Ex-Horizon employee files papers for company to pay outstanding wages


Ex-Horizon employee files papers for company to pay outstanding wages | Insurance Business America

Firm has failed to secure backing from the fund conceptualized by reinsurance execs


Kenneth Araullo

A former executive of Horizon Communications, which has been in receivership since January 5, has initiated legal action to enforce a tribunal judgment for unpaid wages.

Ross Barkwell, previously serving as the chief of business development at Horizon, was terminated following the company’s cessation of operations on June 26.

As per a report from The Royal Gazette, Barkwell is seeking to recover $65,635, which represents his severance pay, holiday pay, and fees due to early termination. The claim originated from a hearing held in June by the Employment and Labour Relations Tribunal, attended by Teneo, the appointed receiver, and legal representatives.

The situation at Horizon Communications escalated when the staff was laid off on January 12, following the company’s financial difficulties attributed to its inability to secure funding from its lender, the Bermuda Investment Fund managed by Fortress Investment Group. The fund, conceptualized by senior executives in Bermuda’s reinsurance industry, was presented to the Progressive Labour Party government, which subsequently took a seat on the board.

During the hearing, Teneo stated that the available funds were insufficient to cover payments, as Horizon was still in the process of being wound up. Despite Horizon’s failure to present a defense and the receiver’s claim of inadequate funds, Barkwell proceeded to file papers with the Supreme Court in September to enforce the tribunal’s judgment. Horizon was served with the Supreme Court documents but did not respond.

According to Horizon’s former CEO, secured creditors, including the lender, were prioritized for payment. If surplus funds remained, they would be allocated to unsecured creditors, such as employees.

The tribunal’s judgment acknowledged its limited case management powers but confirmed that Horizon had been duly notified of both the preliminary hearing and Barkwell’s claim for unpaid wages. In the absence of a response from Horizon, the tribunal awarded a judgment against the company for $65,635. This judgment can be enforced in the Supreme Court as a civil debt under section 44C(2) of the Employment Act 2000.

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