Construction workers at the site of the former Smugglers Cove Resort and Spa downed tools today, claiming that they were being short changed, while foreign nationals on the project are receiving preferential treatment.
Smugglers Cove has been acquired by Blue Diamond Hotels and Resorts which is building a new property at the Cap Estate site.
The property, the Royalton Saint Lucia, has promised to take luxury to a new level.
It is set to open its doors for summer 2017.
Henry Louis, who said he was a sub-contractor on the project, told the Times he has been working there for about three months with a crew of about forty men.
Speaking on behalf of his workers, Louis explained that the men quit work today over money.
“They paying us half of the money so I will be owing these men almost ten thousand dollars,” he said.
Louis said his men decided enough is enough and quit.
However he disclosed that the employer plans to pay them off and send them home.
“They decide to pay us back pay and we out of there,” Louis said.
He claimed that the project was full of Trinidadians, Jamaicans, Dominicans, Colombians and Guyanese who were being treated better than the locals.
“I was wondering whether they don’t have a law in Saint Lucia when we have so many foreigners in our country building a hotel. All Supervisors are foreigners, all men that doing partition are Trinidadians, men that putting tiles are Guyanese, Dominicans and Trinidadians,” Louis asserted.
He claimed that some six hundred non-nationals are employed on the project.
According to him “little Saint Lucians” on the project are trying to make a bread to send their children to school.
“They decide to kick us out instead of making something better for us,” the sub-contractor lamented.
Officials connected to the project declined comment.