Sandals' western staff set to shine at ENCORE tonight
Five staff members from Beaches Negril and Sandals Whitehouse resorts will represent the western region at the national finals of the Sandals and Beaches Resorts' Entertainment Now Creates Opportunity Rewarding Excellence (ENCORE) competition set for tonight at the Sandals Grand Riviera in Ocho Rios.
The western elimination was held at Beaches Negril last week and saw 12 participants from Beaches Negril, Sandals Whitehouse, Sandals Negril, and the Grand Pineapple Beach Resort competing in five categories.
At the end of a rather entertaining evening, Akeliah Vassell of Beaches Negril's dining room was selected as the competitor to represent the west in the Female Vocalist category. The corresponding male winner for the evening was her co-worker, Sharren Robinson, who is employed to the resort's photo shop.
Female model category
In the female model category, Krystal Nembhard-Reid of Sandals Whitehouse emerged the winner, while Nicoy Flower of the entertainment department at Beaches Negril took the male model title.
In the Dance category, which had only two female competitors, Karalee Cole of Sandals Whitehouse outdanced Samantha Brown of Sandals Negril.
The winners at tonight's finals will compete in the overall finals against their counterparts from other Caribbean-based resorts in the Sandals chain, namely The Bahamas, Antigua, St Lucia, and the Turks and Caicos.
The competition is the brainchild of Group Creative Director for Sandals Resorts International, Weston Haughton. It started 10 years ago as a means of highlighting the talents of the staff members of the resorts.
"It's more than just a competition," Haughton said after the event. "It's a means of cultural exchange for the staff, especially when they meet for the grand finals. They work together and have a lot of fun times together."
In the meantime, Divisional Entertainment Manager at Beaches Negril, Gareth Bailey, says he is hopeful his staff members will take home the bulk of the prizes when the competition reaches the next stage.
"Stage craft, presentation, and delivery are some of the areas that I will be working on to ensure that we achieve the ultimate," he said.