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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.

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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].

10 replies on “Paradise with a price tag: Unveiling inequalities at Sandals’ St. Vincent debut”

  1. Leonard Glasgow says:

    A well written and up front concern indeed but some figures should have been quoted to verify the equality concerns expressed.

  2. Unfortunately, our government set the wrong example by agreeing to tbe importation of the labourers from the DR , working at rates below the local daily rates.

  3. Not a shred of evidence presented to back up these mischievous assertions and lots of evidence available proving our workforce from top to bottom is less productive and hard working than its foreign counterparts.

  4. nancysauldemers says:

    I’m appalled but sadly not at all surprised. As Yogi Berra said, “Déjà vu all over again!” Shame on Sandals and shame on those in positions of power within this country who have not spoken out firmly to condemn and stop this disrespect. What’s next? Are employees to go months on end without pay as we’ve seen with other resort developments in SVG, including Sandal’s predecessor at this site?

  5. Well written piece and to the point, problem is will it change ???always the bigger companies paying 👀sorry not paying a decent wage nothing ever changes ????

  6. Richard Bacchus says:

    my sentiment also.
    please offer some facts and figures.
    I have held these concerns since first hearing about this venture.
    I also have concerns about outsourcing to offshore labour

  7. I am really saddened and frustrated to read this article. First, where is the evidence to support these claims? There is none because the claims are false or grossly exaggerated.

    1.) Gratutities form the basis of ALL remuneration packages at Sandals. Performance matters. To say a “sprinkling of gratuities” was a compromise is blatantly false.

    2.) Front line jobs are minimum wage jobs. This holds true worldwide. The minimum wage is set by the country not by Sandals. The pay in Jamaica is not equal to the pay in St Lucia for the exact same job being performed. Facts matter. Things like the cost of living and commensurate experience must also be taken into consideration.

    3.) While the amazing people of St Vincent can and will rise to the Sandals standard, they are not there yet. Countless hours of skills training and education awaits the staff who will eventually develop the skill set needed to advance their standing and earn higher wages.

    4.) The importation of workers from the Dominican was necessary because the skilled labour force in St Vincent is virtually non-existent. What has your country done to prepare its people for these opportunities? Look first to your own leaders before blaming Sandals for your shortcomings.

    5.) If your middle management is so skilled and valuable, I’m sure there must be lots of other opportunities for them. If Sandals doesn’t pay enough to meet your expectations, please apply elsewhere. I’m sure someone will see your value as you do.

    End rant.

  8. Lucille Cozier says:

    A balanced report would provide examples of salaries and more than that would also provide comparative salaries paid by existing hotels. Benchmark what is offered beside
    what is already paid.
    That would be the right and fair thing to do.

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