AN ARTIST’s impression of the Royal Caribbean project.
BY LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
ATLANTIS president Audrey Oswell said the resort is happy that Royal Caribbean International’s Paradise Island project has been given the go-ahead now that all environmental concerns have been addressed, adding: “Atlantis was never against the Royal Caribbean project.”
“We did not change our position against the Royal Caribbean project,” Ms Oswell said when asked about the resort’s position on RCI’s proposed development.
Atlantis had been one of the project’s staunchest critics.
“All we did was express their environmental concerns to both Royal Caribbean and to the government. Once we expressed those environmental concerns, both Royal Caribbean and the government gave us the word that they would work to address those concerns and we’re pleased to say that they have in their plans and presentation, the DEP,” she said.
“We raised additional questions. We received the answers to those questions and we are both thankful and recognise and acknowledge that they made significant changes and alterations to their original plans for the beach day project responding to the environmental concerns that were addressed by us so we’re pleased that they addressed them. We’re happy to see the project going forward and we have not changed our position.”
Last month, the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection advised Royal Caribbean that it had “substantively addressed the environmental concerns” relating to the project and can now proceed to the next step of the approvals process which involves submission of its Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for review by the same agency.
According to Ms Oswell, RCI’s original plan included ocean works, which she said concerned Atlantis.
However, she said those plans have since been changed.
Yesterday, Ms Oswell was also asked about the results of the Department of Labour’s investigation into complaints from employees who felt “pressured and intimidated” to stand against RCI’s proposed Paradise Island Beach Club project.
“Nothing ever came of that,” she said. “We are very respectful of our employees. There is no one here that intimidated our employees or ask them to do something inappropriate so I think all of that was blown out of proportion by people that just like to have some frenzy in the media.”
Nonetheless, she said Atlantis has always enjoyed a good relationship with labour officials and also wished Pia Glover Rolle, the incoming Minister of Labour, the best in her role.
“We had great relationship with all previous ministers of labour, including Minister Bell, so there’s always going to be questions, disagreements when you have 6,000 employees and for the ministry, overseeing so many different employers. There’s always going to be questions and we don’t mind questions as long as they’re fair and the response is fair.”