Ritz developer cuts jobs

| 06/01/2011

(CNS): Both Caymanian and ex-pat workers have been let go at Orion Development Ltd this week, officials confirmed today. Sources told CNS on Tuesday that a significant number of redundancies had been made by the developer of the Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman and the proposed Dragon Bay project, Michael Ryan, who is the owner of Orion. Although a spokesperson for Orion said that the Dragon Bay project is still going ahead, other sources told CNS that most of the people who lost their jobs this week were connected to that planned development. The developer has not revealed how many jobs and which roles were lost but admitted that Caymanians as well as foreign workers had been in the firing line. (Photo of Dragon Bay site by Dennie Warren Jr)

In an email to CNS in response to enquiries about the redundancies, Orion said that it had made a consistent effort to retain as many Caymanian members of staff as possible. “No Caymanians were let go from our main office staff and the minimum possible from field staff,” the firm owned by Ryan stated. CNS has asked Orion to clarify what that figure is and is awaiting a response.

“The job losses resulted from a review of the business and the decision to end duplicating services that the hotel can and does offer. The realignment does not affect the Dragon Bay development or our capacity to deliver to our owners, in fact we expect to see an improved and streamlined operation going forward,” the company said.

The spokesperson added that the company would be focusing on its core business of marketing and selling the real estate, managing the hotel assets and focusing on the ongoing development work on Dragon Bay. “We are transferring ancillary services to the hotel – including the boat and car operations, and oversight of the properties’ strata programmes,” she said.

The email went on to state, “The realignment does not affect the Dragon Bay development or our capacity to deliver to our owners. In fact we expect to see an improved and streamlined operation going forward.”

The spokesperson said the Dragon Bay project had always been a long term project, and has been planned that way. “We made the decision to realign and refocus our business to improve and strengthen our core capacity to move the Dragon Bay project forward,” the spokesperson stated.

Although Orion offered few official details on the number and type of jobs lost, sources told CNS that on Tuesday lunchtime most of the administration staff, as well as the construction and sales teams working on the Dragon Bay project had been let go.

In May last year CNS revealed that Ryan had given the go ahead, in accordance with the planning permission that he had been granted, to remove over 378,000 square feet of mangrove buffer zone along the North Sound shore in preparation for the work on Dragon Bay .

At the time Ken Crews from Orion Development told CNS that the goal was to replant a new 50 foot buffer of red mangroves out into the ocean. CNS has also made enquiries with the developer about the future of this replenishment project.

More recently, in September, it was revealed in the Legislative Assembly that Ryan had stopped making quarterly payments to the public purse on deferred duties which were now owed. It was revealed that the developer had asked the Cayman Islands government for an extension on the payment plan for his other development firms, Stingray and Condo Co., on some $6milllion in connection with the development of the Ritz Carlton.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The posters on this website are depressing – I pretty much stopped reading it a few months ago and I think I will give it up completely now.

    I swear that most of the people posting are against any private or public initiative and are actually happy when something goes badly.

    Life is too short to waste on people like that.



    • Anonymous says:

       To be summed up as "Don’t think critically about anything, ignorance is bliss!"

  2. Rolf says:

    Cayman put up the rollover and everyone said don’t grow any roots here expat, because you’re leaving in a few years. 

    So the expats stayed portable and stopped investing money into thelocal economy of Cayman so they could be ready when it was time to leave, and here we all are.  The expats and their money are safely back home (or on other islands), and Cayman has preserved itself for Caymanians with their beloved rollover.

    No real surprises, right?

  3. turtle stew says:

    This ship is springing some serious leaks – get off while you can!!!  The Cayman Islands are not the be all and end all…  Let’s see how you manage without the expats Mr. Miller et al.  Sionara!

    • Anonymous says:

      Be safe on your way back home than!

    • Anonymous says:

      Let me help you with your bags sir.  And after that I will help the one coming in to replace you.  Perhaps he or she will have the attitude we want.

    • Anonymous says:

      The economic life boats are for first class passengers only. The rest of us go down with the good ship Cayman.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps Mr Ryan is simply shifting the costs of his new project to be borne by his profitable enterprise, a strategy which should not be unfamiliar to anyone with a sense commercial realities, just ask the creditors of the locally bled out Hadsphaltic subsidiary.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is this just a start of decline.

    cayman goverment have to stop thinking about temporary releif, belive me this duty exemption,fee’s cut, roll over policy will catch our throat soon.’

    think broadways,if companies here are to stay,they need their office and employee stability,no matter he is local or expat.

    hope other companies dont follow the  foot mark and more people get unemployed.

    This overburdening policies like rollover and instabilty of companies of our cayman  are directly bomming economy of St.Martin,bahamas,bermuda,dubai etc.Companies along with their expat staff offer  good remuneration and  migrating  to other countries living us stranded here .

    we need more changes in immigration employment policies.so we can genrate more revenue for our country and get back  the old sweet days of cayman.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Damn Mac that was one hellova stimulus initiative !

