Coco Reef Resort & Spa, Tobago, is assuring its management team is "working extremely hard" to overcome the challenges confronting the company in the midst of the covid19 pandemic.
Some 120 employees were recently sent home for an additional two months, owing to the huge financial losses the company incurred because of the virus.
On August 4, the affected workers complained they were given temporary termination letters but no formal explanation from the company’s management. They regarded the action as disrespectful.
Some of the workers had only returned to work on August 3 after being at home for three months during the national lockdown to prevent the spread of covid19.
However, in a statement, dated August 14, purportedly written by Coco Reef owner/chairman John Jefferis, he said: "I have the greatest respect for all the staff at the hotel and greatly appreciate the hard work they do. It does sadden me to hear that some staff believe this is not the case."
Jefferis said the company understands the anxiety and frustrations of the workers under the "extremely uncertain conditions."
However, he remains optimistic.
"My goal is to have the hotel reopened and enable staff to return to work as soon as possible.
"I remain certain there is a bright, golden future for the Coco Reef Resort & Spa and all of its staff.
"Overcoming these frustrating challenges will not be easy or fast but there is nothing we cannot achieve as long as we remain positive and work together as a team."
Jefferis recalled the company decided in June to have a soft opening on August 1.
"But, unfortunately, with the borders still closed, we are unable to travel to the hotel. It is essential that I am physically at the hotel with a small support team to oversee and plan the pre-opening and hope permission to travel to Tobago may be granted soon."
He said owing to the challenges, the soft opening date has been extended tentatively to October 2020.
"Remaining closed is not a sustainable business option and the opening of the hotel is my priority."
Jefferis also said the hotel was not for sale, as has been rumoured."I am unsure of where the rumour emanated but there is absolutely no truth to it.
Employee De Ann Roberts said the workers are describing the statement as an insult. She also noted the statement was not signed by Jefferis.
"Our main thing is the disrespect and inhumane treatment meted out to the workers. It is about common courtesy," she said.
"We know what is happening with covid19, but sit down and tell us something to cushion the blow. Nobody has been communicating with us."