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Economy ‘bust’? Layoffs continue following Hurricane Irma

- Would the Virgin Islands Government be next?
The biggest marina on Tortola, Nanny Cay Resort and Marina, has begun to lay off workers after being hard hit by Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
Central Administration Complex also felt the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
Central Administration Complex also felt the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma. Photo: VINO
Hurricane Irma ravaged the Virgin Islands on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
Hurricane Irma ravaged the Virgin Islands on September 6, 2017. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- We all remember Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) claiming for years that the Virgin Islands’ economy was “robust.”

This turned out not to be the case as statistics from his own Departments showed the fall off in the Financial Services Sector and tourism arrivals were down. Many of his own Government Backbenchers also disputed the notion.

Now following Hurricane Irma and Maria, both Category 5 storms, the Virgin Islands (VI) is now feeling the effects in the area of unemployment.

Many businesses have started laying off workers with immediate effect. They include the giant law firm Harneys; premier food chain, Road Town Wholesale; the biggest marina on Tortola, Nanny Cay Hotel and Marina; Scrub Island Resort and Spa; BVI Cable TV; and Long Bay Hotel to name a few.

Some of the Trust Companies have also laid off workers as well as some small enterprises that include restaurants, auto stores and car rentals.

It’s the Hurricane stupid!

Many have blamed the direct effect of Hurricane Irma on their businesses, loss of revenue, significant damages to their physical buildings, to boats, cars, and loss of goods. Some of the staff have pulled out and left the British Overseas Territory of the VI.

It remains unclear if many public and central government departments will also follow in laying off public sector workers. Premier Smith has not addressed this matter; however, he announced the delay in payment for the end of September 2017 salaries and called for time sheets to be submitted.

The fallout from Hurricane Irma, which hit the VI on September 6, 2017 causing death, destruction and panic, has set back the Territory’s economy, as some 25% of residents, young people, students and work permit holders have fled the country.

What’s your plan Government?

The sometimes public relations savvy National Democratic Party (NDP) has been silent on its plans to address the unemployment situation, along with any recovery plan.

The Labour Department Commissioner Janice I. F. Rymer told our newsroom that her office will announce some clarification as to the difference between layoffs and termination and what employees are eligible for under Section 107 of the Labour Code dealing with severance pay.

On the bright side, one Telecommunications Company, Digicel (BVI), said it was not laying off staff but instead was hiring workers.

39 Responses to “Economy ‘bust’? Layoffs continue following Hurricane Irma”

  • Perfect Storm (04/10/2017, 15:54) Like (22) Dislike (10) Reply
    This is when immigration and labour have to step their game up and make sure their own people aint staff in this place... Do business inspection. Check status Documents.. Put a hold on wodk permits renewal..How can you renew work permit for a company when they lay off Natives and belongers....
  • Xxx (04/10/2017, 16:04) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    Way to good digcel
  • More Hurricane (04/10/2017, 16:05) Like (21) Dislike (9) Reply
    Too much injustice and oppression. ..Start laying off from the top. The big salaries and the big savings they can survive...Leave the poor man with a small salary and no savings alone... How many managers a company need? Some these companies got too many useless managers. Yet they keep picking on the poor small man.....Too much evil and wickedbess. More Hurricane!.....God is Purching these places out..
    • Youu takin nonsense (04/10/2017, 17:16) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
      Why would a company have too many managers - managers are expensive and it makes no sense to have too many. If you start laying of from the top, then the business will fail. Go back to school and learn some common sense.
      • @You talking nonsense.. (05/10/2017, 08:08) Like (1) Dislike (6) Reply
        I understand u r trying to hold on to your Job..Thats a managers argument..So tel me; you are getting $5,000.00 Monthly to manage 10 people who getting $2,500 Monthly. 6 get laid off leave u with 4.. Do u still think u deseeve your full Salary? Im sure one of those laid off worker at $2,500 Monthly can manage the department just as good or better... So. Cut fairly
      • Useless.. (05/10/2017, 08:24) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
        @ Talking nonsense.. I can tell u R not a good manager..u r not sounding rational. U sounding defensive. Good mamagers dont tell people go back to school...Tbe Key word is "Useless" U will agree that there are lots of those... .Just their filling a seat, cant make any decisions..have no say....So control your temper.
    • This (04/10/2017, 17:51) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      This sound like ports?
    • I agree (04/10/2017, 20:51) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
      It is always the the little man that burst their A.. to make the Company what it is. The top dogs in the Company with the big salary is the ones that stays. What an injustice. This storm was only a warning. The next one is going to take the whole Island out like Barbuda.
  • Packer Rite Way (04/10/2017, 16:15) Like (24) Dislike (2) Reply
    They dont have to lay us off. Let us go and clean up and tidy up damage stores and put them back together because they have the inventory to fully restock in 2 days...Some of these lay offs are not neccessary. They are opputunistic. Then have one staff doing 4 staff work staff that have work permit to do A is doing A B and C...Let us help you put our stores back and keep our jobs.. please!
    • Weak Commisioner (04/10/2017, 17:17) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      Ms Labour commissioner we need investigation and justification..not clarification. Some of these companies made so much profit over the years. They can shut down for a year and pay all their staff for a year and dont feel it....
    • @Rite Way Packer (04/10/2017, 17:22) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      This what u all wanted. If it was Haycraft company u wouldn'tt had to worry about getting laid off.. Stop Crying..This the change u all wanted...
    • @Rite way packer. Sensible (05/10/2017, 08:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      U making sense... Like u rightfully say its the opportune time for them..
  • VG (04/10/2017, 18:39) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    In the messed of these facts the ndp will deny that there are layoffs

