Property Matters – Sandals Tobago?

From the Afra Raymond blog

sandals-tobagoThe recent official statements about a proposal for a Sandals Resort in Tobago are significant, given both the convulsions in the Tourism portfolio and the urgent need to diversify our economy away from its long-term dependence on energy earnings. This is a preliminary view of some of the relevant considerations, since the sparse details now […]

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23 thoughts on “Property Matters – Sandals Tobago?

  1. President Of Union To Sue Sandals

    As of Tuesday, August 16, 2016


    Obie Ferguson


    #Tribune Staff Reporter

    #TRADE Union Congress President and attorney for the Bahamas Hotel Maintenance and Allied Workers Union Obie Ferguson said he will file a writ today in the Supreme Court on behalf of the more than 600 terminated Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort workers for “union busting” and “unfair dismissal”.

    #One day after employees were made redundant and given severance packages, Mr Ferguson told The Tribune he is seeking reinstatement for all of the terminated workers. He accused the executives at the all-inclusive, luxury resort of dismissing the workers for “being a part of a union.”

    #The resort closed on Monday to begin renovations. Officials have said the property will re-open in October.

    #Mr Ferguson also said he is “very, very” disappointed in the government for allowing “these foreigners” to come into the Bahamas and treat Bahamians like dirt. He said with a general election on the horizon, workers should support those who support them.

    #“What we are doing now, we are filing unfair dismissal for every worker who was unfairly terminated and who was terminated as a result of union activities. He (Sandals’ owner Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart) cannot be allowed to disrupt this country. We welcomed him to the Bahamas we think he should make as much money as he should but he must respect the laws of the land,” Mr Ferguson said.

    #“The employees were forced to sign a waiver but that will not affect his court action. That is illegal,” he said, repeating comments Labour Minister Shane Gibson made in the House of Assembly on Monday. “Why do I need to sign something for you to give me my money? I am entitled to that. They paid them two weeks severance, unfair dismissal requires three weeks severance and up to maximum of 18 months. They gave them six months, what happen to the other 12 months? But that’s the way they treat Bahamians. People who are not familiar will jump and say ‘that is a good deal’ but that is not a good deal. They are entitled up to 18 months will all of their benefits. What happen to the gratuity? That falls as a part of their wage. What happen to the meals? You must put them in the position they would have been in if everything had gone normal and if they were working there, what would they have gotten? That is what we are claiming, that is what they are entitled to.”

    #Mr Ferguson said he believes the government is “too slack” with foreign investors and said he is disappointment that there has been no comprehensive response from anyone in Cabinet.

    #“The government seems to allow these people to do whatever they want at whatever cost,” Mr Ferguson said.

    #“We are disappointed these people can come to the Bahamas and treat Bahamians in this fashion. I sent letters to everyone letting them know something was happening, the prime minister, the minister of labour, the minster of tourism, obviously these foreign people have more say than them. But I know one thing, election is coming and I am asking the workers, all workers of this country to support who support you. The government’s first obligation is to its citizens but these people were dismissed and we have still not got a comprehensive position from the government.”

    #On Monday, Prime Minister Perry Christie declined to speak on the Sandals matter when approached by reporters.

    #The Tribune understands that the rehiring process at the resort is already underway.

    #The repairs at Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort are expected to cost $4m with a 14-week timeline.

  2. Most managers who have to work in a union environment will tell you that most unions create intolerable inefficiencies in the workplace. Businesses exist to make money and the 9 to 5 grievance mentality gets in the way.
    I do not believe in unfettered capitalism but alternatives have to be found to the adversarial culture of unionized workplaces.
    Good for you, Butch. Fire them all and start over.

  3. In commenting here I will make this first observation

    Mark Baloney had/has a team of 50 bajans? cleaning the ABC highway and who have done an excellent job of keeping the highway, hedges and abutments is a stellar state which the government of Barbados HAS NVER BEEN ABLE O DO, WHETHER NCC OR MTW.

    With that out of the way readers should understand that I am about good service for pay, irrespective of if it is for private sector employ or government

    Mr Ferguson said “We are disappointed these people can come to the Bahamas and treat Bahamians in this fashion. I sent letters to everyone letting them know something was happening, the prime minister, the minister of labour, the minster of tourism, obviously these foreign people have more say than them. ..”

    The practice of “expatriot genuflecting” or is that expatriate? Is a serious problem in the Foreign Development Investment arena that West Indian? Governments certainly Barbados have/has always had a problem with

    Massa comes and invests in the cuntry and, with that FDI comes a serfdom and mentality that is even worse than when we were enshackled.

