Archive | TOURISM


LIAT pilots apologise for inconvenience, outline new agreement

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Jun 13, CMC – The President of the Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIAPLA), Captain Carl Burke, has apologised to the travelling public in the Caribbean after pilots refused to fly the ATR72 aircraft operated by the regional carrier, LIAT, over salary increases.

“Well first of all, with the most recent situation which took place last week, I want to apologize to any persons that were inconvenienced and I want to give them all reassurance that the pilots normally, usually exhaust all means of negotiations with LIAT….,” Burke told WINN FM radio station here.

LIATTHe told radio listeners the LIAPLA had brought in an attorney to assist it with the negotiations and that “there was a deal that was brokered in the Attorney General Labour Minister’s office on the 24th of May and we thought that would have put the matter of negotiations to bed.

“Unfortunately the company did not follow through, or wrote us on the second of June indicating that they could not meet to some of the terms and conditions which were agreed to, but in general before any action is considered we always try to exhaust all means of negotiations that are arriving at….

“We just don’t take action like that and in this case the pilots had no alternative than to stop flying the ATR 72, I think that they could be viewed as being reasonable that they were negotiating a rate of pay for an aircraft that is not covered under your contract for four years, I think four years is a long time,” Burke said.

According to LIAT, it operates 10 ATR aircraft with the ATR72 capable of carrying 68 passengers, “by refusing to fly the ATR72 on the morning of June 7th, several aircraft and passengers were delayed at points of departure, including Trinidad, St Vincent, Tortola and Guyana”.

The airline which denied reports that it had ‘abandoned its pilots, said that “in this situation, the company’s priority remains to transport our loyal and paying passengers”.

Burke said that under the new the agreement that ended the three-day industrial action, “the pilots will start receiving the wage package or the new ATR salary from July 19th 2017”.

He said the retroactive payments will be in three tranches paid from August.

“So I guess August, September, October, and then there’s a gap and then there’s another schedule which will commence I think December for six payments. This was an agreement that was reached, it was formalized by way of a consent order which was filed in the Industrial Court on Saturday,” he said, adding “this has basically brought a close to the negotiations with LIAT as it pertains to wage packages with the pilots”.

Ask by his radio host as to whether the agreement will work given that the airline and its pilots have had a series of disputes over the years linked to pay and work conditions,’ Burke told listeners he was confident it would succeed.

“Well it should because as I said it is now a legal obligation on the part of the company, the mere fact that it is filed in the Industrial Court, any breach of the agreement, any party will be charged with contempt of court, we are hoping that everything stays on schedule, that we can have this matter behind us and we can move forward.”

LIAT’s main shareholders are the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Efforts to get other regional governments to become shareholders have so far proven futile.

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Haitian TPS recipient, Farah Larrieux disappointed in extension

May 23, 2017
Statement from a Haitian TPS recipient, Farah Larrieux 

MIAMI – In any fight, it’s either you lose or you win. The Department of Homeland Security press release about the TPS 6-month extension is for me a Haitian a big disappointment.

To those, particularly some Haitian officials and Haitian media personalities, who think this is good news, I would suggest you to get informed about the TPS statute.

According to the statute and as it is mentioned on the DHS press release, once they give an extension of 6 months, it means the end of the program. What is going to happen to these people who build their life here, even before the earthquake? Those who have children who were born and raised in the U.S.? Those who are supporting their family members in Haiti?

Some who have lost their sense of humanity might think this is not their concern; Some might be too selfish to understand the importance of the issue and how it will affect the social and economic status in Haiti; Some might be so evil to even laugh about other’s struggles. To these people, I say….shame on you.

The decision of Secretary John Kelly saddens me. But what it is most indignant to me is the fact this decision was taken on the recommendation of the Haitian government which painted a different picture of the sad and alarming reality the people live daily in Haiti.

If for the Haitian government, progress has been made since the 2010 earthquake, what about employees of public administration, particularly public schools teachers who have not received their earnings for months? What about the economy which is in an unceasing free fall? The national currency “Gourdes” has no more value… 1US Dollar=62.5 gourdes. A country where citizens are paid in gourdes, and they buy even groceries in US dollars?

