After all was said and done on the Government’s $11 million redundancy pay out to Fairmont Southampton workers left jobless as a result of the hotel’s closure, Premier David Burt said Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson “has made the Government proud”.
Despite criticism of the decision to pay the 700 employees involved, he said: “The payment from the Government to the workers in October 2020 was necessary. as there was no guarantee from the owners, when they would be able to make the payment themselves.
“This Government is committed to ensuring that workers are respected and can live their everyday lives with dignity, especially during these difficult times.”
Speaking at the latest COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, he added: “The employees of Southampton Princess, were not given a handout, but rightly paid what they were owed. Our intervention was an important demonstration that people will always be given priority over profits by the Government of Bermuda.
“I must however say this. It is noticeable that we have had silence from the usual commentators or the Opposition, who criticized this arrangement that was made by the Minister of Finance. It is okay. You can tell the Minister of Finance, ‘Job well done’, and that you may have been wrong,” said Mr Burt.
“Bermuda is fortunate to have a Minister of Finance of the calibre of Curtis Dickinson, and I want to congratulate him publicly for his work in this because I know that it has been incredibly tiring but he has made the Government proud.
“As I said last week we must have confidence in ourselves to work together and to solve the problems together. And in this case, in this instance, the Minister of Finance has done that. And Minister of Finance, I know that Aunt Laverne would be very proud.”
He also thanked “Gencom for keeping their word”.
“Now, it is on to the next phase of the development, and we’re going to be working and engaging with GenCom on that, to make sure that we can advance the redevelopment of that property, so that we can have it open, as soon as possible.”