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Cake Shop’s future placed on a knife edge

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The Cake Shop on Curving Avenue, Pembroke (File photograph)

A struggling bakery business has been given one last chance to make full restitution of money it owes to former employees.

Cake Shop Limited, which operates an outlet on Curving Avenue in Pembroke, is before the Supreme Court of Bermuda on a winding-up petition brought by former employees Chittababu Narayanasamy, Janaarthanan Jawar, Udayakumar Santhananam, and Mahipal Singh.

The petition was launched under section 162 of the Companies Act on the basis that the company is unable to pay its debts, as and when they fall due.

A fifth former employee, Prinol Dias, is not a petitioner, but supports the making of a winding-up order.

Together, the five former staff members were owed $58,114.93 in respect of unpaid overtime, unauthorised deductions of wages, outstanding wages, and constructive unfair dismissal.

At the first hearing of the matter last month, Puisne Judge Larry Mussenden granted an adjournment on the basis that payments would be made by the company on January 21, January 30 and February 15. A final payment was to be made on February 28 in order to satisfy the debts in full.

The matter was back in the Supreme Court on Friday before Chief Justice Narinder Hargun.

Narinder Hargun, the Chief Justice (File photograph)

David Kessaram, representing the petitioners, said some payments had been made to his clients but a payment on February 15 fell roughly $15,200 short of what was due.

He said the amount that remained owing was $34,319.27.

Marc Daniels, representing Cake Shop, said his client had made payments of $3,703.50 on January 20; $2,833.32 on January 27; and $7,059.70 on February 15.

He told the court that the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation was working with Cake Shop, but had been unable to make payments finalised by the time of Friday’s hearing.

Mr Daniels said: “My client held out on the basis that the BEDC would make payments today of the outstanding $34,000.”

He said his client had “done everything he can to make the payments”.

Mr Daniels said Cake Shop owner Shawn Thomas had been making payments out of his own pocket while he “awaits the BEDC to make payments as promised. He is asking for additional time to April to make full restitution”.

Mr Kessaram said he sought clarification regarding whether the BEDC had promised the money “or is it a possibility and only that”?

Ruling, Mr Justice Hargun said: “The court is minded to give one last chance. If payment is not made by the end of April, the company will be wound up.”

Mr Justice Hargun told Mr Daniels that he must write to Mr Kessaram regarding his client’s position with respect to the BEDC and “whether it is a firm commitment, and what has been done”.

The matter was adjourned to April 29.

Mr Justice Hargun said there would be no further adjournment.