws?

I am not advocating for people to lose their jobs; I am advocating for a clear message to Bahamians on their future and to respect the financial crisis that we would soon find ourselves in — $150 a week with mortgages accruing, no sound financial advice on how to use the money that was coming in to improve their situation, i.e, crowd funding opportunities.

My opinion, give the hotel workers money that is due to them, hire them back to work when the hotels are ready.

– Jerad A. Darville

 Aspirant candidate for Pinewood constituency

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