SLHTA's Tourism Enhancement Fund

TEF Projects Coordinator catches up with some of the past Junior Culinary Arts Ambassadors and TEF Grant Beneficiaries

When Saint Lucians hear the name ‘SLHTA’ it is usually synonymous with Hotels, Chefs and/or Food and for good reason because the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association has been associated with Culinary Arts development for well over a decade.

Since the establishment of the Tourism Enhancement Fund in 2013, several grants have been awarded to various groups and entities directly or indirectly associated with the industry. Over the past 4 years, the Fund has contributed over $50,000 towards the participation of Junior Culinary Teams at the Caribbean Junior Dueling Challenge held in Barbados annually.

The Junior Culinary Team has always represented the island very well at the Competition and the SLHTA is extremely proud of their achievements. A few years later, we were able to catch up with a few of them who are doing great things.

From our 2014 Culinary Team, Yohance Cazaubon from Soufriere has ventured into his own business offering delivery services to locals. YJC Deliveries is an errand running and same day delivery service based in Saint Lucia. This service was designed to assist busy individuals living on island.

From the 2015 Culinary Team, Nicola Esnard also a former student at the Soufriere Comprehensive is now gainfully employed with a SLHTA Member property, Hotel Chocolat in Soufriere.  Boucan by Hotel Chocolat is a tropical retreat on St Lucia’s oldest cocoa estate located 1000 feet above sea level in a Unesco World Heritage Site.

From the 2016 Culinary Team, the dynamic duo affectionately known as DoubleM. Michaela Poleon and Megan Felicien, former students of the Ciceron Secondary School. Micheala has decided to continue her studies in Food and Beverage at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, a programme which will take two years to complete full time. While Megan continued to work as an apprentice cook, until she was offered a job at the newly opened Royalton Saint Lucia Resort at Cap Estate.

And from the 2017 Junior Culinary Team we have Brittney Henry who was a former student at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community. Her coach Chef Billy Boyle of Capella Marigot Bay was so impressed with her spirit, personality and the effort she puts into her work that he decided to offer a full time position with Capella, two months after the Barbados competition.

The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association Inc. is extremely proud of the achievements of all our past Junior Chefs. Most of them have pursued careers in Culinary Arts and are a living testament of passion, commitment and drive. Through the Tourism Enhancement, we will continue to fuel the passions of our young people to guarantee a  sustainable Tourism Product.

A Good Food Revolution Project brought to you in part by the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund, to a tune of $40,000.00

The Good Food Revolution Project – a call to action to farmers, retailers and consumers to “grow, buy, consume organic” – is a partnership between RISE, the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology (MSDEST) and the Ministry of Agriculture, funded in part by the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme, and launched during Nobel Laureate week in January.

The project which seeks to create a national environment that promotes healthy food consumption, revolutionizing food production by removing toxic chemicals and harmful GMOs from the Saint Lucian Food Chain, through a 3-pronged approach: consumer awareness-raising and education, farmer training and national policy development, enters a new phase of farmer training which has attracted further support from partners such as the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

On May 3rd 2016 a group of 40 farmers began a journey together, facilitated by Good Food Revolution consultants Damian Adjodha, Thaddeus Constantine and Johanan Dujon, to revolutionize the way food is produced in St. Lucia. The focus of the training created an understanding of a farm as a living ecosystem that produces food:  Agro-ecosystem.

The first block of training took place over 3 months with sessions designed to train growers in advanced organic practical techniques following a ‘field-school’ format.

 To obtain the certificate of completion, participants started their own organic test plot, documenting the entire process.

The workshop introduced farmers to the organic certification process, to regional and international standards, and to organic Business Plan development.

Participants received hundreds of dollars in organic farming supplies and tools, and a 3- part manual as incentive for successfully participating in the program.  

A Very Successful Pan Tuning Workshop for young people

The Training, Promotion & Development Department of the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) hosted a Pan Tuning Workshop which was generously funded by the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund. The two week long training workshop was held from August 10th to 21st, 2015, from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm each day at the Courts Babonneau Pan Yard in Grande Riviere, Gros Islet.

The Pan Tuning Workshop provided practical skills and valuable knowledge as a strategy to actively build our base of skilled leaders and Steel Pan professionals in Saint Lucia.

 

According to the CDF, “The training and development aspect of Steel Pan is almost as important as the entertainment itself. By taking an integrated approach to ensure a long-term future for quality steel pan music, the Steel Pan Groups can look forward to notable successes in the future.”

