The turquoise waters of St. Vincent and the Grenadines glisten with the promise of a new dawn. Sandals Resorts, synonymous with Caribbean luxury, throws open its doors on our shores, sparking excitement for tourism, jobs, and economic revival. Yet, beneath the sun-kissed façade, whispers of concern ripple through the island breeze. We welcome Sandals, yes, but not at the cost of our dignity.
Initial wage offers to local staff fell far short of expectations, barely scraping along the poverty line. The subsequent “compromise” — a sprinkling of gratuities — while appreciated, feels like a hastily tossed bone rather than genuine respect for our labour. And while frontline workers grapple with inadequate compensation, a question hangs heavy in the air: where do middle-management positions stand in this equation?
Reports paint a disturbing picture. Local professionals offered roles within Sandals’ hierarchy are allegedly given packages significantly lower than their counterparts across the brand. Why, when the standards of service, conduct, and professionalism remain uniform, does the value of our expertise shrink with the change in passport stamp? Is it acceptable that the same “Sandals Experience” built on the backs of local staff comes at a discounted price for management?
This is not simply a matter of numbers on a payslip. It’s about equity, about recognising the inherent worth of every individual contributing to the Sandals brand, regardless of their origin. It’s about nurturing local talent, not exploiting it. Is St. Vincent’s potential workforce deemed less capable, less deserving of fair compensation for the same quality of work?
We raise our voices, not as detractors, but as custodians of our island’s pride. We applaud Sandals’ arrival, but urge them to rewrite the narrative of inequality. To Sandals’ top brass, we say: address these concerns head-on. Demonstrate your commitment to building a truly harmonious partnership with St. Vincent, not one marred by disparities. And to our local middle managers, we say: speak up. Let your voices be heard. Do not accept a diminished version of your worth.
This paradise we share should not be built on a foundation of unfairness. Let Sandals St. Vincent be a beacon of not just luxury, but of equality, of respect for the human spirit that shines bright on our shores, regardless of its zip code. The world may be watching, but more importantly, we are watching too. The time for transparency and action is now.
A Concerned Vincentian
The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].