By Jermine Abel
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Lindsay Grant has declared that there are many qualified individuals in St. Kitts and Nevis who are capable of functioning in managerial positions within the tourism industry.
Speaking at a charity presentation ceremony May 26 for the Embassy Suites by Hilton under construction at Potato Bay, Grant indicated that he believes in capacity building of the residents of the federation.
“We do not want the tourism industry to grow and leave our people behind,” he said.
The hotel which is currently under construction is primarily using local labour to push its development and the Minister has commended the executives of Pelican Bay Development for that.
“The tremendous quality of work that is happening now is done by persons of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. I understand that from the quantity surveyors to the architects, the engineers and, of course the great building staff, they are all recipients from St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Minister Grant stated that it is great to see such a large direct input from locals within the construction phase.
He is hopeful that, when completed, the hotel chain will have more locals in high positions, especially in management.
“Within a year or so, come August 2016, we expect when your doors open, we will not only see our people being waiters, waitresses and grounds men, but middle management and upper management as well, because I think that our people have the capacity and that is what I am hoping to see.”
Meanwhile CEO of Pelican Bay St. Kitts, Charles Ross stated that when the construction is completed, they expecting that the hotel “will bring lots of jobs, foreign exchange and tax revenue to St. Kitts.”
“We are particularly happy to be bringing Embassy Suites by Hilton to St. Kitts. We think it will be a tremendous addition to the infrastructure in terms of the industry. We really look forward to the next year and a half when the hotel will be open,” he said.
Ross expressed appreciation to the local government for its support of the multi-million-dollar project.
“It’s taken us quite a while to get to this stage and we really want to thank the government ministries and agencies that have helped us along the way. They’ve been very cooperative and supportive of the project.”
Construction began September 2014 and already two buildings have been erected.