HON. VELON JOHN
MINISTER FOR LABOUR RELATIONS,
PUBLIC SERVICE AND CO-OPERATIVES
November 9, 2006
On behalf of the people and Government of St. Lucia we will at this time comment
on what has been termed the “Sandals Affair”.
It is indeed regrettable that Sandals – a private company, has embarked on a
course of action, that at this time has placed a substantial number of its
employees in a situation of acute dislocation.
Though Sandals has the legal right to sever the employment nexus between it and
its employees under those circumstances, yet in the interest of comity and
goodwill between it and the workers of this country, better thinking and
reasoning should have prevailed.
The “Sandals” course of action has in my opinion undermined the principle of
social dialogue and in some measure has posed a subtle threat to Caribbean Trade
As I see it the industrial relations landscape must evidence a functional
solidarity that facilitates the resolution of contentious matters between the
social partners in a manner that does not exacerbate the employment expectations
of workers on one hand, and the right to a reasonable profit on their
investment, by employers.
It is the salubrious climate of co-operation and consultation that the Labour
Code is endeavoring to address so that our workers are not disadvantaged by
unilateral and unreasonable decisions taken by employers. In time there will be
legislative provisions that will obviate the necessity or possibility of a
At this time the Government will engage the outsourced companies in an attempt
at facilitating the employment of those who are bearing the brunt of the
“Sandals Affairs”. As many of them that could be so employed, the better.
In closing, I must comment that in this X-mas season of goodwill towards men we
are confronted with a situation that does violence to the ideals of brotherly
love and concern
Let it be unequivocally stated that this Government is committed to the welfare
of its workers and will resolutely advance their cause for social justice.