What about hundreds of thousands who lost everything after Hurricane Matthew devastated the southwestern of Haiti in October 2016; Still now the government has not came up with a development plan for this region.

What about hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants who have been deported from Dominican Republic and abandoned at Haiti-DR border with no shelter, food, social assistance, heath care, job and worst, no future for the kids?

What about thousands of Haitian migrants who risked their life, walked miles throughout South America to reach the border of US-Mexico where their life is in limbo.

Watch PBS report and read AZCentral stories on the suffer of my people.


My heart is torn apart to see the suffering of my people. Is there a conspiracy to destroy the Haitian people?

This is beyond the fight for extension of TPS for 50,000 Haitians. It is about the dignity, the human rights and the life of a nation. We, Haitians, have the rights for equality, justice, a decent life, better education; The rights to opportunities to pursue our dreams, to development our skills, to succeed and to create a competitive market, to integrate the global economy and to earn the respect of other nations. We are human being.

To my fellow TPS recipients, I say, the fight is not over. Be strong, be smart. We will continue to strategize, to work with our partners and allies and to fight for immigrant rights. We are immigrants but we are no less human. God is with us!

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St. Helena first passenger flight landing


History was made on St Helena today, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, when a charter plane carrying 60 passengers landed at St Helena Airport at 1.55 p.m.

St. Helena first passenger flight landing

Air Partner, a commercial organisation that sources charter flights around the world, had been contracted to source an aircraft to transport from Cape Town to St Helena passengers affected by the cancellation of RMS voyages 255 and 256. Air Partner then entered into an agreement with SA Airlink to carry out the charter flight.

 SA Airlink successfully carried out the flight operation today using a British Aerospace 146 Avro RJ85 aircraft.  Among the 60 passengers onboard today’s incoming flight were HE Governor Lisa Phillips and a young St Helenian baby born in Cape Town.

Crowds of family members, friends and Island residents gathered at the Airport to witness the arrival. Emotions were high and many people expressed that they were excited but emotional about today’s flight.

The aircraft approached St Helena Airport from the north before smoothly touching down on Runway 20. Passengers disembarking the aircraft were met by a packed Arrivals Hall, all eager to welcome everyone to St Helena.

Following a quick turnaround, the aircraft departed at 3.20pm with 48 passengers onboard. The aircraft is travelling to Cape Town via Windhoek in South Africa.

Councillor Derek Thomas said today:

“What a great day for St Helena to receive our first flight of passengers, and a really good turnout from the people.

“Over the past year there have been many disappointments for air access but despite this our people have been patient while waiting for a successful outcome. The arrival of the aircraft today is one step nearer to commercial use of our Airport and has enabled those people who were delayed in Cape Town to return home safely.

“Thank you to Air Partner, SA Airlink, Janet and the Air Access Office team, Airport staff led by Gwyneth, Kedell our SHG UK Representative and Niall from ESH and [Dr Akeem Ali] our new Health Director who provided tremendous support to our Saints stuck in Cape Town. To all staff in SHG for all their hard work for organising the flight which was a real success and a really successful day.”

Accountable Manager and Head of Operations at St Helena Airport, Gwyneth Howell, added:

“The team at St Helena Airport did exceptionally well today and we should be really proud of them, everything went as well as we had hoped. There will be lessons learnt and we will always strive to improve but to everyone, from SHG to SA Airlink to Air Partner and the Airport team, I think we all did exceptionally well.”

For more photos from today please visit the SHG Facebook and Twitter accounts via the below links:

#StHelena #StHelenaAirport #Making History


3 May 2017

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kick em jenny

Increased activities at Kick ’em Jenny volcano

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, May 1, CMC – Disaster officials in Grenada said that the region’s only submarine volcano, Kick ‘em Jenny, showed “continuous activity” on Monday with at least “43 mostly low magnitudes volcanic earthquakes” over an 18 hour period.

A statement from the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) noted that the agency is continuing to collaborate with the Seismic Research Centre (SRC), at the St. Augustine campus University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad and Tobago to monitor activities at the Kick ’em Jenny under water volcano.

