Former Memories Grand Bahama Beach and Casino employees gathered outside the Harold de Gregory complex Wednesday morning to protest, what they say is the government’s lack of respect for those who have been given little information about the resort’s closing.
The irate crowd said they have been out of work for over four months and are seeing Grand Bahama’s economy deteriorate to an all time low.
Natasha Pelecanos, who once worked in the Engineering Department at Memories Resort, claimed that it is the complete disrespect that has been shown the 487 Bahamian employees by the government and the Blue Diamond Group, forced Wednesday’s march and protest.
“We are here to protest the five months and three days since Memories closed and the fact that we have been left in the dark, as to what the future will bring. Yes, a few days ago we were informed we will get our redundancy money.
“However, the government and Blue Diamond did not respect us at all – they gave us no information, no text messages and no announcements through the media,” Pelecanos maintained.
Noting that Memories is just a building and it is the employees that make the business, Pelecanos said the people marching have lost homes, cars and their water and power is off. “It is despicable how they disrespected us – all of us are adults and we came to Memories to be able to support our families,” Pelecanos shared.
The former engineer at Memories alleged, it is obvious to her and other co-workers the redundancy payouts were orchestrated for Wednesday and Thursday this week, at the same time as the march so that fewer persons were able to attend the protest.
“The information regarding the payouts were advertised in the Tribune – that is a Nassau paper, so still more disrespect for us in Grand Bahama,” Pelecanos maintained.
Claiming that the decision to start paying out on the same day as the march was simply to attempt to intimidate the employees, Pelecanos added, “well it won’t work – we need jobs, not redundancy money. We are 487 adults. We have kids, bills, and obligations. I am so appalled by the government and Blue Diamond.
“Grand Bahama is such a small place and they never once gave us any indication of what was happening. In December we were told the hotel would reopen in May, but the government should have taken time out to give us some information, as we saw nothing being repaired and only hotel equipment being removed,” she maintained.
“Grand Bahama is in a terrible state, I call on the top leaders to come and drive around Grand Bahama and see the state for themselves,” Pelecanos added.
Navardo Saunders, Commun-ity Activist claimed, “No one from government had the decency to come and speak with us. We have a Minister for Grand Bahama and he has not come to speak with the employees – that is utter disrespect. They knew about this protest. Downtown mash up, the International Bazaar mash up. The little money these former employees are getting will not be enough, they have bills.”
Saunders reminded those gathered that the government had promised Bahamians first and asked why they are not there with the Bahamians to see why they felt the need to protest. “We are just totally angry with the disrespect from our government. It has gone from bad to worse on Grand Bahama,” Saunders said.
He noted the protests will continue until things change, adding that it is his hope the government comes to the island. “These people have had no job and with that no dignity from October until now, the march is about respect,” Saunders concluded.
Another former Memories’ employee, Tameka Marshall shared the similar sentiments, regarding the lack of information and respect shown towards them.
“We are not begging for anything, we are simply asking the government to make Grand Bahama great like it once was, bring us back to the economic stance we need. We are not a people who want to be lazy, we want to work – we are not looking for handouts, we want sustainability and accountability from our government.
“It is not just about Memories, it’s about our people, the generation to come. We are tired of being walked on, trampled over … we are tired of our children not having any hope, we need the government to not only answer us, but give us the respect we deserve,” Marshall maintained.
Published Thursday, February 9, 2017