PROVIDENCIALES — Majesty Gardens, one of the most depressed areas of Kingston's sprawling slums, can be proud of one of its own sons who has overcome the odds to become a rare success story.
Ronald Landle is today the cherished banqueting manager at the Gordon 'Butch' Stewart-owned Beaches Resorts in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) where he routinely fraternises with local guests and top celebrities alike.
Landle admits that his success has been driven by his only daughter, Deneisha, 18, whose ambition is to be a neurosurgeon.
"I intend to do everything I can to help her become what she wants to be, because she is a great young lady," Landle says of his daughter, who is continuing her studies in Jamaica, after high school in the TCI.
Landle was one of the pioneering group of 15 Jamaicans recruited in 1997 to work at the newly established Beaches Resorts on the island of Providenciales. He is the only one from that group who is still here.
"I have had the opportunity to achieve so much here. I've travelled the world with my wife, Winnifred, and family. I have only good things to say about Sandals and Beaches because I have benefited a great deal," he said.
Landle still has vivid memories of the bad old days in violence-torn Majesty Gardens where he was born in 1966. He grew up in Cockburn Pen, not far from there, and still finds it difficult talking about his two brothers who lost their lives there — one by the gun and the other in a motor vehicle accident.
"I saw the guns. I saw the violence, the poverty, you name it. I had friends who went to prison. In fact, I once had to visit one of them at the General Penitentiary. At that time I had wanted to be a policeman, but after a time I lost that desire," he told the Jamaica Observer.
In 1988, at the age of 22, he decided he had had enough and left Cockburn Pen for Montego Bay, not certain what would happen to him but with no plans to return. Things began looking up.
He got a job with Sandals Montego Bay in 1992 and spent five years there before being sent to the Turks and Caicos among the first group of Jamaicans transferred there by Stewart.
In the TCI, he worked first as a restaurant manager, having been promoted by Joseph Zellner back at Sandals MoBay. With his work being recognised for quality by guest after guest, he was subsequently promoted to banqueting manager, a key area of all hotel operations.
"I have handled many large events, including last September's World Travel Awards which was its biggest. I enjoy getting kudos from the guests and the job offers, too. But Beaches is where I want to be. I have no reason to complain about anything here," he emphasised.
Landle manages a staff of five and had the pleasure of seeing one of them, Omar Hazel, a wedding captain who is also Jamaican, win the TCI Hotel and Tourist Association's coveted Employee of the Year Award this month.
"It makes me feel very proud because it's a small staff, but we are delivering quality work," Landle said.
He is also proud to see the increasing number of children from the TCI — the best known being the star athlete Delano Williams — attending school in Jamaica, his homeland.