Businesses face Boxing Day losses

One business official is expressing concern that the island could miss an opportunity to raise some foreign exchange if businesses did not open their doors on Boxing Day when four cruise ships are expected to dock at the Bridgetown Port.

Over the years it has been somewhat of a common practice for the stores in the capital city to remain closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, while cruise ships are visiting.   

Committee member of The Barbados Revitalization Initiative Sharon Christie told Barbados TODAY she was looking forward to the day when businesses would open on Boxing Day so visitors can shop after they disembark the ships.

She explained that while some businesses in Bridgetown would love to open on that day to cash in on the cruise visit, they were forced to remain closed because it was not mandatory for employees to report to work on the public holiday. The Shops Act identifies Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Independence Day and Christmas Day as closed days. However, employees who work on any public holiday or day-off are entitled to be paid double time, and time and a half for overtime.

The Public Holidays Act recognizes December 26 as a public holiday if it falls on a day in the week.

This year Boxing Day will fall on a Monday, and with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, the following Tuesday will also be recognized as a holiday.

Christie said she feared cruise visitors would give Barbados a bad review if businesses did not open on Boxing Day.   

“Imagine St Martin and other places with which we compete that they can shop on that day, and they are going to come to Bridgetown and everything is going to be closed. So they are going to go back to the ship angry and complaining. When those complaints reach the ship’s management either directly or via [travel forum] TripAdvisor – the power of that social media, that is what is going to happen – the word is going to come down, ‘forget Barbados on your Boxing Day itinerary,” Christie said.

She said while some progress had been made with the introduction of the Shops Act, it did not go far enough when it came to pay.

“Suppose you only need them for half day, people have to have a full day-off still. So to pay workers time and half or in the case of Boxing Day double pay to come out and work for half of a day, not only am I paying them double, I have to give them a whole day off some other day at my busiest time of the year,” she said

“This is the age of 24-hour business. If businesses want to survive they have to be able to do business longer hours and we have to have labour laws that support that environment,” she added.

At the same time, Christie said a lot of workers here did not favour working on public holidays because the pay just did not cut it, especially after the necessary taxes were deducted.

“So where is the incentive to work? If you come to work and earn an extra $300 for the day, how much of that $300 they are going to choose how they spend it? I think that is part of the disincentive.”

Diamonds International is one of the businesses in The City that appeals to tourists.

Managing Director Jacob Hassid said he had already asked a few of the staff to volunteer to work on Boxing Day when the cruise ships will be in so that business would not miss out.

“I consult with my managers on Broad Street and they consulted with their staff and we try to mutually agree whether we should open or not – it has to do with the type of ships and the probability of those ships to pull people into town. So if we feel that this is the case we will open,” he told Barbados TODAY.

“But as a business manager one does not have the ability to force the opening, it has to be with the consent of the staff working here. So we hope that they see the value of it,” he said.

In addition to the four ships expected here on Boxing Day, another four will dock on Tuesday, December 27.

15 Responses to Businesses face Boxing Day losses

  1. miche November 30, 2016 at 2:28 am

    We are allowing these North Americans and others,not of our..beliefs,to influence us in ways that are not traditionally ours…we are accepting things that they engage in,,but are foreign and unknown to us,,,Homosexuality,sunday shopping,halloween,,dog eating,,, and the list goes on….lets stop listening to these self serving cunning destroyers,whose only God is money,,,riches,….weekends are for families,, and I can bet,that the majority of these old hags are Ungodly, childless and alone

    • Richard Johnston December 3, 2016 at 7:36 am

      If your attitude is any indication of attitudes it sounds like a good place not to visit.

  2. rikard November 30, 2016 at 3:02 am

    The people who look after the cruise ships business already knows that our little island shows respect to Christ on those days and that information is already known by the cruise lines for years,so stop trying to make the whole world believe that we are doing something wrong. You loose money and we the workers loose money but still we are greatfull . We also get time to bond with or families just like the tourist are doing.

    • Richard Johnston December 3, 2016 at 7:36 am

      What did Jesus do on Boxing Day?

