Former OPBM workers still awaiting severance

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More than four years after the Overseas Property Bond Management Ltd. (OPBM) abruptly closed its doors, the six employees said they are growing impatient waiting for severance and their entitlements.
In late 2013, the timeshare company with more than a dozen villas in Jolly Harbour, announced it would be closing. The workers who were laid off for a six-week period were expected to return to work at the beginning of the season, only to learn, on the media,  that the company was closing.
Now, four years on the workers said they have not been paid and they will continue to push for their severance after giving the company more than 20 years of collective service.
“The closure was a major inconvenience and up to now, we have not gotten our money. We were laid off when O.P.B.M. closed to the timeshare owners and staff still have not been told how much and when we are going to be paid. This is unfair,” said an employee who did not wish to be named.
The employee added that workers were sent on leave due to low occupancy and were to return to work after six weeks.
The former worker said although all this time has passed workers anticipate they will be paid their entitlements since they were not paid off when they were laid off.
The employees were not the only ones to suffer when O.P.B.M abruptly closed its doors. Timeshare owners who were making plans reportedly lost their deposits.
Timeshare arrangements allow buyers to pay a share of the price and use
the property for a part of every year, rather than paying full price for a property and owning it outright. For the remainder of the year, other owners control the property.
The first red flag was raised when O.P.B.M’s board of directors alerted the company’s timeshare owners, on September 20, 2013, that the company would be unable to take any reservations before November 30, 2013, due to a termite infestation.
But on October 16, O.P.B.M. again contacted members, informing them that the company was closing as it was unable to make loan payments to Antigua Commercial Bank (ACB).
The company noted that prior to the appointment of Crystal Kelsick as general manager in December 2011, no loan payments were made. The loan dates back to 2001. Kelsick reportedly resigned effective October 15, 2013.
The correspondence added that the timeshare company generated less than E.C. $1 million in annual revenues from maintenance fees, which was not enough to make the loan repayment at E.C. $600,000 annually.
Efforts yesterday to speak with Kelsick were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.

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