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Cummings on top, as Sandals/ATL honours staff

BY RENAE DIXON Sunday Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 24, 2014    

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EARL Cummings of Sandals Royal Caribbean took home the Ultimate Team Member Award at the annual Sandals/ATL Group staff awards at the Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios last Thursday night.

As the Ultimate Team Member of Sandals/ATL Group for 2013, Cummings walked away with an all- expense-paid vacation, including limo service and private jet along with appliances. He also won a cash prize.

The grand affair saw the Employee of the Year from each of the over 20 different companies in the group coming together for the Ultimate Award.

Adam Stewart, Chief executive officer of the Sandals/ATL Group, praised the winners from the various companies along with other team members for their commitment and hard work, which he said makes the organisation one of the best and the largest in the region.

"Coming on 48 years now as an organisation, we have been able to become what is now the largest private sector organisation in the region," Stewart said.

Not only is it the largest but the organisation has been investing in its human capital, he said. Stewart said Sandals recognised that the hotel industry is competing in a global market and so is investing in its human capital to produce only the best.

"We are competing today truly in an international and global market. The people who can come to Sandals Resorts can afford to go anywhere they want in the world," he said. He, however, added that with the level of service offered by the organisation, people have been continuously attracted to Sandals.

He praised the employees for their hard work in keeping the organisation on top.

"This machine cannot work without everybody being in full harmony with that rhythm every day," he said.

Stewart said that based on the high level of service offered, many do not know that Sandals is a Jamaica-based, Caribbean-owned organisation and have often associated it with developed countries.

Even as the organisation celebrates its success among the hundreds employed, with one hotel completed in Grenada and one in an advanced stage in Barbados, it continues its expansion, hoping to employ hundreds more.

Stewart said that the soon-to-be-opened hotel in Barbados will add to the already high tourism product in that company.

"We are trying to bring incremental business to that island and not capitalise on the business that's there," he stated.

The CEO, in discussing the success of the Sandals/ATL chain, said that it started out as a one-man operation selling air- conditioning unit door-to-door, but today has grown to 24 hotels in nine islands, commercial companies and news media.

"It's showing the world how we can connect," Stewart said.

He also highlighted that it was not just about doing business but giving back.

Although the hotel in Barbados has not yet been opened, the Sandals Foundation has already started its outreach in the country. According to Stewart, the Foundation has supported three projects there already, spending over US$50,000. This include the fencing of the Dover field and the building of a computer lab at a basic school.

Since 2009, the Foundation has raised US$16.9 million, 100 per cent of which is spent in the Caribbean, Stewart said.

"There is no company in this region of the Caribbean that trains, develops and wants to see our people get to the next level. It is our duty; we have gotten to this stage and we want to share in this success," he stated.

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