Government has revealed it has several concerns regarding the prospective sale of the Jolly Beach Resort.
The resort has not resumed operations since shutting its doors earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, since then, the contract securing the management of the property has not been renewed, with a likely sale currently being deliberated.
Speaking at today’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Cabinet spokesperson Minister Melford Nicholas said, “We noted last week that the receiver had moved and had indicated that they are considering some buyers for the facility. The concern for the government, and we did discuss it yesterday, after the sale, then what?
“The public will be reminded that it is still a private entity. The government does have some exposure in that private entity in that there are significant funds owed to the government and some of its agencies with respect to taxes and unpaid bills. The government has an interest but, in as far as the government is concerned where the proceeds of the sale will go, we are lower down the totem pole than the shareholders in the current entity,” Nicholas explained.
The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU) has previously expressed its concern for the workers involved in that transaction, as many have already been left unemployed.
Nicholas said the situation with the workers is also an issue of great interest to the government, specifically regarding some proposed adjustments to the property.
He said there has been a proposal to replace the hotel with a higher end facility but the displacement of the 500 staff members is a cause of angst.
The minister said it would likely take three years before the property is ready to receive guests.