NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (August 21, 2019) — Three hundred and sixty-one Four Seasons Resort, Nevis (FSRN) workers who are financially affected by the temporary closure of the resort were expected to collect a one-time payment of $1000 from the Nevis Island Administration on August 21, 2019.
Mr. Colin Dore, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, who was on hand at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall in Charlestown to assist the staff at the Treasury Department with the delivery of the cheques, underscored the importance of the NIA’s decision to assist the workers at this time.
“This initiative was part of the Administration’s quest to provide some measure of relief especially for persons who would have to be facing expenditure in relation to back to school for their children as we start the upcoming school term.
“So far for the morning we have dealt with about 100 persons who have come through and collected their cheques. The look on their face, they were quite happy. They were quite pleased that the Administration was able to provide some measure of relief to them as they go through this period,” he said.
Mr. Dore noted that although the closure has proven to be a challenging time for the Administration, he is hopeful the resort’s reopening will bring returns.
“This is a difficult time for all of us, not only for the workers but for the Administration as well, but we are hopeful that when the hotel reopens in the next couple of weeks everything will be back to normal and we will see the economic effects that is intended from this process,” he said.
Hon. Mark. Brantley, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance in the NIA, had just days before made a public announcement of the Administration’s intention to assist the workers.
“The temporary closure of the Four Seasons has negatively impacted some 361 workers there. As a government, we have engaged with the Four Seasons to see what relief could be provided to these workers during the time of closure.
“The Four Seasons, rather than laying off its workers, agreed to make a gratuitous payment to each of those affected of 25 percent of their salaries during the period of closure. This, they would receive regardless of whether they found temporary work in the interim…
“My government, in an effort to cushion the financial strain on workers during this period, also waived any taxes payable on the 25 percent and persuaded Social Security to do likewise. This meant that workers collected the full 25 percent salary.
“My government also wrote to all the banks and other financial institutions on the island, and requested that they grant some relief to workers who might have mortgages or other indebtedness to them during this difficult period. I was very pleased at the responsiveness of the banks as most responded positively to my government’s request, and either waived principal payments during this period or in some cases waived payments altogether.
“Despite our best efforts as a government however, we are nevertheless aware that many of the affected workers have suffered over the past few months from a reduction in their normal levels of income.
“We are also aware that at this time, many are faced with the challenge of back to school expenses to ensure that their children get their books and uniforms and other requirements for when schools reopen in September.
“To this end on June 26, 2019, the Cabinet of the Nevis Island Administration convened to consider whether the government could offer any additional relief to affected Four Seasons workers to assist them with the expected back to school expenses,” he said.