Premier Rufus Ewing is on record as saying he learned of the buyout of the Veranda Resort by Beaches only after it was completed by Governor Ric Todd.
However, statements by Beaches CEO Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart seem to contradict this assertion and confirm that Ewing and his PNP team were well aware at an earlier date of the plan to buy the resort.
The acquisition of the Veranda Resort is now giving Beaches the lion’s share of the Grace Bay stretch of resorts on Providenciales, the TCI's most populated island.
The acquisition is being celebrated by Stewart, who has issued a number of complimentary statements regarding his view of the Turks and Caicos brand as a premier location.
Employment, however, has been an issue with Beaches, which had employed some 750 Jamaican workers who reside in Beaches-owned accomodation and do not rent from locals. The Veranda has announced it will dismiss its entire staff and will interview a portion of the employees for rehire. Some will be retired with a severance pay.
In his public statements, Stewart praised both Todd and Ewing with assisting with the purchase. Speaking from his Sandals Star awards ceremony, Stewart said, ”I wish to thank Governor Todd, Premier Ewing and the entire democratically elected cabinet with their ongoing support which made this acquisition possible.”
Sources had reported that, prior to the purchase announcement, Ewing was seen boarding a Beaches-owned plane bound for Grand Turk, reportedly with Stewart aboard.
Ewing said he will now monitor the situation and ask for a memorandum of understanding to assure that unemployed Turks and Caicos Islanders have equal employment opportunities.