  7. SICK AND TIRED OF THE B...S... says:

    Good Heavens, how could this possibly have happened, especially when we remember how successful the old Costa Rican venture was……… XXX

    Meanwhile, would Government please advise what steps they intend to take to enforce Mr. Ryan’s guarantee to replace the natural mangrove buffer zone he ripped out AND, how they expect to recover the millions of dollars owed by him.

    With rumours about the Westin closeure and now, what has been touted as the most successful Seven Mile Beach development laying off staff, it is not a very encouraging environment for potential overseas investors.

    • Get a clue says:

      What in the world are you talking about?  Mike Ryan doesn’t run the Ritz-Carlton, the Ritz-Carlton does and the hotel has been SLAMMED so far this high season.  Are you trying to liken the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman with a failed Costa Rican venture? That’s idiocy. Everyone on this island should be thankful that  Ryan built the Ritz-Carlton because without it, our tourism product would be in sad, sad shape.  Just because Ryan lays off a small number of staff because Dragon Bay isn’t selling right now, doesn’t mean the project is a failure.

      Furthermore, just because there was a foreclosure on the Westin doesn’t mean it will close. The last thing a financial institution wants is a hotel that isn’t bringing in any money.



      • Anonymous says:

        "The last thing a financial institution wants is a hotel that isn’t bringing in any money".

        Right. There aren’t any closed hotels around here!

      • Anonymous says:

         The Ritz-Carlton _was_ detrimental to the tourist product of Cayman because of its impact on the building height limits on seven mile beach thanks to McKeeva.  You have not been living here long enough to make comments.

        • Anonymous says:

          "The Ritz-Carlton _was_ detrimental to the tourist product of Cayman because of its impact on the building height limits on seven mile beach thanks to McKeeva"

          Are you mental? Do you honestly think that Cayman could compete with other tourist destinations in the region without a property like the Ritz? Our tourist industry would be in far, far worse shape without the Ritz . There are plenty of beautiful islands in the Caribbean with white sandy beaches and crystal blue water, but there is only one Ritz. We should be proud that it is here!

        • Frank says:

           So you’re saying Cayman’s tourism product would be better off without the Ritz-Carlton?  I don’t think you have enough brain cells to make comments.

          • Anonymous says:

             Yes, again, because it was detrimental to Seven Mile Beach due to the changes in building height.  It went from 3 stories, to 7, now possibly 10.  Maybe you should take a look at the older photos of the beach and compare it to now.

            • Devil's advocate says:

              First of all, the Ritz didn’t go from 3 to 7 stories.  There were other buildings (the Hyatt for instance) that were 5 stories.  It’s true that the Ritz was the first building to go from 5 to 7, but so what?  Seven stories is what is needed to justify the land cost of Seven Mile Beach.  It’s not like it’s a 40-floor skyscraper.    Besides that, what does the way Seven Mile Beach used to look have to do with the tourists coming here today?  Cayman used to attract 150,000 stay-over tourists in a good year. Is that what you’d like to return to? Your all-to-typical-of-old-folks "let’s keep things they way they used to be" philosophy is passe and the youth of this country want nothing to do with it. The horse bolted the shed a long time ago. Thank goodness for the Ritz-Carlton.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not entirely sure that is correct.  From the website:

      The Residences At The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman are not owned, developed, or sold by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
      The developer uses the Ritz-Carlton marks under license from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

  8. Anonymous says:

    yep…mac’s stimulus package is taking effect….

  9. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps if the developer was not "pushed over the edge" to pay millions of dollars in governmental duties, the monies could have went towards keeping many of them employed.

    • Anonymous says:

      He hasn’t paid the duty.

      But I hear he owns a nice airplane.  

    • Anonymous says:

      He has had the biggest and longest breaks and he is so wealthy!  Those types of breaks help break a country.

      The mangrove buffer – broken also, to the detriment of the environment.

      These people come to take and when there is nothing left they move on.

      Better remember Costa Rica!

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it fair for him to be exempt from having to pay duties when many Caymanians have to pay exorbitant duties/government fees when they are in a less favorable financial position than him? Should we just allow him to live a life of luxury without having to pay up his obligations?

  10. Chris Johnson says:

    I was wondering how this company seemed to be recession proof when all others were be sufferring. Rather looks like smoke and mirrors to me with no real action.

    • Michel lemay says:

      Chris, you called that one right. And he leased the land for 99 years for little or nothing, and many many concessions on duty in the past and still owing money. Your guess is definatly better then mine on this one!

      Respecfully, Michel

  11. Anonymous says:

    I dont see why any Caymanians need to be let go, the Ritz has way to many expatriate workers and I do not believe for one minute is it because Caymanians are not skilled enough or don’t want to work.  I know of one case where an expatriate was promoted to a manager position without advertising for a Caymanian.  I reported this to immigration too.