NaDMA said it was “advised of continuous activities” on Monday and according to the fourth advisory from the SRC/UWI “during the period 5:45 p.m. on 30th April to10:41 a.m. on 1st May, the activity rate has remained virtually the same with 43 mostly low magnitudes -in the range 1.5-2.3 – volcanic earthquakes associated with this unrest episode at the Kick-’em-Jenny volcano.

“There were a few larger events with the largest at magnitude 3.0. UWI/SRC will continue to monitor and update NaDMA as the activity warrants.”

kick em jenny
Kick ’em jenny

On Sunday, the UWI/SRC recorded a high amplitude signal, lasting about 25 seconds, on one of the Grenada stations.  The signal was also recorded on a station in Montserrat.

“This signal follows an increase in the number of background events associated with the Kick-‘em-Jenny volcano,” NaDMA said, confirming reports that persons in the St. Patrick’s area have reported feeling tremors.”

Kick ’em Jenny is an active submarine volcano or seamount on the Caribbean Sea floor, located 8 km (5 mi) north of the island of Grenada and about 8 km (5 mi) west of Ronde Island in the Grenadines.

The volcano has erupted on at least 12 occasions between 1939 and 2001. A submersible survey in 2003 detected a crater with active fumaroles releasing cold and hot gas bubble. Signs of elevated seismicity began July 11, 2015, and on July 23 a strong continuous signal was recorded.

NaDMA said that the alert level remains “YELLOW” and that means that “vessels should observe a 1.5 km/0.93 mile exclusion zone.

“However, as a precautionary measure, the marine community is advised to continue observing the secondary exclusion zone of 5 km/3.1 miles. The SRC has advised that heightened alert is
necessary for the exclusion zone.”

NaDMA is also advising the general population that the official advisories on this matter, and all other disaster related matters will come directly from the agency and urged also “the responsible use of social

“The population can rest assured that SRC continues to monitor the system and NaDMA will continue to liaise with SRC and provide updates,” NaDMA added.

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Search underway for new inter-island cargo ferry

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr. 8, CMC – Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan says he should have some definitive word concerning the replacement vessel for the Galicia – a ferry that is used to transport cargo between Trinidad and Tobago.

MV-Super-Fast-Galicia2This follows a recent announcement from Inter-Continental Shipping Ltd, the owners of the ferry, that the vessel would end operations on the domestic sea brief on April 18.

According to the Trinidad Newsday, the Galicia will continue its sailings to and from Tobago over the Easter weekend, but Sinanan stressed that the short term period of two months between the time the Galicia ceases operations and closure of a tender to acquire a replacement vessel, is the period which must be immediately addressed .

He said no company is being “blacklisted” from participating in the tender and he hopes Inter-Continental would participate.

Pointing to concerns raised by the Tobago Chamber of Commerce about options to replace the Galicia, the Transport Minister said this was not a simple matter ,

He is quoted as saying that acquiring a vessel to operate on the sea bridge is different from acquiring a new motor vehicle from a automobile dealership because the requirements are far different.

Reiterating this was a situation, which should never have happened in the first place, Sinanan explained that “a combination” of vessels may have to be used in the short term, until a proper replacement is acquired .

Super Fast Galicia has been operating in the twin island republic since May 2014.

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Vieuz Fort

Opposition party warns of mass demonstrations against multi-billion-dollar project

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Mar 15, CMC – The main opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) says it has embarked upon a series of public and town hall meetings to galvanise support for its planned mass demonstrations against the multi-billion-dollar “Pearl of the Caribbean”  project in the southern town of Vieux-Fort.

“The St. Lucia Labour Party reiterates its opposition to the DSH project in its current form and is even more outraged at the proposed Phase 2 of the project which will include the Maria Islands. The party believes that if allowed to proceed, the projects will bring untold hardships on the people of the south in particular, as well as our fragile eco-system,” the SLP said in a statement.

Vieuz FortIt said as a result it is embarking upon on a series of town hall and public meetings “island wide to bring the issue to the people,” and it “intends to thereafter take to the streets in mass demonstrations”.

