Final Employee Terminations Scheduled for March 9 at Graeme Hall

Employees and contractors will be permanently terminated at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary on March 9 in accordance with the employee severance laws of Barbados.    This action follows the closure of the Sanctuary on December 15, 2008 when approximately 85 employees and contractors were notified of the layoff.

Under the law, Sanctuary employees must receive their final severance notice within 13 weeks of the December 15 layoff.

“It will be a sad day indeed,” said Stuart Heaslet, representative for owner Peter Allard.   “We hope there will be a last minute reprieve not just for the employees but also for the contractors, subcontractors, taxi drivers and tour operators who have relied on the Sanctuary for revenue.”

Heaslet added that hard-working employees and contractors who put their hearts and souls into the Sanctuary made it a first class environmental education centre.     

“Everything you see at the Sanctuary has been built and run by Barbadians.   For example, we've got a bronze plaque at the Sanctuary with 525 names of local people who literally put their brains and muscle to work here at the Graeme Hall Swamp to build and preserve this environmental centre.  It was brutal work, under extremely difficult conditions, but what I saw happen was a perfect blend of Bajan art, design and technical skill come together to create one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen.”

“The Sanctuary is a true Barbadian creation, through and through, and I would work with that team anywhere in the world to build an international-class park,” said Heaslet who oversaw creation and operation of the Sanctuary before turning it over to Harry Roberts, General Manager.

Sanctuary officials confirmed that there was still no word from Government on their intentions regarding the future of the Sanctuary.

At the direction of Allard, all wedding dates that had been scheduled after December 15 are or have been honored.  The Sanctuary had been one of the more affordable venues in Barbados for weddings and special events.  

Saying that that the future of the Sanctuary and Graeme Hall National Park is in the hands of the Government of Barbados, Allard believes that the Friends of Graeme Hall and the citizens of Barbados must decide what their priorities are.  “We have great affection and regard for the people of Barbados.  This has been an incredibly painful and saddening decision, but ultimately it is not for us to initiate or set national goals and long term environmental legacies for the nation.”

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