Layoffs at Boatswains Beach

Boatswain’s
Beach/Cayman Turtle Farm Managing Director Tim Adam confirmed Thursday that the
government-owned tourism attraction is in the midst of downsizing its staff due
to current operating losses.

Mr.
Adam would not specify the number of workers affected, and how many Caymanians
were involved.

The
staff cuts are to take effect immediately. The process of notifying workers
began Wednesday.

“I’d
rather have the chance to talk to all the individuals affected before we
specify the numbers,” said Mr. Adam.

“When
I joined the farm one of my responsibilities was to work with the board to
design and implement cost-saving measures, including streamlining and finding
efficiencies,” he said.

Cutbacks
at Boatswain’s have so far included raising turtle meat prices and exploring
other revenue streams, including the sale of turtle shells.

When
the meat price hikes were announced in early February, Turtle Farm Board
Chairman Ken Hydes said that the board would be making many difficult decisions
about operations at the tourism attraction.  

“I
can assure the public that these decisions are being made with the long-term
best interest of the shareholders, the Caymanian people,” Mr. Hydes said at
that time.

“This
is the reason the board felt it was essential to bring in someone with Tim’s
experience and capabilities.  We are extremely confident that he is the
right man to turn things around at Boatswains Beach and he has the full support
of the board and senior management team.”

Mr.
Adam said deciding on the job cuts “agonising”.

“But
after initiating many cost-saving efficiencies there was a need to further
reduce costs,” he said.”We had to look at our personnel costs.”

Mr.
Adam said affected staff are being provided with packages to assist them with
finding new employment, reference letters, and support from the Turtle Farm,
including counselling.

“We
have already notified the Department of Employment Relations and they will also
be assisting those affected,” said Mr. Adam.

At
one point, the Boatswain’s Beach facility was losing up to $500,000 per month
on its operating costs. In recent years, those costs have been reduced, but the
facility is still losing money. 

Government
has poured more than $20 million into tourism attraction to make up its
operating losses since 2004, not including loans it has made to the
facility. 

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