The Pan Tuning Workshop was facilitated by Mr. Gabriel Robley of Trinidad. Gabriel has an education in advanced steel pan Tuning. He has experience as a pan tuner in Trinidad, Grenada, Cayman Islands, and Jamaica and is also a Pan Educator who conducts workshops in history and playing of steel pan instruments.

About Pan Tuning:

Tuning a pan or set of pans is a complex process that takes many hours of work, generally spread over a period of at least two days. The first step is to obtain 55 gallon barrels. Pan instruments vary in terms of the number of barrels required, the number of notes on the playing surface, the depth of this surface when hammered into a concave shape, and the length of the “skirt” (the sides of the pan).

Though each pan instrument has its unique features, the basic tuning principles are the same. Once obtained, the barrel is turned upside down, with the top resting on the ground. The bottom of the pan is sunk inward. Once the surface has begun to assume a concave shape, a pencil and ruler are used to make some preliminary markings of individual sections, each of which will become a note.

The next step of the tuning process is to “groove” the individual note sections with a 24-ounce hammer and a nail punch with a blunted point. When all of the sections have been grooved, the pan is ready to be cut.

“This programme means a lot to me” – Jus Sail Youth Training Programme Participant

An initiative proudly sponsored by the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund

Approximately 4 weeks into the theoretical part of their training, the students are already applauding the facilitators for what they say is a timely and relevant programme. The students hail from communities as far as Choiseul, Jacmel, Dennery Mabouya Valley, Castries and environs. According to Oswald Richard who is originally from the community of Choiseul “I found out about the programme on facebook, then I visited the website to find out more about the programme. So I filled out an application, sent it in then got accepted. Coming into this programme I got some new experiences. I would like to thank them for this opportunity. I think there should be more of these programmes to decrease the level of crime on island.”

The three tenets underlying the programme are – Training – Certification – Employment. The aim of the Jus’ Sail Youth Training Programme is to assist young St Lucians who have a commitment to improving their skills to find sustainable employment within the yachting or wider service and hospitality sectors. Jus’ Sail believes that sailing offers an unparalleled learning environment in transferable skills and personal development.

Marcus from La Clery admitted that “It’s an opportunity for us to better ourselves, as I like to learn new skills. Although I can swim, I was a bit afraid of the water, so I now trust the water. Through the training, I was able to learn how to swim the right way.”

The training programme schedule of activities includes:

  • First Aid and CPR certification;
  • Swim to Survive Certification with the St Lucia Lifesaving Association;
  • PADI Skin Diver Certificate (required to be a snorkel guide)
  • International Crew Certification with Jus’ Sail through their accredited sailing school with International Yacht Training Worldwide and preparation to take the SLASPA crew certificate required to work on charter vessels in St Lucia;
  • Customer service workshops;
  • Personal development workshops;
  • Conflict resolution and effective communications workshop;
  • Teambuilding and leadership development sailing sessions
  • And a minimum of two weeks work experience within a suitable workplace.

Gillia St Helair says “What really caught my attention is the FirstAid and Swimming. I cannot swim so I am hoping to master it. I have held many office positions before and realized that I prefer being outdoor and being active.”  At the completion of this programme successful participants will be assisted in reviewing their CV to seek gainful employment.

The Jus’ Sail’s facilitators are always eager to meet prospective students, getting them trained and watching them grow from strength to strength becoming successful and much-respected members of the teams in which they work across the marine and wider tourism sector.

The Tourism Enhancement Fund Projects Coordinator Wendel George stated that “I am very fond of this programme and would like to wish the students all the best throughout their training. Further, I think that the directors of the Jus Sail Training Programme James and Pepsi Crockett are doing an amazing job with these young persons that they are training. I am pretty sure that the programme will continue to grow and become popular with more young people indicating their interest in pursuing it.”

For more information on the Jus’ Sail Youth Training Programme and its activities please refer to the Youth Training Page on the Jus’ Sail Website where you can download an application form.

If you are a local business and would potentially be interested in recruiting a graduate from the programme into your team please contact programme director James Crockett by email: james@jussail.com

The SLHTA in Collaboration with the Tourism Enhancement Fund Spearheads healthy living

The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) have partnered to use sports as the gate way to a healthier lifestyle. As the Voice of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry, the SLHTA believes that it is its responsibility to take such a bold thrust in the form of a Football Tournament. Strategically renamed the SLHTA’s Champions Cup, this prolific initiative is esteemed as exceptional by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and is seen as just the ingredient needed for the Tourism Sector to deliberately have a breakthrough in promoting and in formulating avenues to emphasize that a healthy life style is an integral component for the total well being of all stakeholders, employees and St. Lucians alike, while championing community development.
The TEF and the SLHTA have steadfast confidence in this Football Tournament because of its diverse functions that will result into positive growth for the secretariat’s membership. Needless to say the functions entail generating:
  • camaraderie that fuels networking among teams and company managers to ignite inter-company relationships.
  • increased physical activity in the lives of the participants as normal working hours may not be conducive for them to pursue recreation or sports which may be their passion.
  • The football games will also build team spirit corporation and sportsmanship that will trickle down into increase efficiency in the workplace and bettered communication between employees.
The tournament features sixteen 16 teams from our membership, tenaciously vying for this year’s cup.