Last week, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet urged St. Lucians to be “bold and courageous” in the face of new opportunities which can only help the island develop.

Last July, the authorities here announced that the US$2.6 billion project will occupy a 700-acre site and will include a marina, a racecourse, a resort and shopping mall complex, casino, Free Trade Zone, extensive entertainment and leisure facilities, as well as architecturally designed villas and apartments.

“Overall, the Pearl of the Caribbean Development is designed to be a well-balanced project with open space making up over 50 per cent of the overall development. It is designed to be a sustainable and self-contained development and is expected to generate between 500 to 800 jobs in construction during its initial phase of implementation,” according to the statement by Invest St. Lucia

The Hong Kong-based Desert Star Holdings (DSH).project has attracted both supporters and detractors with former prime minister Dr. Kenny Anthony warning in January that there will never be peace in Vieux Fort and St. Lucia if the deal is not renegotiated and the project redesigned.

“If this agreement is not renegotiated, if this agreement is not redesigned, if all the offensive provisions in that agreement are not removed then I say to you tonight, there will never ever be peace in this community and in this country,” Anthony said.

But Prime Minister Chastanet told the conference which included the project developer Teo Ah Khing and his delegation, that he would be appointing a taskforce specifically for this project with various departments “to ensure that we do the necessary work but at the same time that we are ready to implement this project as soon as all the work has been completed.

“St. Lucia it is time for us take control of our own destiny. Let us stop living in mediocrity. Let us develop our assets for all the citizens in the south and for St. Lucia. The time for change is now.”

The DHS official pledged “to continue to preserve, enhance; do detailed research on all the existing wild life and marine life on this island.
“Secondly, we are going to allow local tourists to be able to experience the very rare natural features right out there in the ocean and allow it to be a tourism attraction added onto the already interesting attractions in the island St. Lucia.

“Thirdly, with the creation of this 150 to 200 acres of new land certain portions will be returned to the people of St. Lucia. This is not just about the public parks or ocean parks that the visitors are going to enjoy; this is to allow us to put ourselves on the world map for the international research of wild life,” he added.

But in its statement, the SLP said that the government has shown “it is insensitive to the cries of the people of the country and appears determined to ram down the throats of our citizens without any meaningful consultation, major projects that can significantly transform the lives of the people.

“From leasing prime lands at EC$1.00 (One Ec dollar =US$0.37 cents) per acre to the destructions of our eco system at Maria Islands, the Prime Minister continues to show scant regard for the welfare of St. Lucians.”

The party said that even while Chastanet was assuring St.Lucians that only a Framework Agreement existed and that negotiations were ongoing, the developer was already clearing lands though no DCA approval had been given and no Environmental Impact Assessment has been undertaken.

It said that even the cries of the St. Lucia National Trust (SLNT) have fallen on deaf ears.

The SLNT has called on the government to re-think its plans for the multi-billion dollar project saying it has “been trying feverishly to obtain official project documents from the relevant authorities but to no avail.

“This proposed plan threatens Maria Islands, a Nature Reserve, which is the home of the world’s rarest snake, the St. Lucia Racer as well as the St. Lucia whiptail and many other unique flora and fauna,” the SLNT said, adding that “the disturbing news is that in addition to destroying the ecological, environmental, historical, archaeological and social assets enshrined in Pointe Sable, the DSH plan includes a proposal to connect Maria Major and Maria Minor and building a causeway to the main land,” it added.

The SLP said it wanted to assure nationals that “it will not stand idly by whilst the government literally gives away our land.

“This is not a partisan issue but instead one which will negatively impact the vast majority of St. Lucians. We call on all right-thinking St. Lucians to stand up for their country and to stand up for their children’s future.

“For our part, the St. Lucia Labour Party will do all within its lawful means to ensure these projects do not proceed in the manner the Prime Minister has described,” the party added.

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Phillipe Ardanaz

Treaty signed to define maritime space with French territories

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Mar. 16, CMC – A treaty to solidify negotiations with the Republic of France to define the maritime space between Antigua and Barbuda and neighbouring French territories, was signed by government officials on Wednesday.

