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CCA Limited lays off employees

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CCA Ltd, the company providing construction, architecture and maintenance services on Canouan, says it has been forced to lay off employees because of the protests on the island over the last few weeks.

The company, by way of a letter issued on March 2 by CEO Josee Atkinson to all its employees, said the protest action, which has caused blockages of access to the resort has severe long-term negative implications for everyone.{{more}}

“As you all know, the last few weeks has been very tumultuous with the issues created by [social activist] Terry Bynoe and others that lead up to many blockages of the access to the Resort. This irresponsible behaviour … has severe long term negative implications for all of us. Without respect for rules and laws, no investments can be made and no progress can be achieved. Due to the circumstances the Resort had to stop all negotiations with hotel operators and delay the formal launch of the hotel,” the letter said.

“Obviously this has severe negative consequences for us at CCA: the Resort is our main customer and brings along with its success many other customers and investors. Without them we have no work. Until peace and stabilty is restored, the present conditions of instability no longer attract and retain investors. We are therefore forced to significantly lay off employees in order to survive this crisis.”

“We are surprised that the Canouan community is allowing this to happen. We are deeply saddened that a few individuals can damage a community and other people’s life without thinking of the consequences.”

“We are in hope that peace, safety, respect for properties and other people will be restored soon so that the reputation of this island and the business can come back as they were,” Atkinson’s letter ended.

Over the last few weeks, Bynoe has been at the forefront of protests on the island, seeking access by land to L’Anse Guyac beach and against the enforcement of a no-anchoring zone off the west coast of the island, which limits access to the beach for visiting yachties. Most recently, on Sunday, February 21, Bynoe was prevented from passing through the Resort to gain access to Godahl Beach, where he and other residents had planned a picnic.

The social activist was prevented from entering the property, based on an injuction the Resort has had against him entering their property for the last 16 years. This action by the Resort resulted in a group of Canouan residents blocking the entrance to the property for approximately two hours.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves in a press conference on February 2 noted that it is important for persons to get along with the Canouan investors, as over 1,000 Vincentians are employed by them. He said there are persons who are seeking to fuel discord because of political bias, even though they know that the seascape must be regulated.

“It happens in every single country that is seeking to develop. Investors will not put their money in an environment of disorganization,” said Gonsalves, who pleaded, “let us all just simmer down. I would be the last person to deny people access to a beach…but I want to see us regulate the situation properly.”

“We are talking about $250 million US in investments and over US$100 million in marina and real estate development.”

The Prime Minister said in this situation, “we can’t now not show maturity and have this investment scuttled and I’m asking the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, including the people of Canouan to support the orderly arrangements, the regulatory framework which does not deny anyone the use of that bay…what it does is avoids and prevents the free-for-all.”

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