Tag Archives: Barbados Sandals Resort

Dr. Karl Watson of Barbados National Trust “SHOCKED” by Sandals environmental damage

“In the short and medium run, tourism is really the only engine for our continued prosperity and economic growth. So, we welcome the Sandals development, however, I must say that having come down here this morning, I am a bit taken aback and shocked.

(snip)

Quite a number of mature trees have been felled and then I also see development on the way in the sea where a type of breakwater is being constructed, and I wonder whether the environmental impact assessment that aught to have been done for this project was really based soundly and on correct assessment, and whether the long term effects of both this type of deforestation, denuding of forest cover, exposure of the sandy layer, topsoil etc, or the creation of an artificial offshore reef; whether the future results of these developments have been thoroughly assessed.”

 

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Why wasn’t the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association at the JetBlue – Sandals reception?

Journalist Ian Bourne

Journalist Ian Bourne

#barbados Wow, you live & learn, was at a #JetBlue reception at #Sandals – but found out I’m only good to cover it, not have dinner w/guests afterwards? #smh Coming to think of it, where was BHTA?

Ian Bourne – The Bajan Reporter

 

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Desperation: Over 6,000 apply for 600 Sandals Barbados jobs – police called in

Barbados sandals resort employment

Barbados Acting Tourism Minister “SHOCKED!” at large, unruly crowd – fights, pushing, fainting…

DLP Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner - Insulated from reality?

Shocked DLP Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner – Insulated from reality?

Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, Acting Minister of Tourism, told reporters that she was “shocked” at the behaviour when over 6,000 desperate Bajans lined up to apply for fewer than 600 available jobs at the new Sandals Resort.

No matter the astonishment of the political elites, the vast majority of ordinary Bajans were not shocked to see a once-proud populace begging for menial work serving tourists – and pushing their way to front of the line by any means necessary.

Clean that toilet? Sure, I’ll do that! Carry bags from the bus to hotel rooms? Pick me! Pick me!

Bring drinks to spoiled 20 somethings on the beach? “Sure! I’ll do anything. Anything at all. Please… hire me. Think of my family. Hire me, please.”

Barbados Government gave everything away to Sandals

What a deal! Sandals will pay no taxes, no import duties on building materials or supplies shipped in. The exact details of the concessions haven’t been released because… because… well… our Barbados government gave everything away in a move of desperation. Damn right they did, because after three decades of mismanagement, theft and giving the dole to anyone who wanted it, Barbados has nothing left.

Our nation of Barbados is as desperate as the Bajan job seekers – so our government put aside long-term considerations and totally caved to Sandals just to land a few hundred jobs. How many jobs really? Who knows? The deal doesn’t require Sandals to provide work for a specific number of Bajans. How many Sandals employees will come from other countries? Don’t ask! You’re not allowed to know – it’s part of the deal.

Rum? Hey… that will come from Jamaica at zero duty rates while our own (and superior) Mount Gay Rum takes a more expensive back seat. Chicken? All frozen from the USA. Vegetables? Ha! The Sandals policy is price first, quality and local supply second and third.

Don’t be surprised my friends. This thing that has happened to Barbados is not getting better. Every other Caribbean island increased their tourism visits in the last 12 months… except us. Look after your family and friends as best as you can…. you might need help next.

Thanks to The Nation for the photo!

Further Reading

Barbados Advocate: Rush for jobs

The Nation: Thousands rush to job fair

Dr. Tennyson Joseph: Sandals desperation

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Answering Loveridge about Barbados tax concessions to Sandals

Sandals' Butch Stewart doesn't look like he's starving to death.

Sandals’ Butch Stewart doesn’t look like he’s starving to death.

by William Skinner

The granting of concessions to the hoteliers is a capitulation on the part of the Barbados government, which now finds itself with a one step forward two steps backward economic policy; trying to please an essentially lazy and backward corporate class while inflicting serious blows on the already poor and economically downtrodden.

The hoteliers in Barbados have clearly demonstrated that they have failed to capitalize on an industry that has been in existence for over sixty years. They have whined their way into the taxpayers coffers, on the spurious grounds that the concessions granted to the well established Sandals Group should be automatically theirs for the taking.  In other words, while very few of them can ever boast or hope to come close, to demonstrating that they can ever reach Sandals’ heights, they have blackmailed the government into giving them similar benefits. It’s akin to a fourth division footballer demanding the same salary and perks of a first division superstar!

Be that as it may, they have also refused to sign on to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will be used to monitor  they operating in good faith with the agricultural community and other businesses , to ensure that the process is not exploited. In other words, the government wanted some formal agreement that the benefits will trickle down to local businesses. Low and behold, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) said that it will not sign any MOU. Imagine a beggar being so bold faced, to be a chooser as well! It was very pitiful and embarrassing to witness a minister backing down from this group.  Continue reading

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Definition of Irony: Fat Sandals Resort Chairman Butch Stewart chides Barbados hoteliers to complain about overtaxed tourism sector!

Sandals Butch Stewart

Butch wins! Disproving “Too much weight on a race horse, it can’t win.”

Nice work if you can get it: Stewart chides other Barbados hoteliers for not getting the same tax concessions as Sandals…

Sandals’ Chairman Butch Stewart says…

The fact is if you put too much weight on a race horse, it can’t win. When you burden an industry by overtaxing, you cannot do enough business. The real fallout is not so much the fact that you are not doing business is the condition of the properties because there is not enough money between the competitive rates today, paying taxes and at the same time being able to improve, expand and modernise the hotel.”

