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#486522 - 02/22/14 10:12 AM Golden Princess Casino Closing Down; 100+ Jobless?
Marty Offline

Tonight, the families of at least 130 Belizean workers in the northern part of the country are in state of financial panic after they were abruptly sent home this morning from the Golden Princess Casino located in the Corozal Commercial Free Zone. It's the kind of thing that blindsided the entire staff after a memo was sent out last night, requesting that everyone needed to attend a mandatory meeting at 11 a.m. this morning.

When everyone was congregated, the upper management delivered the news like an executive sledge hammer: they were closing down Golden Princess, and approximately only 60 of their 270 staff would be retained after the process was over.

The reasons given by the Executives at this morning's meeting were that business is slow at the establishment, the rent is too high, and there is not sufficient funds to keep casino open and employ everyone on staff.

Our colleagues at CTV3 managed to grab video of some of the equipment being moved out of the Golden Princess building, and they were reportedly being taken to the parent Princess Casino, where those 60 workers will also be transferred to as well. But, you may have caught it in our info about the number of now unemployed persons that it may be more than 130 Belizeans. There are conflicting reports, and we've not been able to confirm the actual number, but reports to 7News are that it may be as much as 210 persons who got laid off today.

To add to their worries, those workers are concerned about benefits that they are due for long years of service to the company because there has not been any conversation with them if and when they will be paid their severance package. CTV 3 News reports that they've made attempts to interview the owner and the members of the Board of Directors after the meeting, but it was to no avail.

Golden Princess Casino first opened its doors back in 2006. We'll keep following the story.

Channel 7


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#486533 - 02/22/14 10:55 AM Re: Golden Princess Casino Closing Down; 100+ Jobless? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Golden Princess Casino Closes Operation at the Corozal Northern border in Belize - 200 workers out of work

Workers at the Golden Princess Casino located near the northern border of Belize were informed that as of today they will not have a job to report to because the casino is closing its operation in Belize.

According to a worker at the Casino, they were told that the Casino has been operating at a loss and therefore has gone bankrupt. But sources in the know say – that is far from the truth.

On Wednesday, February 5th the House of Representative held an emergency meeting to amend and pass four important bills. They are the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill; the Financial Intelligence Unit (Amendment) Bill 2014; the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2014. Unlike the usual rancor that characterizes house meetings, where the “banking transparency legislations” were concerned, there was no sparring. The Opposition agreed even though they said that they didn’t like the bills.

“The reality is that we have to comply, but the more we comply, the more the standards continue to change, and in a sense, there is never satisfaction, and inevitably, in my view, it will lead to the complete undermining of the offshore sector. But, the reality is that we must comply for the protection and preservation of our banking sector,” Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca said while speaking on the bills.

“ I completely agree with the Leader of the Opposition,” Prime Minister Barrow said. “ He’s perfectly correct. We have long been complaining, and it is very discouraging. These people say this is all in an effort to achieve a greater transparency, to stop trans-national crimes and that these things are necessary to preserve our democratic way of life. But, they’re going so far, that for small countries such as ours, some of their measures are actually going to result in retarding our democracy,” Prime Minister Barrow said.

The new laws present several issues for Belize’s financial industry which does include casinos. That industry is said to have a dark side beyond its glitz, glamour and flashing lights. The casino business, it is said is a haven money launderers and human traffickers and other trans-national crimes. The new laws are more stringent and require casino owners (in this case) and their investors to declare their personal information. This quite possibly is one factor that might have chased off the casino’s operators in the north, observers told the media today.

Sources also say that the casino is simply migrating across the border to Mexico where pastures are greener and that the facility is being put up for sale. The asking price, we are told is $55 Million BZD.

According to the casino’s website, they have two hundred workers in their employ. Sixty workers were reportedly laid off and the others were greeted with the news when they arrived for work this morning. The impending close-down was rumored about two months ago however somehow the management were able to keep it secret from their employees. We have been unable to confirm what compensation settlement if any has been reached with the workers.
Photo: Feb 21 - BREAKING NEWS - Golden Princess Casino Closes Operation at the Corozal Northern border in Belize - 200 workers out of work.

Workers at the Golden Princess Casino located near the northern border of Belize were informed that as of today they will not have a job to report to because the casino is closing its operation in Belize.

According to a worker at the Casino, they were told that the Casino has been operating at a loss and therefore has gone bankrupt. But sources in the know say – that is far from the truth.

On Wednesday, February 5th the House of Representative held an emergency meeting to amend and pass four important bills. They are the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill; the Financial Intelligence Unit (Amendment) Bill 2014; the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2014. Unlike the usual rancor that characterizes house meetings, where the “banking transparency legislations” were concerned, there was no sparring. The Opposition agreed even though they said that they didn’t like the bills.

“The reality is that we have to comply, but the more we comply, the more the standards continue to change, and in a sense, there is never satisfaction, and inevitably, in my view, it will lead to the complete undermining of the offshore sector. But, the reality is that we must comply for the protection and preservation of our banking sector,” Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca said while speaking on the bills.

“ I completely agree with the Leader of the Opposition,” Prime Minister Barrow said. “ He’s perfectly correct. We have long been complaining, and it is very discouraging. These people say this is all in an effort to achieve a greater transparency, to stop trans-national crimes and that these things are necessary to preserve our democratic way of life. But, they’re going so far, that for small countries such as ours, some of their measures are actually going to result in retarding our democracy,” Prime Minister Barrow said.

