Sandals team in Bahamas on relief mission

NASSAU, The Bahamas — A team from Sandals Resorts International (SRI) is now on the ground in The Bahamas, one week after Hurricane Dorian ravaged two islands in the archipelago — Grand Bahama and Great Abaco — leaving thousands homeless and at least 45 dead.

The team, which includes SRI Human Resources Director Ryan Matthew, Project Manager Karen Zacca, and Beaches Negril General Manager Gary Williams, arrived in the island yesterday and will, over the next few days, get a first-hand look at relief efforts so far.

Immediately on arrival the team hit the ground running, visiting a collection and distribution centre at New Providence Community Church as well as the largest shelter in Nassau at Kendal GL Isaacs National Gymnasium.

The team met with Gina Knowles of the non-profit organisation HeadKnowles, and director of the National Emergency Management Agency Captain Stephen Russell, in an effort to identify the immediate needs of the thousands who have been displaced by the monster category five storm.

HeadKnowles is one of the groups coordinating donations for disaster relief and with which Sandals Foundation has been working since the storm hit the two islands in The Bahamas last week.

Over the next few days, the team will be visiting other shelters in Nassau to see how best the resort chain can help people displaced by the hurricane.

Last week, Sandals Resorts Deputy Chairman Adam Stewart, who is also the Sandals Foundation president, emphasised that all three Sandals properties in The Bahamas escaped Dorian’s wrath, thus enabling the company to focus on assisting the people of The Bahamas.

“As a matter of fact, the storm was over 200 miles away from the closest point from our hotels, which gives us the opportunity to focus on recovery and assistance, however and wherever we can,” he said on Tuesday.

Sandals Resorts has pledged to match every dollar donated to Sandals Foundation’s hurricane relief effort.