This Saturday, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa hosted the 12th SHTA Crystal Pineapple Awards Fundraising Gala. The Crystal Pineapple Awards (CPA) is the only event on the island that recognizes excellence in Hospitality & Trade Personnel, Organizations and Associations. The event honored Fifty exceptional nominees who vied for eleven awards in the public voting categories, while three SHTA selected awards were presented for those that the Board determined represent outstanding achievements.
The sold event was thrilled to be back at Sonesta Maho’s Convention Center as the return of CPA to its usually home. The first time many attendees had been back to the Ballroom. As has been traditional Sundial School students participated in providing exceptional hospitality service to the dinners.
Sjorensly Valies of SXM Crazy Beach Chairs was awarded the Environmental Crystal Pineapple Award for his ongoing assistance to keep Mullet Bay beach clean. The Community Service Award 2019 was won by the Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) for providing subsidized education to those hotel employees without work post Hurricane Irma.
Excelling “Rookie of the Year in Hospitality” Christopher Smith of Oyster Bay Beach Resort stated, “if you enjoy your work as much as I do, there is no work”. The award for Rookie of the Year 2019 in Trade was taken home by a proud Johnell Davis of Princess Juliana International Airport.
Ronald Halman was acknowledged with a special Crystal Pineapple Award for his efforts over the last 10 years as President of the General Audit Chamber. SHTA stated Halman to have “Sint Maarten society at heart in everything he does… he personifies the independence, advocacy and integrity that citizens demand of our high councils of state”.
On behalf of Emilio’s Restaurant, Su Wathey graciously accepted the “Restaurant of the Year Award”; Nalia Muriel of St. Maarten Nectar was selected as “Entrepreneur of the Year”.
The second special award of the event was presented to Winair for their rejuvenation and success, the SHTA underlined that “Like a Phoenix from the Ashes” Winair “fought itself back from dark days, in a very difficult and highly competitive market … showcasing to all of St. Maarten what good corporate governance is”.
Famed radio host Kevin “Suppa Kid” Petrona received recognition as 2019’s Media Personality of the Year. The Crystal Pineapple Award for Manager of the Year 2019 in Trade was won by Wai-Hing Patterson-Yee of Guardian Group Fatum. Agnes Hughes of Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa was awarded the title Manager of the Year in Hospitality.
Kyle Richardson of Caribbean Palms took home the prestigious award in the category Employee of the Year in Trade. Jahvaughny Ayee of Domino’s Pizza received laurels as Employee of the Year in Hospitality.
The final award of the evening was an SHTA Award presented to well-known hotelier Keith Graham for his work for the Sint Maarten tourism product and society at large, most notably his recurring voluntary efforts in recovery after hurricanes “working tirelessly to put St. Maarten back on the Map for visitors with the Emergency Recovery Fund after hurricane Luis, being one of the strongest advocates for protecting hospitality employees after the devastation of Irma … so that employees would be able to upgrade their skills instead of sitting idle waiting for hotel reopenings”.
SHTA started and closed the event by thanking main sponsors Interval International and CC1 Sint Maarten, as “main enablers of the comeback of the Crystal Pineapple Awards as an iconic event for the Sint Maarten private sector”. As an additional thank you note, the association hailed its host Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa “as a symbol of the resilience of the Sint Maarten private sector”.