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MARIA BRADSHAW, [email protected]


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EMOTIONS RAN HIGH yesterday evening at the meeting called by management of Chaps Restaurants Ltd. to formally inform 149 dismissed employees about the abrupt shutdown of its three high-end restaurants.

Still reeling from the shock many of them received at 6 a.m. yesterday that the three restaurants – Cin Cin By The Sea, Primo Bar & Bistro and Hugo’s Barbados – had been closed, several of the former employees flew off the handle especially when they were informed by chief executive officer of Chaps, Joanne Pooler, that the National Insurance Department might have to pay them severance.

Cin Cin was in operation at Prospect, St James; Primo Bar & Bistro in St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church, and Hugo’s in Speightstown, St Peter.

In an early morning memo, Pooler had told staff it was no longer financially viable to keep the restaurants open. She said Government taxes, competition and a decline in visitor spend had negatively impacted the businesses.

The impasse even saw Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds, Cabinet colleague Marsha Caddle and other Government officials meeting with Pooler at Cin Cin in the afternoon in a bid to address the matter.

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