The treaty establishes the outer limits of Antigua & Barbuda’s jurisdiction from where the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) ends, its use, and exploration and exploitation of the Atlantic Ocean in respect to Guadeloupe and Saint Barthelemy.

It also embraces the interests of local fishermen and seafarers who now have a clearer understanding of the delineation of boundaries, thereby enabling both governments to rectify the common issue.

Phillipe Ardanaz
Phillipe Ardanaz

“It is also the first step to manage the problems we may have between our fishermen; obviously, it is never easy to know if you are in French waters or Antiguan waters,” said Ambassador to the OECS Member States and Barbados, Phillipe Ardanaz, who signed the treaty.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said his administration recognises the need for adopting a ‘Blue Economy’ approach to development and is currently looking at ways to develop the nation’s oceanic resources.

“That is a significant amount of resources for us to harness, in fact it is almost 200 times our land space. My understanding is that within the next 40 years, it will be very difficult to find sufficient land space in order to produce sufficient food to sustain the global population,” Browne said.

The prime minister added that possessing a large EEZ provides the opportunity to satisfy seafood demand and suggested the twin island is capable of harvesting in the region of 10,000 tonnes of fish and fish products each year.

“As it stands now, fresh fish and fish products are relatively outside the means of the ordinary Antiguan and Barbudan, but as we continue to invest more resources in the ‘Blue Economy’ in fisheries, we will see an increase in supply and therefore that should help to drive down the cost.”

The Prime Minister said this treaty delineates an essential area in the Atlantic waters that will ensure there are no disputes over maritime space with the country’s neighbours.

The signing of the agreement follows the Eastern Caribbean Ocean Policy (ECROP) declaration for OECS members to formalise maritime boundaries in securing rights protection and jurisdiction over marine areas.

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Asot Michaell

Antigua launches construction of new five-star hotel

 ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Feb 28, CMC – Antigua and Barbuda Tuesday launched the construction of a luxury five-star hotel that it said would improve room capacity here to more than 5,000 over the next years and also catering to the local market that ensures a high return on tourism investments.

Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy Minister Asot Michael said that the hotel, a venture between Al Caribi Antigua –  a joint venture between Sheik Tariq Al Qassemi of Dubai and the Antigua and Barbuda government – will have between 95-100 rooms and 40 villas along the sheltered cove over 32 acres

Asot Michael

“This new tourism project takes us another step closer to realizing our vision of becoming the economic powerhouse of the region,” Michael said, adding that the “purpose for our focus and vision is that the growth and future of tourism represents the future of our nation.

“Travel and tourism directly impacts the economic and social development of our country: it opens us up for business, trade and capital investment, and very importantly, for our people, it creates jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the workforce and celebrates our heritage and cultural values. “

He said Callaloo Cay is a project focused on benefitting the community,environment and investors and what he is particularly excited about is that simultaneous to the development of the property will be the development of a National park across five acres that will be for local residents and guests.

“This is not just a project for visitors – we are excited about our residents benefitting from our investment in construction. This National Park is not only a preservation project but a future resource for everyone. Improving our nation and the lives of our residents is always this administration’s top priority. “

Michael said that the Gaston Browne administration is confident that opening this new modern and luxurious property, offering the best in services, and introducing it to our portfolio will lead to increased airlift, from all our main visitor source markets.

He said Callaloo Cay is the culmination of an unrivalled collaboration between the Antigua and Barbuda government and world-renowned developers with a wealth of international experience and an impressive portfolio of luxury projects.

Michael, who did not disclose the cost of the project,  said that 2017 is anticipated to be another bumper year for tourism and for expanding the island’s  sustainable development.

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Regional tourism bodies welcome Caribbean leaders acknowledgement

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 21, CMC – Regional tourism officials Tuesday applauded Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders for taking the lead in recognising the critical contribution of the sector to regional economies and a commitment to advancing a regional tourism agenda.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) the region’s tourism development agency, and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the umbrella private sector organization, said they firmly believe “that tourism is a key driver of socio-economic progress, helping destinations and countries to quickly create jobs and businesses, generate tax revenues and support infrastructure improvements to the benefit of residents and visitor.

