After over 20 years of offering construction, demolition, excavation and site clearing services in Barbados, Black Bess Quarry Ltd. has filed for bankruptcy, leaving dozens of workers on the breadline.
On January 7th, 2020 staff received a memo signed by Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Manning titled Notification of Company Insolvency. In it, they were informed of the company’s decision to apply to the court for an assignment, which means that shareholders “have declared the company bankrupt”.
The letter further explained the company’s final decision was based on its failure to turn a profit last year after a number of years of continuously “losing money”. Efforts to reach Manning have so far been unsuccessful.
But a source close to the situation told Barbados TODAY the company’s decision will also affect over two dozen employees working with “outside equipment”. At the company’s St. Peter corporate offices workers are still in place as a trustee appointed by the Supervisor of Insolvency takes over the company’s affairs. But it’s only a matter of time before they part ways with the company as well.
“In terms of your continued role with the company, we regret to inform you that we will be unable to keep you under further employment, and will endeavour to meet all statutory commitments with regard to your financial entitlements,” the statement said.
It further disclosed: “Going forward, the company’s affairs will hereafter be governed by a Trustee appointed by the Supervisor of Insolvency. Any matters of concern will be dealt with as the process evolves, under the instruction of the trustee; however, we will do our best to keep staff informed as we go through this difficult situation.
We would sincerely like to thank you for your many years in the company, and wish you further success and opportunities for the future,” the letter concluded.
Workers reportedly received no severance payments from the company and in the meantime, are hoping to receive it in a timely manner from the National Insurance Scheme along with their unemployment benefits. They have also been sent home without payment in lieu of notice or vacation payment.
On the Black Bess Group of companies’ website, Black Bess Quarry Ltd. is not listed. However, Black Bess Construction Ltd. is listed as a company offering civil works, earthworks and infrastructural contracting. According to sources close to the situation, the latter is now performing many of the same services offered under the now bankrupt company.
In the 1990’s the Black Bess Group closed the doors of RM Construction Ltd. and later opened the now bankrupt Black Bess Quarry Ltd. which continued to offer many of the services offered by its predecessor. Since then, owner Roger Manning opened RM consultancy which performs many of the same services.
“Many of these companies are doing basically the same things, but when one company falls apart, they still have other companies to replace them doing the same type of business,” the source told Barbados TODAY.
The affected worker also expressed some concern about whether the money collected from them for national insurance payments and income tax via government’s Pay as Your Earn (PAYE) system was being paid in. [email protected]