Remarks By Premier And Minister For Finance
Dr. The Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE
Mou Signing Between The Government Of The Virgin Islands And Rosewood Little Dix Bay
Thursday, 23rd April, 2015
Ladies and gentlemen good afternoon,
In 2012, my Government started a conversation with Rosewood Little Dix Bay Hotel and Resort to partner in developing the human resources of this Territory in the areas of hospitality and tourism.
This initial conversation which has blossomed into a memorandum of understanding to benefit the people of the Virgin Islands, specifically BVIslanders living and working on Virgin Gorda. I see as important for several reasons:
For one, if tourism is to remain one of the key economic drivers in this Territory, the public and private sector must partner to strengthen the BVI brand.
Secondly, if our Territory is expected to provide exceptional visitor experience beyond sun, sea, and sand, it means that our people must be adequately trained to surpass the expectations of our guests.
And, more importantly, it means if we want to see more and more BVIslanders getting involved with tourism development, we have to help pave the way for them.
That is why my Government from day one wasted no time in putting in a considerable amount of time to boost the tourism product. We have heavily invested into the sector through initiatives likes cruise tourism development, culinary tourism, expansion of our global markets specifically in the United States, Europe and South America.
And, with heightened competition around the around the world, BVI must continue to engage in vigorous marketing initiatives, educational development and training opportunities to ensure that our brand stands out in the minds of new and repeat visitors.
More importantly we recognised that tourism is not business as usual.
It is about partnerships and collaboration.
It is about public-private sector dialogue.
It is about us forming a cordial relationship with stalwart establishments like Rosewood Little Dix Bay Hotel that continues to carry the torch of tourism development, a staunch legacy and trait of the late Laurence S. Rockerfeller, its founder.
Rosewood Little Dix Bay has been involved in the BVI for over 50 years. Since 1964 it has been the trendsetter in tourism and hospitality service delivery.
It has long been focused on training to ensure consistent service standards.
I particularly remember the annual service awards programme where deserving persons are presented with allocates in the areas of service excellence, rising stars, legendary achievers, and top achievers awards. These awards are reminders of why Little Dix Bay Hotel and Virgin Gorda continues to be rated as one of the best places to vacation.
So, today is not a mere coincidence.
Instead, it is about that young man or young woman who wants to build a life serving customers who come here for a well-deserved vacation from around the world.
It is about that young man or woman who wants to become the next entrepreneur, supervisor or manager, or managing director.
It is about that student who is about to graduate from Robinson O’Neal Memorial School or Bregado Flax Secondary in the next few months. This agreement is there to stimulate that child’s interest and get him or her thinking about a career in the tourism and hospitality industry.
It is important for us to build a cadre of professionally trained and educated BVIslanders to manage the growth and development of the tourism sector.
In short, it is about investing in BVIslanders.
An investment in our people is money well spent.
Indeed, Rosewood Little Dix Bay Resort continues to remain true to its founder's vision of corporate responsibility. By providing our people with the ability to study abroad, we help to position the BVI as one of the leaders in hospitality and tourism in the Caribbean.
I encourage other establishments to get on board, in all sectors of this economy just as Little Dix Bay is doing.
We continue to partner with several businesses through our youth employment initiative and we continue to see the lives of many youth transform for the best.
I maintain that Government cannot do it alone! Government should not do it alone! The success of any country is hinged on having ‘all hands on the deck’—the public and private sector moving in the same direction.
On behalf of my Government and the people of Virgin Gorda and the wider BVI, I thank and congratulate our new partners the Rosewood Little Dix Bay Resort for availing your resources to further and foster education and training of BVIslanders and Belongers living in Virgin Gorda in the hospitality and tourism industry in the Virgin Islands.
Rosewood Little Dix Bay Resort has cemented its commitment to the Government and the people of Virgin Gorda. They have already signed the Memorandum of Understanding. Now it’s my Government’s turn to seal this partnership and here to witness the new beginning is their representative Ms. Jackie Brown, and of course, all of you here in our presence.
This Memorandum of Understanding will provide a one-time internship of six months with one or more Rosewood properties at any of its worldwide locations.
It will provide also an eight month semester scholarship at Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Florida leading to a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or tourism related studies.
It is also my hope that as this program becomes institutionalised, individuals from the wider Virgin Islands would have the opportunity to participate.
I also congratulate the BVI Tourist Board for following up on that initial conversation to ensure that this day happened.
My Government will continue to place emphasis on training and development for all of our people—whether on-the-job or off-the-job. The more trained we are, the better we are with providing service.
I am looking forward to a more efficient and productive industry.
I am looking forward to consistency in service delivery and to see promotion and career growth for the people of Virgin Gorda and the Virgin Islands.
Today is the continuation of a long lasting partnership with Little Dix Bay Hotel and my Government is looking forward to the tremendous benefits to be derived from that continued relationship.