    When the white massa rather the non indigenous managers kick or cuff or verbally abuse the natives, like Emera did and Lime and Digicel do, there is no one to speak out because the Sir Leroy ent got no balls or the Akamis dun sell out for Galaxy phones or other enticements

    We have lost all compass and all direction and have made our pacts with the Dark One so what should be part and parcel of the agreement with the FDI facilitators is pushed into obscurity because massa done put $400 million in a hotel “so what if he kick a few uh dem, he does employ 600 uh dem niggers anyways…”

  4. Chad
    It’s all well and good for you to talk about this firing so glibly but there are those who travel and stay at these hotels and do not want to be exposed to dissatisfied employees who can get up to unsavoury shenanigans trying to spite the management.I have serious misgivings about hotels and restaurants because of what goes on behind the scenes especially when management treat staff ‘like dirt’ as the unionist said.Its wrong.

  5. @chad99999 August 18, 2016 at 7:50 PM #

    You sound like the politicians in the U.S.A. who are concerned about what paying $15.00/hrs at work places like McDonald’s would do to the profits of the millionaire owners. People like you seem determine to bring back the days of slavery.

  6. The problem with capitalism is that the combined efforts of dozens, hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of workers are often used to create fabulous wealth for a few owners and executives in a company.
    But, as any competent economist knows, if you eliminated the tiny number of people who enrich themselves from the efforts of others, and divided their wealth among the workers, those workers would be only slightly better off than before.
    In other words, we live in a world of scarcity, and we should all be trying for greater efficiency. Being distracted by the wealth of the lucky few is a waste of time and we cannot afford it. Most unions encourage destructive resentments that damage the economy and multiply the miseries of the workplace.

  7. @Chad

    Sad but true, unions no longer espouse “workers rights” as much as they pursue “union dues”

    The driving force behind most unions certainly our NUPW and BWU and our infamous Teachers Union is to feed on controversy.

    Seeking to empower their membership through adhering to and demanding skills transference and worker mobility through a concerted effort by employers to acilitate such IS NOT THE ORDER OF THE DAY.

    Imagine if Sir Cow or Baloney were encouraged to support a programme of equitable transfer of skills etc. as opposed to the token nigger like the boy in the yard who carried the 200 niggers into the sun Baloney would have known that he could not enforce national nigger day to pretend that we niggers were protesting his illegal Layers building.

    Nor could sir cow talk bout niggers with one shirt pun dem back.

    This is what equity is based on, not the posturing of national strikes and other empty actions but unfortunately we are where we are and, when fellows like Caswell go “home” it is going to be the Akannis and McDowalls who going be the leaders, Selah.

  8. @ Chad9999999
    But, as any competent economist knows, if you eliminated the tiny number of people who enrich themselves from the efforts of others, and divided their wealth among the workers, those workers would be only slightly better off than before.
    First thing…
    What the hell is a ‘competent economist’?
    what is an ‘economist’ any damn how?
    … nothing but a shiite-hound spouting 20th century dogma that has long lost its post-WW2 relevance.

    Second… you are WRONG.
    There is absolutely no reason why the ‘few’ who possess the talents to run organisations successfully should not be doing so in the interest of the overall society…
    – just like the talented Olympic sprinter does ….
    – just like the reliable refuse collector does….

    The mechanism for this is called the ‘CO-OPERATIVE’.
    This is where the organisation’s wealth belongs to the multiple members… who are ALSO the workers ….ALSO the customers….and also the regulators….ALSO the leaders…
    The ‘few leaders’ should be properly and reasonable rewarded for their talents and results…
    The workers are labouring in their own collective interests …and accumulating wealth..
    The customers are buying from themselves (and benefiting from any profits made)
    The regulators are looking after their OWN interests…

    This lotta shiite about capitalism and socialism needs to stop …REALLY!!!
    Only by refusing to utilise any type of common sense, is it possible to continue to give ANY credence to the albino-centric capitalist approach, OR to the mendicancy-supporting socialist shiite….. BOTH of which are demonstrable FAILURES where ever they have been applied.

    Cooperativism persists in this world (by BBE decree) as a clear INDITEMENT on all societies who, with this clear option available, continues to insists on, and persist with, the failed albino-centric approaches that are built on greed and selfishness…

  9. Co-operative capitalism has been tried in many places for nearly a century. It has rarely been a success.
    The first problem is that it doesn’t completely address the issue of inequality. For example, members who buy more of a co-operative’s products get more of its rebated profits, so the system still concentrates wealth, albeit to a lesser degree than unfettered capitalism.
    The biggest failing, though, is due to the fact that in co-operatives, elected board members almost always lose power and control to the executives who manage. Typically, the executives hijack the co-operative for personal gain, and run the organization like tyrants.
    In the Caribbean, our only Co-operative Republic predictably ended up a one-man show under the personal control of a man named Forbes Burnham.