    • Anonymous says:

      "I know of one case where an expatriate was promoted to a manager position without advertising for a Caymanian".

      Maybe it was because in this case the expat was deemed management material and the Ritz did what they believed was in the best interest of their organisation and promoted him/her. What is wrong with that?


      • Anonymous says:

        Its unlawful – Companies are legally bound to seek Caymanians.  If you dont even advertise it is a clear breach

        • Anonymous says:

          you are so right 19:38 post…but one thing here. Money talks louder than laws.

        • Anonymous says:

          "Companies are legally bound to seek Caymanians"


      • Foxtrot Oscar says:

        You have not been here long have you?  Things like merit or good business sense are not the most important factors when considering promotion issues in the Principality of Entitlementa.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yep – and there are many companies on this island, run by Caymanians that employ Caymanians and are very very succesful.  The growth of the economy is such that we need to hire foreign labour to continue growing it, but all they seem to do is complain that they dont have same entitlement as they perhaps would have where they came from.  We clearly state before they come that they have 7 years to make their money and have a very nice entry to put on their resume.  If they prove to be of indispensible use we give them key status and a chance to make this their permanent home.

          Stop complaining, make your money and respect the country that is providing for you.

        • Anonymous says:

          "Things like merit or good business sense are not the most important factors when considering promotion issues in the Principality of Entitlementa".

          It’s a madhouse, a madhouse! – Charlton Heston

    • Anonymous says:

      keep up the good work… you will soon attain victory in your crusade and there will be no foreign workers here. 

      • Anonymous says:

        ‘Crusade?’  I didn’t say anything of the sort.  If I worked in a foreign country I would be expected to comply with all laws including immigration laws.  Immigration laws and policies are there to make sure it is controlled and rightly so.  As for your comment of no foreign workers being here, there is always one waiting to replace one and with a world population of 6 billion there is a lot of choice.  I think we will run out of foreign workers at about the same time as the sun burns out and then it wont matter.

        Work here and enjoy your time here and the money you make here.  I am going to make an assumption that foreigners don’t just come here for the sun andsand.   You are living a good life otherwise you would not be here.  I welcome you, but I wont stand by and say nothing whenmy fellow qualified Caymanian is stifled.  It is OUR RIGHT! 

        • Anonymous says:

           "I wont stand by and say nothing when my fellow qualified Caymanian is stifled.  It is OUR RIGHT"! 

          It is not a question of stifling the rights of Caymanians. Everyone should  have the same right to compete equally and fairly regardless of their country of origin. If Caymanians can’t compete on a even playing field, then that is a failure of your education system and your LEADERS!

          • Anonymous says:

            When the Caymanian and Expat are equal in qualifications, skills etc., and the expat gets the job, and the Caymanian is not employed now and gets assistance/hand-outs from friends, family and maybe Social Services (that is funded by the rest of us Caymanians), what is your opinion then?

            • Anonymous says:

              Even when the Caymanian and the expat are equal in qualifications, when you take into account the hassle and expense of going through the work permit system, the Caymanian still has the edge. Are Caymanians really that unemployable – as some (in your own government) have suggested?

          • Anonymous says:

             It is not about country of origin, it is about country of association. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Like following the rule of law is a bad thing 

        • Foxtrot Oscar says:

          A stirring argument to support apartheid there.

        • Anonymous says:

          "Like following the rule of law is a bad thing"

          Good men must not obey the laws too much – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

          • Anonymous says:

            Its all about context.  Most people/businesses opt in to these laws by moving here. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Having no foreign workers here is an important issue BUT having Caymanians out of work is MOST important and this should not happen.  Caymanians must have priority. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    Those Caymanians who bitch on the talk shows and the blogs will soon see their dream come true as foreigners remove their investment money and themselves from this increasingly hostile-to-foreign money and non born Caymanians country. But they can always check with Ezzard. He’ll find them jobs chopping logwood, coaching quadrille dancing and weaving thatch palm, just like in the  good old days.

    • Anonymous says:

      Same old garbage.  Expatriates are here not just to ‘save’ us as many of you might think.   Yes – we need foreigners in the workforce, but we don’t beg you to come here, we make it attractive for you to come here, so please have some respect for the country you work in that provides for you and many of your people back home where you send your money.  Caymanians must always come first, this is our country.  We would like you to join us in our work force, but we provide you with a good life, so please respect that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those people who chopped logwood, coached quadrile dancing and wove thatch palm were hardworking, decent people, so please stop discrediting the Caymanian heritage.

      Try to learn about  and appreciate the country that is giving you an opportunity to make a decent, tax free living and stop disparaging your host country

    • anonymous says:

      Yep,but you know what. Less is sometime more. We’ll miss you and don’t call back. You are surpassing your borderies.People like you, I hope they bury you with your money and come to think of it go play in the snow for a while making snowman and write Caymanian on it and throw snowballs at it you moron.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So much for destroying the mangroves…thank you Mr Ryan.