Noting that cruise ships are able to avoid the same tax levels as land-bound tourism providers, he nonetheless stated, “The cruise ships are a vital part of the tourism industry; it is not the cruise ship that is at fault. The growth of the cruise sector has to do with not having to pay taxes – taxes and exports don’t mix.”

In terms of concession, the hotelier highlighted, “Our criteria is transparency, so everyone knew we got concessions. In Grenada we spent [money] developing and building a hotel that we would not have been able to do if we were not able to look at the long-term 25 years of concessions and spend money based on long-term thoughts. We plan to do much the same here in Barbados because as we have a long-term view.

“The same way a company negotiates with government and gets concessions I believe that the business community, if you believe as strongly as I believe, that anything to do with export taxation impacts business, you have a responsibility to do [or] say something about it.”

Adrian Loveridge says…

Put it in simple terms. For my hotel to buy a 750ml bottle of Johnnie Walker Scotch would cost me sixty US dollars. Sandals are able to pay ten dollars.

“Unilateral concessions to Sandals immediately destabilized the other 120 hotels on the islands, not to mention the condos, villas, apartments and guest houses. Completely destabilized the industry.”

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Sandals 9 month closure another blow to Barbados economy and employment

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

So entirely contrary to all the heady rhetoric that the introduction of Sandals brand will drive additional airlift: in fact the exact opposite will happen from their closure on 1st April for major renovations.

At least until the re-opening slated for December 2014.

Quoting their own projected occupancy of an average of 85 per cent with a typical stay of 7 nights and two persons per room, that’s almost 500 lost airline seats per week or a mind boggling 16,000 plus by the end of this year.

Will this further destabilise the remaining carriers that continue to service Barbados and lead to yet more airlines cutting routes or reducing capacity? Tour operators, already unable to match demand with the high cost of doing business here, are considering switching flights to other destinations where they can glean a profit.

Once again citizens are left speculating whether our Government was aware and factored in the almost nine months closure with hundreds of hospitality employees being thrown on the unemployment pile, before granting unilateral extraordinary concessions to the Sandals group.

Perhaps they calculated the NIS and income tax contributions collected from local construction workers hired for refurbishment would more than make up for this. Because clearly, the state is not going to collect other taxes like VAT and import duties from Sandals as they have all been waived.  Most materials used will also be imported, so a substantial percentage of the estimated US$65 million project will simply re-export foreign exchange (FX).

Several other issues also have to be considered: The lost revenue to our Direct Tourism Services with included package components like golf green fees, catamaran, diving etc., let alone secondary spending that 16,000 plus extra visitors would have generated on submarine excursions, taxis, car rental attractions, activities and shopping. The list goes on and on. Continue reading

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Wuhloss! Sandals Barbados serves no Bajan rum!!! WTF???

ESAF Barbados Rum

“As the birthplace of rum, not a single Barbadian produced brand was available at any Sandals outlet!”

Loveridge: Sandals generally a good experience and positive for Barbados, but there are concerns…

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Just over a week ago, my wife and I experienced a staycation at Sandals Casuarina.  An enormous amount of discussion has taken place concerning the extraordinary concessions granted to the Sandals companies and as I was not personally familiar with the product, thought it was only rationale, that I tasted what is often referred to as the Sandals ‘WOW’ factor, first hand.

Despite the website at the time showing that the hotel was fully booked until the middle of March 2014, I managed to reserve a room online for the dates of my choice and pay in full at published rates by credit card. Bookings are processed by yet another company – Unique Vacations Inc. based in Florida, and an email confirmation was sent.

Noticeably absent were any taxes or corporate information, including office address or contact details.

Having a few queries prior to our stay, I emailed Adam Stewart, the CEO of Sandals Resorts International (SRI) and within minutes he responded personally, apologising that because he was currently traveling, he had passed my concerns over to the General Manager (GM) of the hotel. Still within one hour, Josef Zellner, the new GM not only answered my initial questions but went on to monitor our reservation and ensure a seamless check-in.

Over our four day stay, it soon became apparent that Joe was a hands-on manager, frequently seen in every area of the property from as early as 6am, until late at night. Frankly, when so many senior personnel appear to find the comfort of air conditioned offices more attractive, it was a refreshing change. At this stage I think it is very important to point out that I have only stayed in two all-inclusive hotels in my entire life, the Montego Bay Sunspree Holiday Inn and the Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua, so any observations made, has to in fairness, reflect this.

Clearly, even after four weeks re-branding from Couples, there is still a lot of work necessary to fully ‘Sandalise’ the hotel, but you get the feeling that it is progressing as planned. The vast majority of the staff are friendly and helpful. When I brought up the subject of a three months probationary work period, a Barbadian waitress we talked to could not have explained it any better; She said that during the current challenging trading times that this was not at all unusual and by no means limited to the hospitality industry.

There were a number of surprises, especially the current very limited use of locally available products. These included Banks Beer (draft and cans), Pine Hill milk, BICO ice cream, BBC bottled water and some soft drinks.

As the birthplace of Rum, not a single Barbadian produced brand was available at any outlet!    Continue reading

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