  10. @ Chad9999
    That has been you weakest argument on any topic on BU so far…
    It happens to be the default argument used by those who are happy with the current system of “self-first…at any cost”

    Even LOVE, the ultimate attribute, has been the subject of numerous failures when placed into the hands of brass bowl idiots. It is overly simplistic to judge a theoretical SYSTEM, based on how it has been misused by idiots who were probably only focused on how it could be used for their own albino-centric ends in the first place…

    Your assessment of patronage refund is fundamentally flawed. Members are returned rebates based on the extent of their patronage of a cooperative. It is actually BRILLIANT equality.
    When a member spends with the coop, ideally a surplus is generated based on the markup applied.
    At the end of the year, the amount of surplus accumulated reflects the efficiency of the coop and the VOLUME of patronage. To the extent then that a large surplus is accumulated, it reflects that the original markup COULD HAVE BEEN LOWER, …and this excess markup is returned to the members IN PROPORTION TO THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO IT.
    There is NO WAY on this earth that you can conceive a better approach (Bushie tried…)

    On the question of the Coop being hijacked by employees, again you are dealing with a combination of albino-centric greed, …AND BRASS BOWL callousness on the part of members who sit back and allow their birthrights to be taken from their mouths.
    With the fundamental policy of one man -one vote, it is IMPOSSIBLE for employees to hijack a Coop without the ‘support’ of members …. and we all eventually get exactly what we deserve….

    Your final statement just reinforces the fact that the problem is not fundamentally about systems… but about albino-centricity. As Bushie said, if you handed Heaven over to a pack of jackasses, you can be assured of Hell in a VERY short time…. as Bajans are about to find out…

    • After sinking billions in eduction post Independence and enjoying the boast of being a model Black country for many years why do we lack the confidence to modify or create a system we think will benefit our people most?

  11. @ David
    …because brass bowls will be brass bowls.
    No matter how much you polish them, the best they aim for is to reflect what goes on around them. Poor self-images.

    How do we convert brass to gold….?
    That is the question….

    • It is obvious that Butch and son have concluded now is the time to invest across the Caribbean given the state of public finances. They hold a strong hand to be able to exact the most concessions and therefore pad their ROI.

  12. It would be good to see an economist/brain in the Caribbean attempt to argue that these exclusive resorts is a new ‘colonization’ or a reincarnation of the ‘apartheid’ system of SA.

    I lack the brain power to take it any farther, but the parallels are there.

  13. David and his fellow revolutionaries should be chastened by the results of the Grenada Experiment of 1979-1983, which was run by two relatively well-educated Grenadines — a former university lecturer (Bernard Coard) and a lawyer who had the benefit of living in both Aruba and the UK.
    It was a disastrous story of torture and murder that culminated in a firing squad for most of the top leaders. Grenada is still recovering from those four years — more than two decades later.

  14. Bush Tea is so blind to the faults of the co-operative system that no empirical arguments can persuade him.
    He does not understand that in any large co-operative, the executives in top management become far more evolved and sophisticated than the board members who are supposed to exercise oversight responsibilities over the organization. Why? Because top executives have the most demanding and complicated jobs. So they have the most education, the most credentials, and the experience gained from performing their day to day functions puts them in a different league than their board members, who soon become intimidated and outsmarted by their globe-trotting managers. That is why executive management invariably takes over the organization, and perverts its purposes. They pay themselves huge salaries and bonuses, travel the world staying in first class hotels, eating in the best restaurants, etc, with all their expenses charged to the co-op.
    Same old story of greed and corruption. Case closed. .

  15. Chris Sinckler in his budget statement explained how concessions are divide up and those who benefit the most and the legislation provided that grant necessary concession absent of favouritis.Now here you go once again m with another unfounded set of unfounded accusations borne out of unadulterated speculations like a typical yardfowl searching for scratch grain. For what it is worth The Sandals group is one of the few that have contributed much of its time and resources across the Carribbean in a short time period when compared to many of the local and homegrown hoteliers who have solely relied on govt to keep them afloat in the slow tourist periods
    In any case on the subject of investment a smart investor knows when to hold them and when to fold them.The bottom line being they have to provide a safety net and always concentrate on plans that are workable and sustainable for long term.
    The notion that the investor that is self motivated might be true but following that is the shareholder who by all and any accounts the investor must answer (to) for profits or failures of the business

  16. @ Chad999
    …so the management of top Coops can become high-level executives….. SO WHAT??!!
    …so they can be highly paid and highly successful…..SO WHAT??!!

    AT ANY TIME, should they contravene the rules, they are subject to discipline from the ‘humble’ Supervisory Committee.
    Should the Co-op ever suffer from their arrogance or mismanagement, they are subject to the discipline of the humble Board of Directors.
    EVERYTHING that they do is TOTALLY transparent and available to members who care to know..

    All that you have surmised therefore is ONLY possible if the members and their elected leaders are JAs…. in which case they DESERVE to be ridden…
    …so where is the blight on the Coop system…?

  17. VIDEO: Afra Raymond at Tobago Benchmark Symposium on 18 Aug 2016

    by AfraRaymond

    Tobago Benchmark hosted a symposium on the "Impact of Sandals Resort on Tobago and No Man’s Land" on Thursday 18th August at the Buccoo Community Center. Afra Raymond was one of the guest speakers, focusing his talk on the "underlying commercial arrangements" which no one like to talk about. Examples throughout the Caribbean are seemingly […]

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