Screen_Shot_2014-02-21_at_8.14.06_PMA few weeks ago the Statistical Institute of Belize reported a decrease in unemployment rate. The report showed that unemployment went from 16.1% in September of 2012 to 14.2%. But the tonight SIB can kiss that figure goodbye because, after being in full operation for almost 10 years, the Golden Princess Casino. Located near the Corozal Commercial Free Zone, closed its doors today leaving more than 130 men and women jobless. It all happened in the blink of an eye. As reporter Victor Castillo found out, the news took employees by surprise and left them in shock.


Castillo – Reporting

Unaware of what lay ahead, the men and women employed by the Golden Princess Casino, located in the area of the Corozal Commercial Free Zone, adhered to the memo placed on the company’s bulletin board: they were to attend a very important meeting in one of the company’s conference rooms at 11:00 this morning.

Little did they know that they were about to be given there walking papers, meaning, they would find themselves jobless in these hard times as the owners of the casino decided to close their operations. It was a little before midday when over two hundred workers walked out of the casino unemployed. They did so with total confusion as reality settled in.

Victor Castillo - Reporter

“Que fue que les dijeron en esta junta con los gerentes esta mañana?”

Former Worker – Golden princess Casino

“Nos dijeron que está cerrando y que no pueden hacer nada, que se nos va a pagar cuando seas el tiempo.”

“They decide that they will close the Casino so we can’t do anything else, they decide they are the bosses to close the Casino and today it affected us a lot because they let go roughly I would say over a hundred and something people today, so we are just waiting to see now where we go from here and the next step is to see if they are going to pay us what they owe us. Most of us are here for a long time, me am here for eleven years, so we just want to see if they are going to pay us our money because if not then we need to move on and follow up and see what will happen.”

Victor Castillo - Reporter

“Was there a motive why or did they give you a reason as to why they are closing down the business?”

Former Worker – Golden princess Casino

“Well, they just said that they can’t afford it and it is too expensive and they don’t have money to keep the Casino going and the rent was too high and that was their excuse for lying off the workers, but they will still open a next Casino in Chetumal and I don’t see the sense because they will still go and hire other people when they already have it here working.”

Victor Castillo - Reporter

“But now, I understand did you knew about this closing prior to today’s date, in other words what I mean to says is that were you all aware that this Casino was going to close today?”

Former Worker – Golden princess Casino

“Well it was only rumours that we were hearing, we heard rumours that came from customers and they were telling us that they heard that they were going to close the Casino and the manager had a meeting before this one and he had told us that he will not close the Casino and he said that if he would close the Casino the live game department would not be toughed and that was not true because he did let go from the live game department.”

Victor Castillo - Reporter

“Weren’t you given any notice or any two weeks’ notice or nothing?”

Former Worker – Golden princess Casino

“We were not given any notice and we just came to the meeting today and they said to us to go and check in the staff room they will have a list saying who is staying and who will not stay, so we didn’t get any two weeks’ notice, we didn’t get anything.”

The staff of the Live Game Department was not the only ones who lost their job today. So did waitresses, security personnel, slot attendants, receptionist, technicians and the list goes on.  All in all the Golden Princess Casino provided jobs for 270 employees out of that amount more than 130 were laid off.

While we were at the scene we managed to capture when some of the gambling machines were being moved to Princess Casino, the parent company of Golden Princess Casino.

Our attempts to get an interview with the owners or a member of the Board of Directors proved fruitless as we were informed that will all be engaged in meetings for the rest of the day. The truth is though, that as night settles in, uncertainty remains as the economic impact of the closing of the Golden Princess Casino is yet to be felt here in the north.

Golden Princess Casino first opened its doors back in 2006. We will have more on this story on Monday’s Newscast.

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