An Open Letter From Sandals Grenada General Manager Peter Fraser

PR – For nearly 40 years, Sandals Resorts International has  held the well-being of our team members, guests, and the broader community as our highest priority. 

We have been recognised as the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company for over two decades, and that’s  because we always aim to set the benchmark; whatever we do, we do at the highest standard.  

So, when we set out to develop the Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, we knew they had to be  the very best set of health and hygiene protocols available in the world before we decided to open any  one of our resorts. No effort was spared, including obtaining guidance from the Center for Disease  Control (CDC), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO),  including the Ministry of Health in Grenada to establish one of the most comprehensive bodies of health  and safety measures available anywhere. We ensured all protocols were aligned with all the country  guidelines including the Pure Grenada Protocols and not only met but exceeded them, and we have  worked diligently to ensure all procedures are followed. This week for example, the Grenada Tourism  Authority is set present Sandals Grenada with the Pure Safe Travel People’s Tourism Choice Award in the  category of Training.  

The Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness work and have successfully managed the reopening of our  resorts, allowing us to safely welcome tens of thousands of visitors back to the Caribbean. Because of  these efforts, we have already seen the beginnings of a rebound in travel across the region. The positive  impacts of that rebound, from visitors to the thousands of team members and partners who rely on the  travel sector for their livelihoods, is something we can all be proud of.  

Not only have the protocols worked well throughout the Caribbean, they have worked well in Grenada,  where the Ministry’s inspectors have always given us a clean bill of health. We remain confident in their  efficacy. We are so respected in the area of health and safety during this time that we are providing advice and training to other members of the travel industry and recommendations to many  governments based on our experience. 

This is why we were particularly troubled to find ourselves the subject of inaccurate and  unsubstantiated information being disseminated in the very early days of this issue. Much of which, we  categorically refute.  

We take this COVID-19 pandemic very seriously, and we implore that the dissemination of information  to the public be rational and based on fact. Any other approach creates unnecessary complications not  just for the destinations but for the population.  

We were dismayed to see the Chief Medical Officer and the Minister of Health host a press briefing at a  time of limited facts and information, to insinuate any lapse in protocols on our part. Even though the  investigations are still ongoing, all parties were fully aware that we proactively initiated this process and  contact tracing had yet to be completed. These utterances from official sources have fueled inaccurate  further reporting both locally and internationally.  

In keeping with our commitment to maintaining the health and safety of all, we feel it important to  share more detailed specifics surrounding this complex issue so that our team members and all citizens  can stay fully informed:  

  • All guests at Sandals Grenada must comply with the travel and health requirements of the  government of Grenada for entry into the country, which includes receiving a negative COVID 19 test. Sandals fully supports these policies and follows all guidelines relating to  entry requirements into Grenada. 
  • As many may not know, as part of our stringent protocols, it was, in fact, the proactivity of our  team on the ground at Sandals Grenada who initiated the random testing, which we  subsequently funded – that allowed the Ministry to run further testing. I had personally been  the one requesting that random testing take place for over a month prior to this situation. I can  voice with great confidence that there was no breach in our protocols; instead, it demonstrated  them in action and how they work to safeguard our team members and guests. Our team  champions this cause and diligently maintains our protocols at all times.  
  • Reports identifying that the source of the positive cases is Sandals are completely  unsubstantiated. As we all know, this virus is particularly good at both spreading and doing so  undetected. This is why our monitoring protocols are so important. As of today, the source is not yet known, and Sandals is fully supporting the contact tracing and fact-finding efforts, which  are ongoing, to identify a source and any key learnings available from this situation.
  • In addition, information provided to the local media that the resort was evacuated due to this  situation and instructed to close is false. At all times, we take into account the most stringent  guidelines to ensure our resorts are as safe and enjoyable as possible. Out of an abundance of  caution, and as the government reassesses its own protocols, we are not accepting new guests  at this time and are working with them to accommodate their travel plans to another one of our  resorts in the Caribbean region.  
  • As further evidence of the high standards held at the resort, there have been three surprise  inspections of our health and safety measures by the Grenada public health authorities,  including a personal visit from the Minister of Health and Social Security. On all three occasions,  Sandals Grenada was deemed to meet and exceed all standards set by the government. 
  • As of now, the small number of individuals who initially tested positive are asymptomatic and  are receiving secondary testing – with some even having reportedly receiving a negative test  result. Team members who received positive test results are currently under quarantine. As  members of the Sandals family, we are caring for any needs they may have. Subsequently, we  have seen a number of persons who were initially labelled as positive by the authorities being  later told that they were in fact negative. In one particular case a health official apologised to  one of our team members after being isolated for days due to his test being incorrectly labeled.  
  • There are only two guests under quarantine at the resort awaiting second test results. Both are  asymptomatic and also receiving support from us. Following our Sandals protocols, these  individuals and the staff supporting them follow additional guidelines for ensuring the  quarantine measures are strictly enforced and that there are zero risks to the rest of the resort’s  operations. 

We have been in constant communication with the government and although we have verbal  acknowledgment on a number of these significant inaccuracies and supporting confirmation, we  continue to express great disappointment that we have not seen any official public declaration to  correct any of these known discrepancies.  

Sandals continues to draw upon the recommendations from international and local public health  authorities to ensure that our protocols take into account the latest information and abide by the Pure  Grenada Protocols that are continuously deployed, with a zero-tolerance policy for staff or guests who  cannot comply with these vital health and safety measures. We are committed to ensuring the enforcement of these protocols through collaboration with public health authorities to identify potential  risks and ensure we are doing everything possible to protect our team members’ health and safety and  valued guests. 

For over seven years and ever since we opened this resort in 2013, we have had an outstanding  partnership with the people of Grenada and its government. Our Grenadian team members’ health and  safety, 600 out of our 15,000 across the region, is equally important to us. They are family. We continue  to engage in dialogue with the government to determine an appropriate way forward for the benefit of  all our stakeholders, including our valued team members and customers. We take our responsibility to  protect our Sandals family’s health and safety, including each of you and your loved ones, very seriously. 

Peter Fraser  

General Manager  

Sandals Grenada