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EDITORIAL: Step up with consistent, A-class products


EDITORIAL: Step up with consistent,  A-class products

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ALL RIGHT-THINKING Barbadians must be elated that Sandals Barbados is now fully operational. Its presence can only help spur growth in the important tourism sector and justify why the right decision was made in granting concessions to the best known Caribbean hotel brand.

Barbadians have taken to Sandals and want it to succeed. So when prominent businessman Sir David Seale charged that Sandals was not stocking local rum, it would have shocked many people. And even if this is not factual, we don’t think it was a “ridiculous statement [and] mischievous”, as the hotel’s general manager Josef Zellner said. Sir David, as chairman of the Foursquare Rum Distillery, must know where and to whom his products are being sold in any quantity. He might merely have been defending his interests.

What is of great relief is that Sandals has made it clear that it stocks not only Jamaican rum, but some of the finest from Barbados. Indeed, the hotel’s local public relations manager David Hinds spoke to the important point of stocking local products, given what visitors to the facility will want to experience in local cuisine. His assurance that Sandals will be buying local must be welcome news to all local producers.

Given the sheer volume of business Sandals will generate annually, it should offer new and important opportunities for local suppliers of goods and services.

Neither Mr Zellner nor Mr Hinds said it, but clearly what will be required will be first-class products at the right price. Sandals will be no different from any other international hotel or cruise operator in its demands for consistency in quality and at a rate which will allow it to be competitive. The real challenge therefore for those looking to offer their goods to Sandals, and indeed all other hotels, is to recognise what is meant by A-class.

What Barbadians want is for Sandals to use varied local items in its food and beverage operations and offer opportunities for rum manufacturers, dairy and food crop farmers and other producers, as well as hospitality sector providers such as beach vendors, watercraft operators, taxi drivers and ground tour operators, who can benefit from the interlocking relations with the chain. We do not expect the complaints so frequently echoed in the past against our hoteliers to be an issue with Sandals.   

We expect the resort to live up to its responsibility to “buy Bajan” whenever the opportunity arises and further demonstrate its appreciation of our world-class goods and services. This is no cap-in-hand request, but simply a call for a fair break to the best of Barbados. It can only redound to the mutual benefit of Sandals and Barbados.