Former TI employees upset over job loss

The new management of Treasure Island has defended its decision not to rehire two Caymanians working at the resort, saying it had hired 24 previous employees and cannot take on more.

Of the 47 staff under the Receiver’s charge at Treasure Island during the sale, 24 were rehired by the new management, which is turning the resort into long-term apartments, along with a few hotel-like suites.

Eric Bush, Property Manager, Front Door Cayman, which is now responsible for the operation of Treasure Island, explained that because the main focus has switched from hotel to long-term rentals, with a few suites to be constructed for hotel use, it is not economically viable to keep on all the staff that served the hotel.

‘We employed 24 people,’ said Mr. Bush. ‘Front Door Cayman did not release any staff. We hired 24 staff and all those were previous staff of Treasure Island, including me,’ he said.

Two Caymanians who were not rehired following the sale have claimed they were replaced by expatriates.

Caymanians Dahlia Roberts , nee Ebanks, and Uldeen Evans have both worked at Treasure Island Resort for nearly 11 years and 19 years respectively. They were let go following the recent sale of the resort, and were not re-hired by Front Door Cayman Ltd.

The Seven Mile Beach resort, which had been under receivership, was sold to local businessman Harry Lalli and his brother and sister-in-law in the US. The property is being managed by Front Door Cayman Ltd.

Ms Roberts worked as lobby attendant and Ms Evans worked as Rooms Division Manager, overseeing the areas of housekeeping and the front desk.

When Front Door Cayman Ltd. was in the process of buying the resort, Ms Roberts and Ms Evans applied for positions, but were told that their qualifications did not meet the needs of the new property.

However, Ms Roberts also received a glowing reference from Mr. Bush, as Director of Human Resources for Treasure Island Resort. Ms Evans said she had received a similar reference

Replaced by expats

The women claim expatriates replaced them. Ms Roberts said the person replacing her does not speak or understand English.

Regarding Ms Roberts, Mr. Bush said that Front Door Cayman was not rehiring a specific lobby attendant in the new operation. It had employed 10 laundry and cleaning attendants, nine of whom were Caymanian.

The positions had drawn 24 applicants, said Mr. Bush.

One expatriate had been hired because of a track record of outstanding performance. Mr. Bush said the worker spoke and understood English.

Regarding Ms Evans, Mr. Bush said that a front-office manager is not needed in the new operation.

‘As far as her saying we replaced her with a foreigner, that is false,’ he said.

Mr. Bush said that a native Caymanian had been hired.

‘We do encourage the employment and advancement of Caymanians,’ Mr. Bush, who is himself Caymanian, asserted.

However, Ms Roberts is not happy she was not hired by the new management. She and taken their case to both the Labour Board and the Immigration Board.

She said: ‘I thought that once a Caymanian could do the job, we would get the chance, but I guess I was wrong and after 10 plus years of sweeping and cleaning and mopping that lobby floor now all of a sudden I am not good enough.’

Ms Roberts said: ‘Like many others, I too have lost everything during Ivan and now I am starting over again. If I don’t have a job, how will I pay my bills and my mortgage?’

The women have not secured alternative work.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now