This letter is for the attention of my favourite prime minister, the Hon. Gaston Browne, and pertains to the Sandals debacle.
I have heard many decry my PM for being abrasive, sharp and dictatorial, however, I have, for the most part, quietly respected these same qualities that others abhor. You see, I like my leaders as I like my men: strong, communicative and decisive. Or perhaps my admiration stemmed from my lack of enthusiasm for democracy as an overall. “None of us is as stupid as all of us”, comes to mind.
In respect of Sandals, it is apparent to anyone with eyes and minimum sense, that Sandals is also hurting from this closure. It is not a win/lose situation, clearly. Though I do not know Butch Stewart personally, I am prepared to presume that as a long standing business man, he is not cutting his nose to spite his face, i.e. damaging his own brand simply to make some elusive point to the PM.
Also, as far as I am aware companies are indeed permitted to temporarily lay off workers, and Mr. Stewart had indicated that the closure would be carried out in accordance with legal requirements relating to team members.
Any prudent warrior knows that it is not just about winning battles. It is also about knowing when and how to fight.
May I inquire why the PM was unwilling to give Mr. Stewart the benefit of the doubt and allow him to work fastidiously to re-open in the “agreed” shorter three-month period? What benefit is there to chastising the hotelier in such hostile a manner, even before any upgrade work has properly commenced? Is the PM’s hope that he can publicly curse Mr. Stewart to make him hurry up and finish even sooner? To best of my limited knowledge and intuition: disrespect rarely motivates a man.
Why not save the reprimanding for after we already got our employees back out to work?
While I do agree with my dear Prime Minister that investors are to respect the locals and residents of the country, I wish that this were indeed not only a two-way street but applied across the board to all investors.
If the PM is itching to (disrespectfully) shove this new-found respect down investors’ throats, may I respectfully suggest that he use the force of his energy towards the YIDA group which has sadly been nothing but disappointing, and ironically blatantly verbally disrespectful to the residents from day one?
I hope that it is not too late for some diplomacy and closed-door talks to be undertaken to rectify the situation and end this unnecessary war, in the best interest of the team members at Sandals and the nation.
It is said that good leadership is not about advancing yourself, it is about advancing your team. While the PM may, even rightly, feel offended, I urge him to take note of that adage and know that even as a leader sometimes, perhaps even often, true strength is in not exploding or reacting in a knee-jerk manner.
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