  3. Joy November 30, 2016 at 7:50 am

    There is clearly a push to erode employees rights by paying them as little as possible for as much work as possible. Very few people in Barbados work for $300 a day and certainly not the store clerks!

  4. Unsatisfied employee November 30, 2016 at 8:57 am

    We the employees have a life too. We entitled to that pay for public holidays. How greedy can you all get.

  5. Shawn November 30, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I’m all for opening on boxing day and holidays once the workers are treated fair I understand what you ppl are saying about family. Yes it true but working pays my bill and put food on my table for my family in these trying and very hard times

  6. Watchman November 30, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Yes the shops act mess up.
    It should have allowed owners and their families to open and run their businesses on bank holidays and for midnight shifts.


  7. Jennifer November 30, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Friends, we never left slavery. Technically we are still slaves. The slave master use the minority to control the majority. The minority controllers are in parliament – the house Negroes, controlling the field Negros. They look out for massa interest and not yours. The only day the slaves were given off was on Sunday where the master kept the bible shut and brain wash you – hence sun worship to this day and our priest doing the same thing and keeping the bible shut and telling you irrelevant stuff.
    Being a penny wise and a pound foolish was always there for our people. While the business owners and their families home bonding or surfing at the beach or on their yachts enjoying their holidays.

    These holidays were also given to us in slavery too i.e xmas, Easter and bunny rabbit eggs (dumb), Whitsunday, valentines, mothers day, Halloween, etc. Don’t take my word for it go and look it up in history. They are all paying homage to a false god and not biblical. The same people too making all the money off us. Let the business owners and their children go and sell their stuff and see if they like it as these people only know their pain and suffering.
    Let us return to our god in the bible and do what he says, oh nation (race)not desired.

  8. stinking rat December 1, 2016 at 7:13 am

    What does Boxing Day have to do with our Lord’s birth? It was a British holiday for house servants who had to wait on their masters during Christmas. It is also St. Stephen’s Day, but no one in the island cares about the associated saints to close on St. Bartholomew Day or St. Patrick Day.

    Furthermore, Christmas is not the most important holiday on the Christian calendar – that will always be Easter, to commemorate our Lord’s sacrifice of life to save our immortal souls. Who cares about the birth more than the actions of a warrior, physical or spiritual?

    When we as an island wrecked our reef, chasing away pelicans and flying fish to build the Harbour, we signed up to gratify tourists for coin to buy bread. Why argue about ungodliness now?

    Diamonds International is working through the problem the right way. Talk to staff and managers and come to a consensus. I’m sure if you usually pay your staff more than $150 daily ($300 for 2x holiday pay!) and have good relationships with the workers, you will quickly reach consensus.

  9. BaJan boy December 2, 2016 at 8:59 am

    We are still so small minded and the fact that we as people do not seem to understand that nobody has to come here. We need them and we don’t have anything special that more receptive nations do not have and offer. With a more responsible government sure there would have been discussion and even if only for 4 hours to accommodate these people we would open our doors as we badly need the foreign exchange. These same people with excellent service would no doubt be back. When they come see nothing,hear nothing got nothing hre is nothing to make them want come back..?Are we really celebratin 50 years of nationhood..are we saying maturity doesn’t go with that..

  10. Mudday Sally December 2, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Watchman I could not say it any better

  11. Watchman December 2, 2016 at 10:46 am

    @BaJan boy, how many of the businesses that want to open on Boxing day offer anything different to the other 6 places the ship stops at ?
    Are any jewellery, perfumes, clothes or other goods exclusive to Barbados especially at stores on Broad street ?
    Maybe one can find unique items at Pelican Village and Temple Yard.
    How many people buy a cruise because it’s going to Barbados anyhow, versus based on whether they can afford the ticket ?

    You seem to equate maturity with doing anything, anytime for money.

  12. seagul December 3, 2016 at 6:33 am

    We salute jennifer for saying it best of all.

  13. ZiRose December 7, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    I think if some business want to open on boxing day and the Tuesday after, to take advantage of the incoming business opportunity then they are free to do so if some of the employees agree and will be appropriately compensated (i.e. time and a half).


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