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Hotel explains job advert after PLP outcry

PLP's Walton Brown

Hotel bosses have defended a job advert that sparked an angry response from the Progressive Labour Party.

The advert for a bar chef “to develop a new cocktail menu” appeared in last week’s Royal Gazette and stated: “This is a non-paid position in exchange for a week of room and board.” Walton Brown, the Shadow Minister for Immigration, has called on The Reefs to withdraw the advert, describing it as a “flawed direction in the hiring process”.

But Nagma Walker, general manager of the South Shore hotel, said The Reefs was committed to the development of Bermudians. “We would like to clarify some of the questions around our recent ad for a bar chef,” she said.

“We are in the process of redesigning our restaurant and bar concept.

“During our discussions, we wanted to further develop our Bermudian bartenders. We explored a few options, including sending some overseas for training. It made more economical sense to train them all on-site.

”Our executive chef worked with a renowned bar chef, who offered to come in for a few days to do this in exchange for room and board.

“We contacted Immigration and were advised to advertise for this position.

“We welcome any qualified bar chef on the Island to contact us if they are interested in this short-term opportunity to train and develop Bermudians.

“To emphasise, the goal of these few days is to develop and train our Bermudian bartenders, which we hope will create an enhanced bar and lounge experience for our guests here and overseas.

”The Reefs is, and always has been, committed to the development of Bermudians.

Mr Brown branded the advert as “discriminatory” yesterday, adding: “To publish an ad seeking an employee to work without monetary compensation and for merely ‘room and board’ is an affront to us all and is certainly not the behaviour expected from one of our highest-profile hotel properties, moreover, one owned by the chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

”Such actions lends credence to the argument that there are employers who are actively seeking to deny Bermudians opportunities and it cannot be that The Reefs wishes to be associated with such actions.

“We are calling on The Reefs to withdraw the ad immediately, apologise to the country for a clearly discriminatory ad and begin a genuine search to fill a needed position that is not structured to deny Bermudians an equal opportunity.”