Sealy offers assurances to Hilton hotel employees

With the sale of the Hilton Barbados Resort said to be at “an advanced stage”, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy is assuring employees at the Needhams Point property that their jobs are safe.

In fact, he told supporters of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) during a joint meeting of DLP branches in the St Michael constituencies on Sunday night that the sale of the hotel, valued at US$100 million, would be based on the strict condition that no workers would be sent home.

“Whatever decision we make, there are two things that had to happen. The first was that it had to remain a Hilton and the management contract would have to go over to the new owners. Secondly, not a single member of staff is to be affected or impacted by that transaction,” Sealy said.

“So my words tonight to all of the families who might be impacted by that decision is that there would be no job losses whatsoever,” he assured.

It was back in May during his Budget presentation that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had announced plans to put up for sale, the Needham’s Point property, which first opened its doors as Barbados became an independent nation in November 1966, and has remained one of the island’s best known hotel properties.

However, Sinckler had sought to make it clear at the time that Government would only accept offers in line with the hotel’s real value and that it expected “to receive no less
than BDS$100 million as the net proceeds from the sale, taking into account the liquidation of existing debt liabilities attached to the property”.

The announcement came as the Freundel Stuart administration desperately sought to shore up the island’s fast depleting foreign reserves, which stood at $749 million, or near 11 weeks of import cover at the time, but have since slumped even further below the desired 12 weeks of import cover to just 8.6 weeks or $549.7 million at the end of September.

Sinckler reported last week that the Hilton sale was at “an advanced stage”, but gave no details on the prospective buyer or any insight into the actual agreement; neither did Sealy who sought to explain before Sunday’s DLP gathering at St Michael School that the parameters governing the sale agreement were yet to be finalized.

“You would have heard the Minister of Finance speak on the issue of the Hilton, but before we can give out any details with respect to what’s happening with the Hilton there is the negotiation and the very important business of talking to the workers’ representatives before we say anything to the public. We have to get everything in the correct order. We will be meeting with the staff shortly and then we will talk more about the entire process to the public at large,” he stressed.

However, Sealy stated that Cabinet was moving full steam ahead with plans to divest the property, as it was crucial to bolstering the island’s dwindling reserves.

“I know that many of you are on the defence about this issue of the foreign reserves and the way it is falling. I understand that completely because certainly the foreign reserves ensure that the [dollar] peg is protected and we have to keep an eagle eye on it. But the truth is you can do things to improve the reserves almost overnight,” he said, while joining with Sinckler in criticizing the Fair Trading Commission over the length of time it was taking to issue a ruling on the sale of the state owned Barbados National Terminal Company Limited to the Sir Kiffin Simpson-led Sol Group of Companies — another multi-million dollar divestment which the Government is currently banking on.

10 Responses to Sealy offers assurances to Hilton hotel employees

  1. archy perch November 15, 2017 at 2:39 am

    Good news for us all that the sale will soon be completed. Those rebels who have successfully blocked all the government initiatives for progress, are to be condemned to hell. And these people always claim they love Barbados, but yet engage in their wicked conniving deeds. I hope the BNTCL deal with SOL goes through.

    Reply
  2. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba November 15, 2017 at 5:26 am

    WHO WANNA GIVING WAY THE HILTON TOO NOW? WANNA OFFERED ASSURANCE TO THE MASSES NOT ONE IS GOING HOME (TRUE) CAUSE WANNA SEND HOME THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS…..WILL THE HILTON BE SOLD TO 1 OF THE 6 ELITE FACES THAT ALWAYS SHOWS UP FOR SUCH EVENTS? WE WILL SEE

    Reply
  3. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba November 15, 2017 at 5:33 am

    THE SALE OF THE HILTON, THAT DOUGH WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY, TOO MANY KANGAROOS WAITING WITH DEM POUCH CLEAN OUT, TO TAKE IN NEW PAPER JOEYS………

    Reply
  4. Johnathan November 15, 2017 at 5:51 am

    This will be another NCC all over again. These just cannot help telling lies. Time to call an election.

    Reply
  5. archy perch November 15, 2017 at 7:29 am

    We are bajans. This is our rock. Wishing for any government to fail in its efforts to keep the ship afloat, is treason in my book.
    Demonstrate your so-called love of country by putting your mis-directed energies into positive thoughts about how you can help to pull the country out of this valley. I am sure that if you do this simple thing, you would feel better about yourself, and not wake up so miserable daily with your besotted face.
    You are setting yourselves up for a major health fairlure, namely a heart attack when the Dems win this general elections again.
    The successes of this administration’s first five years are already in book form as you know. I am not privy to know what the DLP is doing as per this term. But there is one thing I know, the Barbados Labour Party has not even attempted to put in book form their achievements for the 14-years they ran this country. I would like to see these projects, laws and so on down on paper. I mean, Eagle Hall Market would have to be in that book, building Kensington Oval on somebody else’s land another, building that expensive toilet at Oistins another and we could go on and on about BLP successes.

    Reply
  6. Solutions Barbados November 15, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I would like someone to tell us why the government is selling one of the only profitable businesses in it’s portfolio? I hope that the sale agreement will be laid in parliament so that the whole country can see the details of it. This hotel should NOT be sold. This is a good example of a bad divestment on the part of government. You don’t sell your most profitable holdings. You sell those that are least profitable, but which have the most potential for profit under new ownership. Government should NEVER sell BNTCL, or Hilton. These are 2 of the only profitable businesses that government owns. Why sell them for short term financial gains that will be lost in 6 weeks, when the funds received from them are used up in paying back foreign debt out of the foreign reserve? More bad management decisions!

    Reply
  7. Adrian Loveridge November 15, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Totally confused. Only last week Hilton announced a MAJOR refurbishment of the Hilton Barbados. Why would they do this if a sale was imminent? Is this more Blue Horizon non-disclosure?

    Reply
  8. Joy Waldron
    Joy Waldron November 15, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Hmmm same assurance given workers before last election… smhhh

    Reply
  9. Ossie Moore November 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Here is wah Ossie gine tell yuh ! Put up de property fuh sale sign pun de internet realestate site at starting auction bid o’ $100 million and move on from deh so!

    Reply
  10. Tony Wiggins November 16, 2017 at 12:18 am

    The DLP is going to have plenty dollars in their war chest for the general election battle !

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *