PM on hotel poaching: “It’s a free market!”

Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has responded to concerns in the hospitality industry that new hotels are ‘stealing’ trained and experienced staff from established resorts.

“It’s a free market unfortunately – I shouldn’t say unfortunately –  It is a free market and labour is free to move wherever it wants to be able to move,” the former Tourism Minister said.

He asserted that it was bad planning to know that a certain size hotel would be built and training does not take place earlier.

“It was amazing to me that here the opposition criticised the minister of tourism for doing exactly that – for putting together a training programme to make sure  that other staff are not being poached and to make sure in fact that the hotels could have gottten trained staff ready for themselves,”  the Prime Minister told reporters.

“This is a lesson we must all learn, I don’t think it serves anyone well when we see that level of movement of staff from one hotel to another hotel and I can say to you that my government will do everything it can to  ensure that it doesn’t happen again and part of that is ensuring that we have better training programmes in place and anticipate the opening of new hotels,” Chastanet stated.

It was an obvious reference to the presence here of the Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa which in November last year began a screening and interviewing process to hire one thousand persons to fill positions at the hotel.

General Manager, Andre Dhanpaul, said at the time that applicants are being interviewed for jobs at the resort which would have opened in January this year.

Just this week, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)  expressed concern over poaching in the hospitality sector  warning that such a practice could affect the customer service rating across the region.

CHTA President Karolin Troubetzkoy said that there is an opportunity to reduce employment by building a larger segment of hospitality workers that can be hired for new properties.


  1. Anonymous
    February 15, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    its about time this happens, you have to develop and keep your human resources by offering competitive packages, for too long workers are being marginalized as not having a significant contribution to returns on investment or return on experience. minimum wage has been stagnant, more hotels higher demand for skill labor higher salaries for employees whats wrong with that. same should happen need a Tesco, Walmart or bobbies to shake up the salaries in retail sector, all those Syrians and Chinese you are next.

  2. minimum wage bill
    February 15, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    if we had minimum wage we would not have that issue salary would be standardize through out the sector

  3. Anonymous
    February 15, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    All workers should go on strike as no one should work for less than 10 dollars an hour in st lucia

  4. Anonymous
    February 15, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    If you want to keep your workers just pay them more. I’m sure if they’re getting paid more where they at they will not leave.

  5. Anonymous
    February 15, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    It’s because the staff at the other resort wasn’t being treated fairly and paid a good salary that’s why they left and went to a better paying resort .
    Why should the prime minister make changes so that this situation doesn’t happen again , why he’s not saying he would have a meeting with the private sectors to pay their staff more .
    People go to work to get paid not for fun or charity.

    1. none
      February 16, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      The private sector is just that-private. The PM/ government cannot tell private entities to pay their staff more. A minimum wage can be set so it can be ensured that staff can’t get paid any less than that.

  6. 666
    February 15, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    I agree, it’s a free market!

  7. smartmun
    February 15, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    train new workers life goes on. more employment is what the country was crying for so instead of fighting over the employed why not make something out of the unemployed . Just goes to show you there always was jobs out there . The employers need to be more open minded to untrained staff as education is still in its developing stages in st lucia .

  8. ...
    February 15, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Some employers do not consider their employees as important assets. Alot of them figure that we workers need a job so they will treat us like crap and we have to take it because we have mouths to feed and bills to pay. It is about time employers treat their employees better, give better pay, better working conditions, better incentives. Then and only then will u see workers showing loyalty. I agree with the PM its a free market!

  9. BimJim
    February 15, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Retaining staff requires ALL owners and managers (not just in hotels) to take a leaf out of Sir Richard Branson’s book… pay your staff properly, treat them like people, give them respect and they will go beyond the call of duty for you. Treat and pay staff like animals , and they will be gone before you know it, running for the first opportunity that presents itself.

    Today’s management needs to recognise that colonial days have been over for more than 50 years, the only thing stopping all West Indians from actually leaving for other shores within the region is the retarded self-serving “King-Of-My-Castle” political nonsense of regional Prime Ministers paying lip service to free movement, and then making damned sure it never happens.

  10. Anonymous
    February 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    I don’t know that its a case of salary, but I do agree that treatment of workers is important. The thing we have to be careful of is that when these promises are made they dont end up being just pipe dreams. i hppe these big boys don;t come here fooling the people with salary promises and ignore there other basic needs such as health and pension benefits,. remember, companies that offer such things have tio pay for them too. but peoplke are free to move indeed, its a question of the sincerity of the people who are asking them to do so

  11. Anonymous
    February 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    The same person asking them to leave is the same person who was the boss man in some of the resorts they leaving from. so if he couldnt stand up for them there, what makes you think he will stand up for them now. And don’t say, well he left. so what? if he fails at Royalton too he will do what, leave again?