Basseterre, St. Kitts (May 22, 2013) — The prestigious Frigate Bay Resort, though only operating with half its rooms and with a downsized staff as it undergoes a well deserved renovation programme, it nonetheless accepted 48 visiting cricketers from St. Thomas, and Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday May 16.
The visitors were in St. Kitts for the annual Twenty20 Leeward Island Masters Cricket Tournament, along with teams from Anguilla, Nevis, St. Croix and hosts St. Kitts. None of the two teams took the coveted prize as it was won by Nevis, but by the time they checked out from the Frigate Bay Resort on Monday May 20, they were a happy people.
The frustrations they received on the field was pacified at the Frigate Bay Resort where they received royalty treatment by those taking care of them. But one is bound to ask themselves, that if the resort had downsized its staff, who then was taking care of such a large number?
That came from the most unlikely quarters: It was the People Employment Programme (PEP) hospitality trade interns who are based at the resort who carried the day.
First impression always carries the day. When the Antigua and Barbuda cricketers checked in at the front desk, they were received in a way that they had not recently experienced. The front office staff talked to them professionally and even advised them what attractions St. Kitts has to offer. The staff carried the guests’ bags to the rooms.
After settling in, they went to poolside bar and one of them realised that he needed something and when he asked for it, it was brought by one of the courteous front office clerk who had served him. After the staff left, the man commented that he had never seen such dedicated workers, to which someone mentioned that they were actually trainees.
Almost not believing what he was told, the gentleman called for the staff, Ms Aquila Bradshaw, and offered her a surprise tip. The 26-year old from St. Paul’s instantly became the star of the group, and helped galvanise her colleagues to serve the visitors to the best of their ability.
Manager/coach of the Antigua and Barbuda Masters Cricket team, Mr Alcott Wally Browne, said that his team, which had been sponsored by Bargain Centre Group of Companies, was made up of 16 players, and ten officials and fans. He said that their stay at the Frigate Bay Resort was quite rewarding as they were treated well, the rooms were quite clean and food was excellent.
Asked if he knew that they were being served by trainees, he answered: “No, I am not aware they are trainees. The day when we came in they were very polite and helpful, assisting us to get our rooms and things like that. The rooms were clean. The breakfast… they serve very well, they are very polite and very courteous … they come and greet you, and say, ‘can I help you’. We could not know they were trainees because they had uniforms.”
PEP’s facilitator at Frigate Bay, Mrs Joan Millard, commented that the interns performed so well that it surprised her, because even though they would have held two demonstrations to show what they had learnt, and where they did well, it was the first time they had dealt with real guests.
“They performed very well,” said Mrs Millard. “I was blown away, especially when they offered to take the guests to the rooms, and help them with their bags. That was awesome. I taught them that. The girls who worked in the bar made some good tips. Those in housekeeping did so well and the cricketers were blown away with the work that the girls did, even the housekeeper Mrs Avon Martin said they were excellent. She said that she left them on their own and just back-checked them and nothing was out of order.”
From the kitchen, chef and facilitator Mr Jason Morton observed that the interns had done so well in an area where they had only leant theory and he was fully satisfied with the way they prepared the food for the guests.
“We cooked breakfast for them and actually I was surprised because the interns handled the stove well and the way they handled everything was very good, because we haven’t actually reached into the practicals as yet,” said Mr Morton. “This morning they did scramble eggs, omelettes, they learnt how to set a plate, which I had only told them what to do, and they performed very well.”
And when they served the guests, they did not fumble about it. Facilitator in this area, Ms Leslean Roberts, said that she was very proud of them because they came out as professional waitresses.
“They are so professional, serving food from the left, serving drinks from the right, cleaning from the right and doing a brilliant job,” said Ms Roberts. “Just looking at them and talking to the cricketers they are saying they did not know these ladies are in training at this moment and they are doing a brilliant job, even though they have never done this before.”
Head facilitator, Mr Dominic Stevens, who travelled to Bermuda on Monday May 20, to facilitate a work organised by the OAS, thanked the management of the Frigate Bay Resort for not only giving the PEP trainees space for training, but for allowing them to serve their guests. He said that they will strive to ensure that only the best of service is given to guests at the resort.