The manager of Buccament Bay Resort, Gailene Collins-Crick, was obviously not pleased on Saturday that iWitness News was outside the resort as she came out to address workers who were into a second consecutive day of protest over non-payment of wages.
As she attempted to order iWitness News to stop recording her interaction with her staff — which was taking place on the public road outside the resort, Collins-Crick was supported by one of her supervisors who had earlier attempted to convince other supervisors to return to work, a move that the protesting workers described as “crap”.
The supervisor placed her hand in front of the IWN recording device, thereby drawing a stern rebuke.
“I understand. You take your stance,” said Collins-Crick, who in 2014 became the first Vincentian to manage the resort — after it began to experience financial problems and had shed many of the big names associated with it.
“Aye, take that out my face, please,” the Miss SVG 1977 and Miss Universe delegate 1978 who has been working at the resort since 2010 told Kenton X. Chance, executive editor of iWitness News, who was moving about behind resort staff, about 10 feet away from Collins-Crick, recording the developments on a cellular phone.
Chance did not respond but continued recording and Collins-Crick turned and walked back toward the resort.
As she did so, the supervisor who had earlier attempted to get the supervisory staff to return to work, placed her hand in front of the cellular phone, momentarily obscuring the recording.
“Miss, why are you blocking my camera?” Chance asked the supervisor.
“Just let her talk!” the supervisor said, without saying in what way Chance had prevented the manager from addressing the workers.
“I am in a public place; she is in a public place. I am not infringing on her rights. She can’t stop me from doing this,” Chance said.
The supervisor did not get any support from her colleagues, who told her that her actions were wrong, even as another one noted the attitude of the manager.
“I hope you ain’t take off the camera,” one worker told Chance.
“He is doing you all a favour by recording what she is saying. If she breach that contract, then you have that. So don’t think you owe her anything… She owe you all long enough,” said another worker who spoke with a non-Vincentian accent.
Earlier, the supervisor had called the workers together and had told iWitness News as she did so, “Can you finish with that for us please?” — in reference to the recording.
“Well, this is a public place,” Chance responded, as one of the workers said calmly, “Let him tape it.”
Chance, who has reported on similar developments at the resort this year, had responded on Saturday to multiple private requests via social media from workers at the resort since Friday — when the protest started — to report on the development.
When the supervisor had gotten the workers together, she said, “Unity?”
“Is strength!” the workers responded.
“People, do not point fingers, do not call any names,” the supervisor said and proceeded to tell the workers to say what they want to say, if they want.
“If you decide you are going to do this, be strong; be one body; support your manager; support your supervisor.”
She went on to tell the workers that she had asked all the supervisors who were there to go over to the resort.
“You, the line staff, you stay here. You wait until the evening shift comes in and you decide what you are going to do,” she said and further urged the staff to be peaceful.
“Whatever the circumstances, it will come back to you; it is left to you to say whether you are going to stand still or if you are going to change and move forward. And when I say everybody, I mean everybody. I don’t want to hear that some are over here (outside the resort) and some are over there (inside the resort).
“Supervisors who are here this morning, please go over… You can go and sit it out. If your managers ask you to do anything, then you do what you are supposed to. Line staff, stay here,” the supervisor said.
“This ah crap,” one woman said.
“It is not crap. It’s a meaning,” the negotiating supervisor said as murmuring began to break out.
“The law is there to support everybody. That is why I said we stand as one. So, if anything happen, you the staff, you are the body. You have your supervisors’ back. It’s no pointing,” she said as the meeting broke out in chaos.
A tour operator at the resort said that what the supervisor was saying “is not right”.
“What she is saying there is totally irrelevant. It has no bearing pertaining to the strike whatsoever,” he said, adding that he does not support the suggestion and that he knows the rules and regulations “pertaining to what she is trying to do.
“It’s a diplomatic work strategy. To be honest, it is totally irrelevant to the bearing of the people here who are fighting for their money… Like she says in the beginning, unity is strength. But unity is not supervisor going back inside to justify what? It’s a strategy.”
The supervisor, who declined to give her name, later told iWitness News that a meeting was called and the staff decided that they would strike.
“The intention is standing for everybody, standing as one. The law is there, it there to support everybody and we cannot go wrong in doing this.”
Regarding her suggestion that the supervisory staff go to the resort but not do anything, she said, “It is because they are part of management”.
“That is just the way I see it because I know they are a part of management, there is a level as to what they can do.”