The new laws present several issues for Belize’s financial industry which does include casinos. That industry is said to have a dark side beyond its glitz, glamour and flashing lights. The casino business, it is said is a haven money launderers and human traffickers and other trans-national crimes. The new laws are more stringent and require casino owners (in this case) and their investors to declare their personal information. This quite possibly is one factor that might have chased off the casino’s operators in the north, observers told the media today.

Sources also say that the casino is simply migrating across the border to Mexico where pastures are greener and that the facility is being put up for sale. The asking price, we are told is $55 Million BZD.

According to the casino’s website, they have two hundred workers in their employ. Sixty workers were reportedly laid off and the others were greeted with the news when they arrived for work this morning. The impending close-down was rumored about two months ago however somehow the management were able to keep it secret from their employees. We have been unable to confirm what compensation settlement if any has been reached with the workers.

Corozal Daily

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#486679 - 02/25/14 09:40 AM Re: Golden Princess Casino Closing Down; 100+ Jobless? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Still No Gold For Employees Of Princess Gold

Former employees from the Golden Princess Casino, who were abruptly laid off last week Friday, intend to go back to the Human Resources Department tomorrow to find out if they will be paid their severance packages for the years of service that they were employed at the company.

7News understands from solid sources that those who were terminated were promised that they would be called today, so they postponed the plan to go asking for their pay to give the former employers a chance to follow up with them.

We understand that the employers have not gotten back to them, so they will now go and seek out HR.

As we told you, reports to 7News were that over 130 employees were laid off without notice on Friday morning at around 11, and our colleagues at CTV3 were on the ground just after the news was delivered to them, and they spoke with one of the former employees. Here's what she told them about how management had ensured them job security days before they were blindsided:

Voice of former employee
"They decide that they will close the casino, so we can't do anything else. They decide they are the bosses to close the casino and today it affected us a lot because they let go roughly I would say maybe over one hundred people today, so we are just waiting to see where we go from here and the next step is to see if they are going to pay us what they owe us. Most of us are here for a long time, long years, me, I am here for 11 years, so we just want to see if they are going to pay us our money because then if not then, we need to follow up and see what will happen."

Reporter
"Was there a motive? This morning they had a meeting; did they give you a reason as to why they are closing down the business?"

Voice of former employee
"They just said that they can't afford it, it's too expensive to keep the casino going, the rent is too high - that was their excuse for laying-off the workers. But they still open another casino in Chetumal, so I don't see the sense because still they go and hire other people when they already have here working."

Reporter
"But now miss, I understand, did you all knew about this prior to today's date? Were you all aware that this casino was going to close today?"

Voice of former employee
"It was only rumors that we were hearing. It came from customers, they were telling us that they heard that they were going to close the casino and the manager did a meeting before this one and he had told us that he will not close the casino and he said that if he would close the casin0 the live game department would not be touched."

We'll of course keep following the story, and we'll attempt to speak with the management of the Casino tomorrow.

Channel 7


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#486794 - 02/26/14 09:47 AM Re: Golden Princess Casino Closing Down; 100+ Jobless? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Princess Golden Making A Run For The Border?

Since Friday, 7News has been reporting on the sudden termination of over 100 employees who were let go when the Princess Group of Companies closed down the Golden Princess Casino.

Tonight, we have a more on it, as the trail of the story led us to Chetumal. Daniel Ortiz found out more:..

Daniel Ortiz reporting
Today, we found movers clearing out the building that once was Golden Princess Casino.

From the outside, one gets the impression that it will open for business later, but it won't.

The decision to close it was delivered abruptly last week. Best reports to 7News are that around 130 Belizean employees were laid off. The reasons given were that business is bad, the rent is too high, and that the company is losing money to keep Golden Princess open.

Now, we've tried our very best to speak with the management at the Princess, but whenever we've made attempts, the persons in charge are never available.

What we've been able to piece together through our inquiries is that it was once profitable for Golden Princess to operate at the Freezone, and yes business has been slow. But, the bigger reason, we are told is that the Princess Group of Companies has decided to try its hand at a Casino in Chetumal.

Mexican authorities are relaxing restrictions on gambling, so it opened up an opportunity for a new Princess Casino in that Mexican border City - which would seem to work since most of the Princess's patrons were Mexicans.

Through extensive inquiries we were pointed in the direction where that new opportunity is coming together.

The new Princess casino is supposed to be placed here at the Hotel Arges Suite on the Avenida Lazaro Cardenas in Chetumal. As you can see it's still being built, and is few months away from completion. Through a little prodding of the Mexican construction workers, we learned that they are building a casino, though they don't know its name.

The decision may pay off for the company, but its seismic shift has profoundly affected 130 Belizean families. In one fell swoop, their livelihoods were pulled out from under them. The employees are now clamoring to have the company pay them their severance packages that are tied up in labour procedures. One such worker spoke to us about her sudden, unexpected termination,

Ester Herrera
"We were hearing rumors that they were about to close the casino. Different customers would come in and tell us, but the manager had a meeting and said that he wasn't going to close the casino and that was only rumors. The Thursday night I went to work normal, I had my night shift and when I reach work I saw that they had a memo saying that they will have a general meeting in the morning at the 11 at the casino. So the next day we all gathered at the casino at the meeting and that's when the manager said that they were going to close the casino."

"It was shocking to everybody. Even though they were hearing rumors they still wasn't sure and they kept saying that its wasn't true, so it was shocking to everybody. Well the same with me, I couldn't believe after so long that I was out of a job and from here we have to see how I move on because its hard but we have to face reality, we have to move on. It will affect for now because I have my kids and both of them are on their way going to college, so it will affect."

Those employees who were laid off are still waiting to be paid their severance packages.

Channel 7


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