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ABWU to expedite payment of former Jolly Beach workers

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The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union will begin expediting the payment of severance to former employees of Jolly Beach Resort this week.

The bargaining agent said it was in receipt of a cheque handed over on Friday by the law firm Lake, Kentish and Bennett Inc. that will cover the outstanding amount owed to approximately 500 people who worked in various positions at the hotel before it ceased operations.

A schedule will be published to explain the process that the former workers will have to follow to receive their share of the funds.

Last month, the government indicated that the money allocated for the ex-Jolly Beach workers had been placed in an escrow account several weeks ago.

On Friday, however, Chester Hughes, deputy general secretary of the ABWU, repeated his earlier accusation that Prime Minister Gaston Browne had been untruthful about when the money had been handed over.

The government set the record straight when it issued a statement revealing that, a cheque by Government, made payable to the law firm appointed by the court, in the amount of EC$12.9 million, was handed over to the firm weeks ago, in full settlement of the payments due to former Jolly Beach workers.

The government’s statement claimed that it was the ABWU who was responsible for the delayed severance payments as they were attempting to include ineligible former workers.

Jolly Beach Resort closed its doors in 2020. Since then, the former employees have been seeking compensation.

The resort’s former owners were incapable of paying the workers upon the resort’s closure and there were other issues, according to Prime Minister Browne, with misused thrift fund contributions that were also due to the staff.

To provide relief, the government was successful in acquiring the US$30 million necessary to purchase the property, which paved the way for the workers to be paid.

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