“It is a proven tool to lower unemployment, stimulate indigenous entrepreneurial activity, increase foreign exchange earnings, and grow tax revenues for our treasuries.












“However, it is a fiercely competitive business, and we are facing the stark reality that we must find ways of maximizing the collective strength of the Caribbean, if any and all of us are to truly succeed,” the two organisations noted.

CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley last week made a presentation to the regional leaders last week that was also prepared in collaboration with the CHTA,.

The communique issued following the summit noted that that the leaders welcomed proposals from the two organisations for advancing a  regional tourism agenda, particularly through public/private Sector Partnerships.

“Heads of Government acknowledged the importance of transportation and facilitation of travel, human resource development, the creative industries and marketing as well as competitiveness and financing for the sustainability of Tourism.

“Heads of Government agreed that public-private sector partnerships, guiding the development and marketing of tourism for the Caribbean, needed to be more effective and requested that the marketing of tourism encompass, in particular, the eco-tourism product of mainland Member States – Belize, Guyana and Suriname.”

Regarding travel, the regional leaders called for an urgent meeting of the Council for Trade and Development (COTED)-Transportation to address air transport issues in particular, including those related to the tourism sector.

The leaders said they also supported the establishment of an Interim Tourism Working Group comprising representation from the CARICOM Secretariat, CTO and the CHTA with the mandate to coordinate with regional public and private sector stakeholder groups, the development of specific solutions to be presented to the next summit in Grenada.

The CTO and CHTA said the support of the leaders “is a progressive and positive move and a welcomed commitment towards furthering the development of our people, so that they can take full advantage of the employment, career and entrepreneurial opportunities available through the region’s largest industry.

“We wish to thank the leaders for placing tourism on their agenda. We are particularly appreciative to Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas, who has responsibility for tourism in the CARICOM quasi-Cabinet, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell for advancing the proposed initiative at the meeting,” the regional tourism bodies said.

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slu hotel

Government pleased with opening of largest hotel on St. Lucia

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Feb 20, CMC – The St. Lucia government has welcomed the opening of the 455- room Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa in the north of the island, saying it provides opportunities for employment and improving the economy.

“It’s a big opportunity for the business community, the economic spin-offs are going to be tremendous,” said Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee who was on hand for the hotel’s “soft opening” over the weekend after a two-year closure for rehabilitation work.

“The inventory here is about 455 and I think that is going to add tremendous value for us and give us tremendous momentum as a destination,” Fedee said, adding that an estimated 900 people are employed with the possibility of the figure increasing in coming months.

slu hotel“The Royalton brand is going to bring tremendous force to the destination – it’s a product that we didn’t have before and it’s a product that is going to lend itself to our marketing initiative,” he said, adding that the facility will provide an opportunity to attract more airlift to the island.

“There are so many positives coming out of this investment at a time when the economy badly needs it and at a time when the unemployment rate is of much concern,” Fedee said, noting that the Allen Chastanet government has a number of other projects in the pipeline which will provide an economic stimulus in a bid to turn around the ailing economy.

Meanwhile, the hotel has responded to statements being made here that it is involved in poaching staff members from other facilities.

“You can’t stop people from moving from company to company. So poaching would be us calling and trying to bring people over. People applied of their own free will, as I did as well,” said general manager Andre Dhanpaul, noting that several months ago the resort advertised for staff and received 6,000 applications.

Dhanpaul a former Saint Lucia based Regional Director for Sandals Resorts International said the applicants were short listed and some 2,500 were interviewed.

“You can’t stop people from moving from company to company – so poaching would be us calling and trying to bring people over. People applied of their own free will, as I did as well,” the Royalton official stated.

Dhanpaul said that 98 per cent of hotel staff are Saint Lucians and that the resort’s ultimate objective is to treat its people well and surpass the expectations of its guests.

“We want to do community outreach by having our managers go to high schools and colleges one hour per month each of us will go out to inspire St. Lucians to join our business,” Dhanpaul said.

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