Sat | May 30, 2020

Sandals defends hiring practice

Published:Friday | June 8, 2018 | 6:53 PMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer

Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has described a video that has gone viral on social media regarding its hiring practices as misleading and downright spurious.

The video asserts that the Jamaica-based resort is racist; employs only expatriates as general managers and executive chefs; has contributed significantly to the displacement of several local entertainers; and its contractor, Hah-R-Mony Entertainment, employs foreigners.

However, Sandals, which has in its employ more than 24,000 Caribbean workers, said that this was far from the truth.

"While Sandals prides itself on providing the aforesaid international flair, catering to the requirements of its visitors, the allegations surrounding racism could be no further from the truth as at SRI, the ratio of expats to Jamaicans is less than two per cent," said a statement from the resort chain.

The hotel chain further refuted accusations in the video that it had sent home two Jamaican heads of entertainment, David Ellis and Weston Haughton, leaving one foreigner in its employ.

"This is blatantly false and/or misleading as David Ellis currently spearheads all entertainment operations at Sandals' largest resort, Beaches Turks and Caicos, and has been in that position, at his own request, since leaving Jamaica in 2012."

Weston Haughton, former group creative director, retired after 17 years with the company. However, he remains a valued consultant, said the organisation, and is frequently hired. Two nights ago (Thursday), Haughton hosted the company's largest staff-recognition event, its Ultimate Award Ceremony, honouring top team members from across the Caribbean, who were flown in for a week of VIP treatment.

Sandals "categorically declares that several general managers highlighted within the said video are very much born-and-bred Jamaicans".

SRI restated its commitment to emphasising Jamaican culture and its people in the entertainment that the hotel chain offers. In this regard, it approached several companies that were known to manage talent in the form of dancers, singers, and musicians. In the end, it said, Hah-R-mony proved more feasible.