  • Help Our Businesses! (04/10/2017, 19:30) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Businesses can't afford to keep people so they have a job. Work for people to do but how we going pay? What do you do when people want money you don't have? If workers want to stay, will they accept less pay? For some,hurricane hit home and business. Flooding, roof gone, doors and windows blown out or no business at all. Then after all that, people looting. If you have a business, you try to stay open to survive. Rent, electricity (generator), NHI and other business related expenses still due. Getting things to sell is a next thing. Businesses are crying for help too...
  • staff (04/10/2017, 19:45) Like (1) Dislike (6) Reply
    Delta Petroleum did the same
    • Delra too. Naah (05/10/2017, 08:15) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Delta who benefit so much from the hurricane.. Who had people in line waiting for hours for Gas because thw gas done or sell so fast 2 to 3 trucks a day... Naaah this is over doing it....
  • i from here (04/10/2017, 23:05) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    I cry my bvi
  • miles is not right (04/10/2017, 23:15) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Nanny cay laid off some locals not a good start
    • kkk (05/10/2017, 21:57) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      White rules
    • .. (06/10/2017, 17:17) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      It's always the locals that are first to go. When you look, an expat doing their job. Why is this allowed?
    • um (06/10/2017, 18:19) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      They have a trashed hotel, a trashed marina and a trashed boatyard. If its not your job to fix that then they need to save the money. And I forgot about peglegs so they definetly dont need all of those staff. It sucks but if they get up and running quickly then jobs will come back.
  • store owner (05/10/2017, 01:11) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    The economy is finally bust not robust lol
  • Shame on the Editor (05/10/2017, 06:34) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply

    Some business have lost everything and others have suffered significant lost and damage. How do you expect them to continue paying their staff if they have no business or their business has suffered great lost?

    • @Shame on Editor (05/10/2017, 07:59) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
      U sound like one of those greedy buainess people whi cares more about money than people. What happen to all the millions these same workers help you make in profit over the years...Let the government do
      a check of the saving accounts and they will see that most of these buainesses can afford to keep their workers for 4 months. By January we will be back better than before... This situation veey unfortunate but its not a permanent one
      • Entrepreneur (05/10/2017, 11:20) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
        You'd be surprised to find out after your investigation that some businesses have nothing in their savings account. Before the hurricane, things were slow. People see what they want. You open in the morning and close at night. People see people buying but know nothing about your struggle. They don't care. They tell themselves you have a business. People buying so you got money. Sometimes you gotta think! It's more than that to a business!
        • sandymwp (06/10/2017, 18:13) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
          yes, you are absolutely right. business cannot pay workers when they have nothing to pay with....particularly if it is a service business, such as a hotel and restaurant, and there are no customers that can spend money. my heart bleeds for all of you.
  • Help us father (05/10/2017, 08:10) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Before hurricane Irma and Maria injustice has been happening. Bosses giving you 3 people job to do and you cant say anything. Cursing indecnt language at you and lieing their ass off to make them look good. You report the issues to Labor and you be lucky if you get justice.
  • Platnum news (05/10/2017, 08:18) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    What happen to platnum news. Did the send their workers home too?
  • No community spirit (05/10/2017, 14:56) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    You know allot of people going to go broke as there will be no work and everyone spending like they earning a living.
    Companies lay off workers no longer needed as their business model change... Rite Way don't need all their staff as their stores where looted by the communities they serve, now why should they move to rebuild, let you walk Pasea to get your food. When you tired of walking maybe they will think about rebuilding. Same with any business that get looted, why should they rush to open and serve a community that has let them down. Even PR didn't loot.. there has been minor but mostly food and water... shame on the BVI.. shame on the BVIslander. Police only got a handful of them and no more.. shame on us as an Island.
    • Ajic (06/10/2017, 22:08) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      Most of the looting was done by expats. I am not saying that some wasn't done by locals
  • Peter Island and Digicel..Deserve Medals (05/10/2017, 16:40) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good Managers/ businesses prepare for situation like this. So they have a resrrve fun... When we talking about great companies and BVI strong put Peter Island and Digicel at the Top.. Peter Island is paying their workers though they are home..They were prepared for situation like this..Digicel, Not one laid off and give out millions to help and assist.. These are real Example of BVI steong ..Good and well manage companies...
  • Me (05/10/2017, 19:50) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Tell me something u work for a company for some 15-20 years and just say u fired and no money what are we to do answer that question any body
  • wize up (05/10/2017, 20:03) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    My goodness after 2 serious hurricanes in 2 weeks how can any reasonable thinking person can assume the economy of this territory will be in top shape(just asking....this thing called politics in BVI) brother just looking a reason to pull another brother.....bad enough before the hurricanes much less now!!!!!
  • Grid (05/10/2017, 23:59) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    I have no problem with the let goes and lay off but pay your staff..Some loyal employees have been there for years..And the employer looking to send them home with empty hands..Labour plz...
  • popeye (06/10/2017, 18:46) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fake news
  • Demon (04/12/2017, 21:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just like mardi grass they layof people that been there for years and kept all the. New people then telling you. You. Have. To reaply they have. Their. Favorite selfish bastard this the casino at hallandale florida

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