1.      Sandals Regency La Toc,

2.      Sandals Grande St. Lucian,

3.      Marigot Bay Resort and Marina by Capella,

4.      The BodyHoliday Resort St. Lucia,

5.      Ladera Resort

6.      Ti Kaye Resort

7.      Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa

8.      Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa

9.      Windjammer Landings Villa Beach Resort and Spa

10.  Royalton St. Lucia

11.  Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

12.  Anse Chastanet/Jade Mountain

13.  Royal by Rex Resort

14.  Lucelec

15.  Cap Maison Resort

16.  St. James Club Morgan Bay

The reasons we must keep investing in them – Our Culinarians

Watching these young aspiring chefs cook and seeing their skills unfold is fantastic and the best feeling in the world, because I know that we are helping to change the lives of not only these young chefs but the lives of their entire families and friends” says Wendel George, Tourism Enhancement Fund Projects Coordinator.
The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) exclusively supported Megan Felicien and Brittney Henry while preparing for and during their representation of Saint Lucia at the Barbados Dueling Competition held in Barbados last week. One of the pillars that the SLHTA established the TEF on is Comprehensive Youth Development. Once again, this has come to materialize through the outstanding performance of seventeen year old Megan Felicien and twenty-one year old Brittney Henry. The SLHTA and the TEF are extremely proud to have invested in these leaders of tomorrow.
The work that the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) is associated with is phenomenal and is being praised at a national and regional level. The SLHTA has been making strides at a secondary school level, and has made major impacts on the way students view Tourism as well as Food and Beverage and Culinary Arts in Saint Lucia.
At the rate in which Tourism Industry is moving, the Association sees this as an opportunity to groom our youth to not only become our leaders but be better equipped to lead. This industry plays a major role in the Saint Lucian Economy and by extension the livelihood of the local populous.  Therefore the Association wants to nurture talent that will ensure sustainability of our Tourism Product.
The SLHTA established the Tourism Enhancement Fund in 2013, because it envisioned Tourism playing a more vital role in society along with the much needed development of the island sites and attractions and more importantly its people. From a $2.00 US per night voluntary contribution from guests, SLHTA has been able to invest at least two Million dollars in youth development initiatives, Apprenticeship Programs and the upgrading of various tourism products among others.
To this date, SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund has invested over EC$260,000 in the development of Culinary Arts in St Lucia since its establishment.
The SLHTA is confident that today’s’ investment in the arts will integrate well into the growth and sustainability of Saint Lucia’s Tourism Industry in the coming years. We extend sincere gratitude to the member companies who are committed to this fund and continue to encourage their guests to contribute.

Another Proud Moment for SLHTA Junior Chefs at Caribbean Junior Dueling Challenge 2017

Seventeen (17) year old Megan Felicien of Trios Piton and (21) twenty-one year old Brittney Henry of Ciceron gave an outstanding representation of Saint Lucia at the Barbados Junior Chef Dueling Competition.
The two aspiring chefs formed a culinary power bomb and emerged number one for the National Dish Segment and the Mystery Basket Round. They were able to secure Gold Medals for the National Dish and Mystery Basket rounds. However,  the culinarians were awarded third place in the final round of competition.
The competition also served the purpose of enlightenment.  The two junior chefs attended seminars conducted by highly esteemed chefs in the region. The two young women are now exposed to the thrill and pressure from competition on a regional level and now understand the discipline required to become a professional chef. A part from competition aspect, Megan and Brittney also had the privilege of interacting with their regional counter-paths in a forum where they learnt about their cultures through food.
Megan Felicien and Brittney Henry were accompanied by Mr. Billy Boyle the passionate Executive Chef at Marigot Bay Resort and Marina by Capella whom also spent time grooming them for the competition and Mr. Wendel George who is the team’s coordinator.
The competition took place in Barbados from the 21st August to 27th August 2017.

