I was quite proud to see Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre leading a top team of Cabinet Ministers to tour the new Sandals expansion taking place at Sandals Halcyon. As a Saint Lucian who likes to give jack his jacket, I was even more impressed to see the blessings the three top present ministers gave the project, and the positive and complimentary things they had to say about Sandals.
After all the things we have seen and heard in the past about this government and Sandals even before the last general elections, I am sure there are those who had their questions about the new administration’s ability to work with the country’s largest private investor and second largest employer, and I must say it demonstrates a level of statesmanship that has to be admired, that the Prime Minister and two of his most senior Cabinet Ministers can look past the base politicking and do what is in the interest of the country.
Make no mistake about it, Sandals is a vital part of our community and our economy and our entire country will only benefit from a strong relationship between state and private investors, as opposed to one filled with distrust and hostility.
It should also send a strong message to Saint Lucians on the whole to not get caught-up in the cheap talk for even cheaper political points. Let us rejoice that we have such a powerful tourism partner and one that has such a deep relationship with our island. Sandals has been here for almost 30 years, and generations of Saint Lucians have found employment there. Sandals spends millions of dollars in local purchases and I think that was only truly felt when COVID shut down the hotels.
It is a testimony to the power of the company that they are fast out the block, and despite the negative impact of COVID, they have enough confidence in Saint Lucia to invest even more – that is more money in the coffers and more jobs on offer. The Prime Minister said himself that it goes a long way in helping our post-pandemic recovery efforts.
Kudos to Sandals and Adam Stewart, who is not only following in his father’s immense footsteps, but is also quietly blazing a new and visionary trail in Caribbean tourism of his own, and I have no doubt his impact will be just as profound as his dad’s.
I look forward to the more expansions and more employment that will come with the new investments announced by Sandals for all its three hotels here, which will only improve what we have that’s already good.
Well done, Sandals and Great Example Prime Minister, I do hope you both keep it up.
Antonius Jn Baptiste