Prime Minister the Right Hon Dr. Denzil Douglas met with hospitality staff at The St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal St. Kitts Hotel yesterday (May 15) assuring them that their interests are always being considered in policy decisions.
The visit was another leg of the Prime Minister’s current tour of local industries being dubbed “Out and About with the PM”, where the country leader engages with key stakeholders and gets a first-hand account of how government policies are being realized on the ground.
Accompanied by Minister of Tourism Hon Richard Skerritt, the Prime Minister reminded staff of various departments in both hotels like the house keeping unit, kitchens, sales and engineering that their work is of national interest and should not be taken for granted.
“Remember that your job is very important. Do it with pride and dignity,” he said. “Your role is as important as that of your managers. Tourism is now our leading sector so without you, we would not be where we are now and we are all working together to move our country forward and benefit our people.”
Staff members had the opportunity to sit with the Prime Minister and Minister Skerritt to ask about key issues such as the newly initiated long-service gratuity fund that guarantees a payment package for private sector employees who have worked 10 years continuously for the same employer.
“The government felt we had to do something to assist workers who have been loyal and hard-working for a long period of time. You work hard, so you deserve to have some security,” said Douglas. “We’re not saying that after 10 years, you should take your money and run. But now you have options if perhaps you wish to change your career or migrate. And remember the longer you stay, the more money you get!”
The two officials also clarified concerns related to social security benefits and regulations governing the allocation of service charge. They ended by reminding staff that their contribution to the tourism industry has helped to make St. Kitts and Nevis one of the top destinations in the world.
Currently, there are over 100,000 airplane passengers coming to the federation each year and over 800,000 cruise ship passengers are expected to arrive within the next year. St. Kitts is also ranked 3rd best island in the world by US News and World Report.