Megan Felicien & Michaela Poleon of Ciceron Secondary School are the new Champions of the SLHTA Chefs in Schools Cook-Off Competition 2016

A competition with a difference; full of anticipation and excitement was this year’s cook off competition hosted by the SLHTA. The event catered for a small studio audience made up of Students, teachers and parents who came out to cheer and show support for their respective culinary teams. The SLHTA Chefs in Schools Competition is an annual cooking event which targets Food and Nutrition students of forms 3-5 who are passionate about cooking and desirous of a career in Culinary Arts.

Adopting a similar format from Barbados’ Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge, students fought their way through two rounds of competition including the Signature /Freestyle round and Mystery Basket round. After the first round of competition which included all the six participating schools, only three schools made it through to the second round. Corinth, Soufriere and Ciceron Secondary Schools presented the most impressive dishes and it afforded them a place in the finals, which was the mystery basket round.

After 90 minutes to discuss, prepare and present their dishes with the excitement and buzz from the audience, the teams astounded the judges with beautiful and flavorful dishes.

In 3rd place, Raynesia Charles and Shane Garacksingh of Corinth Secondary School presented:

The Corinth Way
Herb and cornmeal crusted snapper fillet creole sauce
Married with cheddar potato and a bouquet of vegetables
Shrimp and spinach cannelloni

 

In 2nd place, Jenneh Abel and Alvina Brown of Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School presented:
Surf “N” Surf: Shrimp two ways
Cornmeal crusted shrimp and panseared shrimp
Roasted red snapper, love apple, mango and smoke herring salad
Soursop dressing breadfruit coconut casserole

 

Champion dish, presented by Megan Felicien and Michaela Poleon of Ciceron Secondary School:
Cornmeal and salt fish crusted red snapper with a Tania croquet and apricot compote
Megan and Michaela will be traveling to Barbados in two months to represent Saint Lucia at the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge.
The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association Inc (SLHTA) would like to congratulate all the participants in this year’s competition including Gros Islet, Sir Ira Simmons, Babonneau Secondary Schools, and the top three schools Ciceron, Soufriere Comprehensive, and Corinth Secondary Schools.
This year’s competition is proudly sponsored by the SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund. A special ‘Thank You’ to all the coaches;
  1. Chef Niguel Gerald – Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort
  2. Chef Elijah Jules – Anse Chastanet/Jade Mountain
  3. Chef Refer Leonce – Cap Maison
  4. Chef Peter Lawrence – Bay Gardens Beach Resort
  5. Chef Brandford Edmond/ Mrs. Rosie Joinville – Tapas on the Bay
  6. Chef Eike Lauff – Royal by Rex Resorts

TEF Donates 150 Food Hampers to Needy Families

The SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) distributes over 150 food hampers to families and homes in need across the island.

The annual food hampers are funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund which is financed by voluntary donations from visitors to our island.

Families in Gros Islet, Castries, Ciceron, Millet, Canaries, Vieux Fort, Dennery and Babboneau will benefit from these hampers this year. Each hamper contains rice, flour, canned tuna fish, canned sardines, luncheon meat, cereal, hygiene products, crackers, peas, milk, sausages, sweets, pastas, salt, sugar, juices and a variety of snacks.

SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund is committed to Human Resource Development in Saint Lucia

The St Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association as part of its mandate to further Human Resource Development in the tourism industry hosted an eight week wine training course for twenty-one beverage professionals from member hotels and restaurants.

The course facilitated by Jasper Kok, Executive Assistant Manager for Food & Beverage at Cap Maison Resort & Spa, provided attendees with an intensive eight week course titled Foundations of Wines of the World. On Wednesday January 27th, the participants received their certificates at a ceremony held in the SLHTA’s Hospitality Training Centre at Rodney Heights, Gros Islet.

This course, the second of three levels, provided an approachable insight into international wines, grapevines, wine Regions, wine cultivation, wine making, wine styles, reading the label, professional serving standards and basics on food and wine pairing.

This course and the many like it to follow will provide industry workers the opportunity to become more skilled in their chosen profession while advancing the quality of service offered to visitors to the island.

The SLHTA and the Tourism Enhancement Fund has committed much funding towards Human Resource Development with the understanding that it is critical to productivity, competitiveness and creating positive and empowering work cultures. Chief Executive Officer, Noorani Azeez, in his comments to participants emphasized that, “We need to maximize the returns of tourism for each one of us by taking advantage of new opportunities that the growing tourism industry provides. However these opportunities can only be realized through the advancement of knowledge.

SLHTA members La Cantina Wines, Peter & Co. Ltd, St Lucia Distillers Ltd., and Bel Voir Estates contributed over 60 wines towards the training program, allowing participants to experience a wide variety of flavors.

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