PHILIPSBURG–It has been talked about for more than a decade and has been formalised somewhat legally. And now, the still-tobe physically established and become operational St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA) has received a Crystal Pineapple for Excellence from St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA).
The organisation explained at the 10th annual Crystal Pineapple Awards, held at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino on Friday night, that highlighting the still-tobe put in place STA was a move to bring awareness to the dire need for this vital public-private partnership structure to boost tourism.
Other non-voted recognitions given out at the ceremony, which also marked the 45 years of SHTA’s existence, included the “Public Media Award.” That Crystal Pineapple was presented by SHTA to the Storm Watch Team of Laser 101.
Archaeologist Jay Haviser was named “Tourism Ambassador” by SHTA.
The Crystal Pineapple for Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award was given to Binkie van Es, an avid birder and member of Nature Foundation.
The Crystal Pineapple for Hospitality Manager of the Year was presented to Marcel Javois of Simpson Bay Resort and Marina.
In the voting categories, Clint Violenus of Sonesta Maho took home the Crystal Pineapple for Employee of the Year (Accommodations). Other nominees in the category were Akilah Dormoy (Sonesta Maho), Alita Romain (Simpson Bay Resort and Marina), Kathleen Ellis (Oyster Bay Beach Resort), Rajesh Mayan (Divi Little Bay Beach Resort) and Vernetta Lewis (Sonesta Great Bay).
The recognition for Supervisor of the Year went to Rudolph Maynard (Divi Little Bay). He had been nominated along with Dane Weekes (The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa), Kaye Henderson (Sonesta Maho) and Unelta Cherry (Sonesta Great Bay).
Paul Jacques Casseus of Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort was named Department Manager of the Year. Also nominated were Pedro Sánchez (Simpson Bay Resort) and Colin Richardson and Marije Lodewijks (Divi Little Bay).
Ingrid Bosnie of Oyster Bay Beach Resort won the Crystal Pineapple for Outstanding Performance in Sales (Timeshare). Her fellow nominees in the category were Giane Chance (Divi Little Bay) and Raynaida Flemming (Simpson Bay Beach Resort).
Chelsey Brown of Sonesta Maho was named Restaurant Employee of the Year. Also nominated were Lewinskyn Munoz (Oyster Bay), Odessa Timmerman (Jimbo’s Rock and Blues Café), Osbaldo Placencio (Holland House Beach Hotel), Ruﬁ no de la Cruz (Sonesta Great Bay) and Anne Marie Joseph (The Greenhouse Simpson Bay).
Jandery Powell of Holland House took home the Crystal Pineapple for Supervisor of the Year. Her fellow nominee was Kevin Morris of The Westin St. Maarten.
The honour of Restaurateur of the Year went to James Morris of Jimbo’s Rock and Blues Café. Nominated along with him were Mariana Shah of Dish D’lish and Maranatha Leconte of Maranatha Cuisines.
The Chef of the Year title went to Wendell Michael Laurence of Big Fish Restaurant. Other chefs nominated were Iwan Hokahin (Divi Little Bay), Raymond Kaper (Holland House), and Stacy Mardenbrough (Sonesta Great Bay).
The Crystal Pineapple for Bartender of the Year was received by David Hernandez of Oyster Bay Beach Resort. Also nominated were Elizabeth Attidore and Ramon Moreno of Sonesta Maho.
Designer Zillah Duzon of Jolie Duzon was named Rookie of the Year. Other rookies nominated were Michelle Christian of Michelle’s Glamour Salon and Shawn Gilgallon of Divi Little Bay.
The winner of the Crystal Pineapple for Trade Employee of the Year was Monica Gomez Samuel of Endless Summer Swimwear. Her fellow nominees were Alexander Smith (CC1) and Willem Nelissen (Lexwell Attorneysat-Law).
Allison Reyes of C.T.C. King Ocean received the Crystal Pineapple for Trade Supervisor of the Year. Also nominated were Jonelie Velez (CC1) and Ritika Nanwani of Century 21 Island Realty.
Kathleen Rogers of Aqua Mania Adventures was named Salesperson of the Year (Trade). Carla Melo (Sonesta Maho) and Santa Guzman (Blue Point) were also nominated.
The board and staff of University of St. Martin (USM) got the Crystal Pineapple for Outstanding Community Service Achievement. Also nominated were The David Company/KARE, Pantophlet Villa Foundation and the Real Talk Team of St. Maarten AIDS Foundation.
Chantry Hodge, popularly known as “Cut Creator DJ Outkast,” was named Entertainer of the Year. He won from among fellow entertainers Addison “Shadowman” Richardson, Leroy “King Beau Beau” Brooks, and Darin “King Vers” Hodge.
The Crystal Pineapple for Best Customer Service Representative went to Micheline Warner of Social and Health Insurance SZV. Also nominated were Desmond Patterson of Country Club Gym of Princess Port de Plaisance and Rosalie Davis-Jeffers of The Daily Herald.
Interval International, a vacation exchange company, recognised several partner resorts on St. Maarten at the awards ceremony. Interval was the main international sponsor of the event.