11 January, 2010
The gossip around The Valley was about the demand of Viceroy to bring in 70-odd Nevisians to complete the staffing of their
Anguilla hotel. Why Nevisians? you may ask. Because Four Seasons Hotel in neighbouring Nevis trained hundreds of locals to run a hotel to the highest standard. Four Seasons has been closed for a year. It closed down thanks to Hurricane Omar. As a result, there are hundreds of trained, unemployed hotel staff in Nevis. Just 100 miles away from Anguilla. What more obvious solution to the understaffed Viceroy Hotel than to bring the unemployed Nevisians to Anguilla?
The anticipated advantage for Viceroy was that they would be employing vulnerable, malleable immigrants. At the slightest sign of stroppiness, or independence of mind, these foreign workers could be cowed into submission by threatening them with deportation. That should keep them quiet!
The problem is that in
Anguilla there are hundreds of young people who are out of a job. They are demanding to know what their government is doing to look out for them. Elections are around the corner. Government was anxious to oblige. The machinery of government was deployed in their defence. Is that so wrong?
All that we asked was for our Anguillian youth to present themselves to any prospective employer in a reasonable light. The problem is that the youth of
Anguilla are unprepared for the job market. The average Anguillian out-of-school young lady is tattooed from wrist to armpit. She wears to the job-interview earrings that reach from her ears to her shoulders. No one has taught either her or her brother how to handle a job interview. Viewing the combination of her tattoos and earrings is guaranteed to frighten the s++t out of the average middle-aged, north-American guest at her hotel. This makes her virtually unemployable. Meanwhile, her brothers have lost the last trace of their parents’ Anguillian culture. The present-day youth of Anguilla have been educated by BET jail-talk. They speak a dialect, learned from US TV, that is closer to Folsum Jail prisoner-jargon than anything their Anguillian ancestors ever spoke. They are generally unmannerly, semi-literate, and unprepared for the job market. With their pants-waists dropping below their hips to reveal their dirty underpants, no employer, no matter how desperate, would ever imagine employing them. They are, all of them, just not ready for the job market. The average Anguillian High-School graduate is barely fit to be employed in the garden of a second-rate hotel, far less the front office of a Viceroy.
The joke of it all is on Viceroy. As part of the deal for getting all the tax exemptions they were given by our generous, outgoing government, Viceroy had promised to have the necessary staff trained in time for the opening of the hotel. They utterly failed themselves. They dropped the training promise. Such little training of Anguilllian staff as they provided, was perfunctory and last-minute. The accountants who now run the hotel had decided that the promised training of Anguillian staff would be too expensive. It would be cheaper to bring in Asians at one tenth the going West Indian rate. Our government encouraged them to believe this was feasible.
They did not factor in the general elections that come every five years, and the ensuing upsurge in ‘patriotism’. Sorry, it turns out that at this present time no imports are allowed. An election has to be won first.
Good luck, Viceroy.