Bahamian playmaker shares his journey and growth in entertainment
#TheBahamas, March 21, 2022 – “Peter was great. He is friendly, very professional and very talented. His show was great and exciting. I have never seen anything like that. It was great and he has lots of energy.” That was what one guest wrote about Peter Hanna from the entertainment department, during their recent stay at Sandals Royal Bahamian.
Hanna is one of the most popular names at the Luxury-Included® resort, not only because he is undeniably talented but also because the vivacious entertainment coordinator continues to dominate guest feedback platforms like the Sandals Blaze Loop and the globally referred Trip Advisor. He is undoubtedly the guests’ favourite person.
During the closure of Sandals Royal Bahamian, Hanna worked in other resorts but like the Prodigal Son, he quickly packed up and headed back home to Sandals Royal Bahamian once the resort reopened. “This is like home and my colleagues are like my family. This is the place that trained and groomed me. It is the place that made me into somewhat of a superstar in my field,” he said between chuckles.
Indeed, he is a superstar and has been for years. This has seen him copping the coveted title of Legendary Team Member of The Year in 2018 and 2019. In fact, he believes that the pandemic robbed him of what could have been his third consecutive win. The recipient of that award is the person who gets the most guest mentions and commendations on the resort.
Today Hanna forms part of the fabric of the resort’s entertainment team, tasked with engaging guests and in doing so highlighting the Bahamian culture daily. The resort’s wide range of entertainment offerings present opportunities for both permanent team members as well as other locally contracted performers who daily display their expansive creative talents by way of the steel pan, saxophone, vocals, Junkanoo rush and rake n’ scrape. This occurs daily through a mix that occurs from arrival and extends throughout the guest’s stay and Hanna works alongside fellow team members and local acts to ensure a world-class experience to meet the diverse expectation of all our guests.
Hanna, a native of Nassau, started working in the hospitality industry at age 18 as a part of a dance group performing Michael Jackson numbers. At the time, Hanna was fresh out of high school and had no idea what it was like to work in a structured environment. All he knew was dancing. “We never got shows every night so whenever I wasn’t dancing, I would just be home, waiting for a call about a gig,” he shared.
It was the call for his group to perform at Sandals Royal Bahamian that changed the scope of young Hanna’s life and vision. “A manager from Sandals saw us perform at an event and liked us. They started inviting us to dance in their show weekly and overtime they had us in more shows until they eventually introduced us to other forms of dancing,” recalled Hanna.
This was the moment Hanna knew that his introduction to Sandals would change his life for better.
“It was here at Sandals Royal Bahamian that I was introduced to things other than hip-hop. I migrated into things like Conga and Broadway types of dancing. I was evolving and growing in my gift,” he said.
Hanna’s growth quickly became apparent and everyone knew he would add tremendous value to the team and the entertainment product at large. He was offered the opportunity to work for the resort and he quickly accepted.
“I said yes and from there my whole life changed. I did not know that there were jobs in the world like this where I am paid to play every single day. I was having fun; I was playing games and was hosting various events. I was interacting with people and cultures from all over the world. It was my first full time job. Sandals made me the man I am today,” he stated emphatically.
Today, Hanna is arguably the most diverse and multifaceted entertainment coordinator at Sandals Royal Bahamian. From limbo and juggling to stilt walking and fire dancing, he does it all. “Working here made me realize the endless possibilities that exist in the entertainment arena. I’ve met guests who do these things for a living and have excelled beyond what I was able to imagine so that pushed me to advance my entertainment craft,” he shared.
Aside from his on the job training, the ambitious young man has used YouTube videos to assist with his development and Sandals has provided him with a platform to showcase every new trick that he has managed to master.
“When I learned my juggling, I was allowed to do it on Thursdays at the talent show, when I learned my fire dancing, I got the chance to be part of the Junkanoo show and now I am in the new fire show we have on resort on Monday nights,” he said.
His manager and fellow Nassau native, Leslie Lightbourne shared that he is excited about Hanna’s prospects in Sandals. “He is extremely talented, he is obviously loved and he is passionate about growth. He is on the right path and with his work ethic and drive, I cannot help being excited about all the future has in store for him especially in this company that is so big on developing talent,” he said.
In addition to his growth and development, Hanna lauds Sandals for allowing him to travel expansively. “I’ve traveled to several Caribbean countries at no cost to me. I have gone to Barbados, Saint Lucia and Jamaica and have stayed at our other resorts in fine style,” a smiling Hanna expressed.
He continued, “I am grateful to Sandals for taking a chance on me. I was only a young man with no knowledge of this industry, no experience and today I am an expert in this field, very marketable and in demand.”
Press Release: Sandals Resorts
US Milestone Celebrated
#Jamaica, June 30, 2022 – This year marks the United States of America’s (USA) 246th anniversary of Independence, and the milestone was celebrated with a reception on June 28 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. The event also featured the traditional United States Marine Corps Colour Guard ceremony.
