KINGSTOWN, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuesday December 20, 2016 – Workers of the troubled Buccament Bay Resort who’ve been left empty handed by their employer are facing a blue Christmas as details about the property’s financial mess continue to emerge.
After receiving no pay for the past three months, the workers who walked off the job in frustration on December 2 have been desperately holding out hope that they would receive outstanding monies this season.
But accountant Brian Glasgow, who was appointed by the High Court as the proposal trustee for Harlequin Property Limited, owners of the resort, dashed their hopes somewhat as he told iWitness News there was virtually no money.
Glasgow, who has been mandated to secure the assets of Harlequin, revealed that the situation at the property was so bad that not even a lawsuit could help the beleaguered workers get their outstanding monies.
Last Wednesday, the debt riddled resort was forced to close its doors after the St Vincent Electricity Company cut power to the property because of a massive electricity bill said to be more than EC$1 million (US$ 370,370).
Glasgow, who said that his court appointment, which is under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, extended only to Harlequin, described the plight of the workers as disconcerting as he disclosed that he had made attempts to look into the matter.
“There are employees who have not been paid, and like anybody else in my position would do, even though you don’t have the right to demand that they be paid, you would ask questions,” he said.
Glasgow revealed that efforts were being made “by the various stakeholders to ensure that the employees are paid the outstanding amounts”, but he provided no other details.
But he expressed concern about reports that some employees may have resorted to removing items from the property. A security firm has been hired to guard the resort.
And while there has been no word from Director of Harlequin David Ames, who fled St Vincent back in June, about the outstanding pay for workers, he has revealed that the property could be back up and running in spring 2017.
In a statement issued after last week’s closure, Ames said Harlequin was seeking to obtain some US$11.6 million awarded by the British High Court last week in a lawsuit against its former accounting firm Wilkins Kennedy. Ames said the money was not likely to come until the end of January.
He claimed the decision to temporarily close Buccament Bay Resort was made after its suppliers made “unrealistic demands and disconnecting services”. He added that a skeleton staff would be maintained to secure the premises.
Ames is expected to return to St Vincent in February next year to face tax evasion charges.