Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
THE JAMAICA Association of Villas and Apartments (JAVA) held its annual general meeting last Saturday at Villa Viento in Tower Isle, during which it honoured several persons who have made outstanding contributions to the organisation.
President of JAVA, Vana Taylor, and Nehru Caolsingh, operator of Crystal Waters Villas in Negril, were honoured for their decades of service to JAVA and other areas of the tourism industry.
For the first time, JAVA has paid tribute to workers employed at member properties, with Matilda 'Subie' Henry of Beanbird Garden Villa and Beach Cottage, Marcia Gilroy of Riviera Villa, and Olive Johnson of Fairway Manor being the awardees.
The meeting attracted several high-profile members of the tourism industry, including Carole Guntley, director general in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment; Camille Needham, executive director of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA); and Maxine Henry-Wilson, chair of Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).
Taylor, a justice of the peace, is also area chair for the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association's Runaway Bay/Ocho Rios chapter and managing director of Sunflower Resort and Villas in Salem, Runaway Bay. She has dedicated her life to the tourism industry, having served many organisations in the sector, including the aforementioned, along with the JTB and TPDCo. She has also served the Optimist Club of Ocho Rios and St Ann Chamber of Commerce.
Taylor has received several awards over the years, including the St Ann Chamber of Commerce award for tourism in 2007.
Caolsingh, too, has been involved in tourism for decades. Fresh out of Jamaica College, he moved to Westmoreland in 1975 to work with his family at Crystal Waters Villas. Among other things, Caolsingh is a founding member of the Negril Chamber of Commerce and served as president of the chamber for three years. He is a director of JAVA and in 2001 was awarded the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service to Tourism.
Meanwhile, it was a joyful occasion for owner of Beanbird Villas, Sainte-Marie Stephenson, as she watched her employee, Matilda 'Subie' Henry, whom she nominated, being chosen as JAVA Employee of the Year.
"Subie has been with the property since 1983 and her gracious and warm personality, dedicated attention to guests, and mastery in the kitchen made her name synonymous with Bean Bird," Stephenson commented on the nomination of her worker.
Marcia Gilroy and Olive Johnson were first and second runners-up, respectively.
JAVA, celebrating 45 years, came in for commendation from all speakers during the meeting as the association continues to serve the villa, cottage and condominium sector in Jamaica with distinction.
PHOTOS BY CARL GILCHRIST