With majority of its advertisers already pulled out, terminated telephone service and unpaid staff, Radio Saint Lucia (RSL) is now on its last leg of existence.
General Secretary Claude Paul of the union representing the station’s staff, the Civil Service Association (CSA), wants government to settle employee payments and indicate its “definite plans” for RSL.
Government decided to close the radio station because of over $3 million in losses and hundreds of thousands in unpaid taxes.
At a pre-cabinet press briefing on July 10, Broadcast Minister Dominic Fedee said that the entire situation is expected to be finalised by month-end, by which time the station will be liquidated.
The CSA general secretary said: “We surely would like them to be paid. They have not been paid for the month of June. In addition, we would like the government to indicate what its definite plans are for Radio St. Lucia, in so far as [the] closing down of the entity, and of course, to meet the obligations to the staff in terms of terminal benefits.”
He lamented working conditions at the station and said that things got worse after government announced the impending closure. Staff have been continuing to show up for work on a daily basis, despite the closure announcement.
“… If you try to call Radio St. Lucia as of now you will get a telephone message saying ‘this service is temporarily disconnected.’ But apart from that… they have problems with a leaking roof, and certainly the management confirmed yesterday that they do not have the financial wherewithal to meet the commitment to the staff in terms of their salaries,” he said.
“So it’s really a situation which I think has been brought on by government’s announcement that the radio station would be closed. Advertisers who would normally be a source of revenue for the station have dried up I understand to less than five clients at the moment,” he added.
A government-established committee was formed to review the station and determine a way forward for the facility ahead of the closure decision.
The results of that report, according to Paul, have yet to be communicated to the union.
“I have not seen that report, this has not been shared with us and so we remain in the same position of not knowing what government intends to do,” he said, reiterating that he wants to see payment made to staff in this “unhappy” situation.