About 50 Jungle Bay Resort and Spa employees gathered at the Fort Young Hotel this morning to discuss the closure of the hotel and their future.
The award winning hotel which was located at Pointe Mulatre, Delices, near Petite Savanne, was recently devastated by mudslides cause by Tropical Storm Erika.
A press release issued by hotel management said some Jungle bay staff members who were particularly hard hit were provided with small grants to enable them to purchase clothing and other basic supplies. A number of commodities ranging from dried and canned foods to disposable diapers were distributed among the staff.
Owner of Jungle Bay Samuel Raphael discussed a number of topics with the employees, including severance packages and assistance for them to find other jobs.
“I am not in a position to discuss future plans at this time but I would like to find a way to bring our Jungle Bay family together again,” he said.
Raphael expressed gratitude to the employees for their dedication and loyalty over the past 10 years and more.
“Jungle Bay is not the structures that were destroyed by the mudslides, you are Jungle Bay,” he told them.
He added, “Some of you here today started the journey with me with a cutlass on August 20, 2000. It is painful to let go but we have to accept the situation and look forward.”
Raphael promised to do everything he could to support the former employees during the difficult days ahead. He also expressed condolences to the members of staff who lost relatives as a result of the natural disaster.
“Some of you lost your parents, your homes and now your jobs. Notwithstanding the grief and sadness you feel, especially so many of you from Petite Savanne, who had to be uprooted from your beautiful, vibrant community. We cannot look back. We must be grateful that we are still alive and we must embrace hope and not despair.”
Several members of staff tearfully expressed their gratitude for having had the opportunity to work at Jungle Bay, the release stated.
It quoted Food and Beverage Manager Joanne Hiliare as saying, “Jungle Bay made me who I am today and now I feel like I am losing my family, my Jungle Bay family.” Justinian Detouche read a poem he penned for the occasion that glorified his time at Jungle Bay. Other employees said they will miss the camaraderie and team spirit at Jungle Bay.
The meeting got underway with an invocation by Msgr Eustace Thomas who urged the participants to remain hopeful even in despair.
Jungle Bay has often been ranked as one of the world’s leading ecotourism resorts. Over 60 persons worked at the resort while 40 farmers relies on purchases from the resort for their livelihood.
“The loss of this property will have a significant impact on the economy of the southeast of Dominica,” he said.