“The Government of Jamaica is pleased to join in commemorating this milestone with our American friends and partners. Today we celebrate a nation that continues to give practical meaning to the declaration of Independence and the vision of the founding fathers for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These tenets have been central to the growth and development of the Union since 1776 and its transformation as a global leader,” he said.
For his part, US Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, said the countries’ partnership has been rewarding, and expressed the United States’ continued commitment to strengthening the cooperation between the nations.
“On behalf of the United States Mission to Jamaica, thank you for joining us as we celebrate the 246th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America. As we celebrate America’s independence, we also celebrate 60 years of partnership between our two countries. Together we have promoted democracy, human rights, and shared security concerns,” he said.
Jamaica established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1962, following its independence from the United Kingdom.
The partnership focuses on reducing corruption; increasing transparency and good governance; fostering Jamaican participation in regional security efforts; strengthening basic education; and increasing energy resiliency.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has provided more than US$16.4 million as well as donations of vaccines to assist Jamaica’s containment measures.
Additionally, over the last 12 months, the United States has collaborated with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to issue a record number of H2 visas, bringing critical, temporary labour to the US, while providing jobs for thousands of Jamaicans that resulted in millions of dollars in remittances.
Significantly, the Peace Corps, which is also celebrating 60 years of partnership with Jamaica this year, will resume its operations on the island beginning September, following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Contact: Rochelle Williams
Positive Outlook for Caribbean Tourism
June, 30, 2022 – The president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, says tourism in the Caribbean is recovering faster than expected.
While presenting at the CHTA ‘Caribbean Tourism Fireworks’, she said the Caribbean travel and tourism sector experienced the second-fastest recovery of all regions in 2021. Travel and Tourism have contributed to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 36.6 per cent. She added that they have recovered over 311,000 jobs.
“That is really a testament to how fast Caribbean tourism has been able to come back into play,” said Madden-Greig.
January and February were not as successful because of the uprising of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Travel heightened between March and June, and Madden-Greig reported that summer looks promising and that they “expect that winter 2022-2023 will also be strong”.
“For the June to August period, [the Caribbean is] ahead of our 2019 airline arrivals in terms of what is forecast and on the books by upwards of two per cent,” she said.
The CHTA’s Caribbean Tourism Fireworks is what the trade association uses to communicate regional tourism performance and outlook survey results. In addition to the performance reports, other topics were discussed including the recognition of Caribbean tourism’s resilience; that investments by the tourism industry in capital improvements, health safety and product value are underpinning the region’s tourism recovery; and that labour shortages present immediate and long-term opportunities.
CHTA urged employers, governments, education and training institutions to recruit new employees and prepare communities for careers, employment and ownership opportunities within the sector.
Also present at the CHTA Caribbean Tourism Firework were CHTA’s acting CEO and Director General, Vanessa Ledesma, Jamaican hotelier Clifton Reader, and the chair of CHTA’s Advocacy Committee.
While the speakers agreed that intra-Caribbean travel has great opportunities, they share that there are connectivity issues and issues with preserving, protecting and enhancing the region’s natural resources.
Sandals Resorts International Appoints Rachel McLarty as Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations
Communications Executive Rejoins Brand After Tenure at Distinguished Jamaican Law Firm
MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA, June 15, 2022 – Sandals Resorts International recently announced the appointment of Rachel McLarty to Corporate Director of Communications & Public Relations, overseeing the company’s corporate communication efforts and public relations initiatives for the Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts brands throughout the Caribbean. Reporting to Executive Chairman Adam Stewart and CEO Gebhard Rainer, McLarty returns to the organization after a ten-year hiatus where she previously held the position of Group Director of Corporate Relations.
“We are in a moment of tremendous momentum and require a skilled, expert hand to navigate through what will be an upcoming decade of unprecedented growth for the organization,” said Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of SRI. “Rachel McLarty is that voice in the Caribbean, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to the company as we celebrate our 40th anniversary and plan for the next forty.”
McLarty, who will be based in the Kingston headquarters of Sandals Resorts International, will lead a talented team of public relations and communication professionals in Jamaica and throughout the entire Caribbean region. During her first tenure with SRI, McLarty served as Group Director of Corporate Relations for the organization for a period of five years, beginning in 2006. Prior to rejoining the company, she served as an attorney-at-law at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, one of the largest law firms in Jamaica. She is deeply committed to improving and developing Caribbean communities, currently sitting as Chairman of the Board for St. Andrew High School for Girls and the SOS Children’s Villages in Jamaica.
“Sandals Resorts International remains the brand standard for Caribbean organizations, and it is an honour to rejoin the company at such a prolific time,” said McLarty. “And while I have certainly followed the tremendous success of the brands in the last decade, I have remained even more impressed by the organization’s continued commitment to the Caribbean, the region we all call home. I look forward to the incredible work to be done.”
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