By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Surviving without a salary in the British Virgin Islands for more than 14 months has been described as ‘tough’ by a security officer guarding the dilapidated Prospect Reef Hotel.
Speaking to BVI News on Monday, Lou George* said he has lost his ability to be a ‘man’ and provide for his family.
“You are sitting down around the table and eating and you not providing. That’s how you’re feeling that a woman providing for you … it’s tough,” he said.
George said he has had to make many adjustments in his life because he has not received a salary for more than a year. He told BVI News he has been unable to repair his vehicle and can no longer afford to have a credit card.
“There were certain things I try to cut from because I can’t take care of it. Good thing some of us have spouses that work and is able to take care of the family,” he said with a look of sadness on his face,” George said.
He said he and his coworkers now use their day-offs to seek out the occasional odd job to earn some kind of income.
“We do get a little here and there but it is nothing permanent. I think this is how some of us survive because remember this is our sole source — our salary,” the security guard explained.
Security a blessing to Prospect Reef
Notwithstanding the run-down condition that Prospect Reef Hotel is in, George — who has been employed at Prospect Reef for several years — described the security presence that himself and his two coworkers provide at the state-owned facility as important.
He explained that the hurricane-ruined hotel would have been the home of several squatters who were seeking shelter following the hurricanes of 2017.
He also mentioned that youngsters are deterred from loitering at the facility because of the constant presence of a security guard.
With no electricity at the facility, George also said “here just be very dark” and could be the recipe for illegal activities.
Looking forward to a bright Christmas
The unpaid security officer told our news centre he is now keeping hope alive that he and his coworkers will receive their outstanding payments in time for the upcoming holiday season.
“I said, ‘let’s hope for the best that we get it before Christmas so our family could be happy’,” he said.
George further told BVI News he would “flood the house with stuff” and give attention to some areas of his life that he has had to neglect for more a year.
The Prospect Reef employees were promised payment in full by the end of August. However, two months later, that promise has not materialized.
Fahie said there were a few reasons behind the delayed payment.
“First, Prospect Reef is a shareholding company established by legislation in this House of Assembly including a memorandum of articles of association. Fifty percent of the shares are held by the Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, and the other fifty per cent is held by the Financial Secretary on behalf of the government,” the Premier said.
“Secondly, under the Prospect Reef Management Act 2005, there is to be a non-executive body including a managing director to manage the day to day affairs of the Prospect Reef Management Company,” he added.
The use of * represents name change requested by source
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