SLHTA Pres­i­dent Calls for LGBT Talks

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By STAR Reporter

In her New Year’s ad­dress to mem­bers on Wed­nes­day 13th Jan­uary the Saint Lu­cia Ho­tel and Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion (SLHTA) Pres­i­dent Karolin Trou­bet­zkoy raised a num­ber of is­sues in­clud­ing the IMPACS re­port and CIP. With­out go­ing into de­tail on th­ese two is­sues the SLHTA pres­i­dent pointed out, “I hope that the coun­try’s rep­u­ta­tion and in­tegrity can be safe­guarded and that civil so­ci­ety will be able to par­take in this process.”

The ad­dress also touched on the US Supreme Court rul­ing last year mak­ing it le­gal for all Amer­i­cans, no mat­ter their gen­der or sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, to marry. “It is my sin­cere hope for 2016 that our LGBT com­mu­nity in Saint Lu­cia, and in the re­gion as a whole, can live more openly with­out fear of dis­crim­i­na­tion and en­joy equal rights, per­sonal au­ton­omy, and free­dom of ex­pres­sion and as­so­ci­a­tion,” Trou­bet­zkoy stated.

The SLHTA pres­i­dent also called for more re­spon­si­ble re­port­ing by the lo­cal me­dia. She ex­pressed the hope that the lo­cal press would spend more time this year check­ing the ac­cu­racy of their news sto­ries be­fore pub­lish­ing them, ex­press­ing the wish that go­ing for­ward, “the lo­cal press would be more sen­si­tive to the dam­age which “ir­re­spon­si­ble re­port­ing” can do.”

On Wed­nes­day the SLHTA in­vited the lo­cal me­dia to a press con­fer­ence to clar­ify and ex­pound on, in some in­stances, the New Year’s mes­sage. The me­dia also took the op­por­tu­nity to quiz the head ta­ble on the SLHTA’s plans for 2016. The head ta­ble com­prised Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (SLHTA) Mr. Noorani Azeez, First Vice-Pres­i­dent Mr. Sanovnik Des­tang and Pres­i­dent Mrs. Karolin Trou­bet­zkoy.

On the is­sue of the me­dia the SLHTA pres­i­dent said it is not her place to tell the me­dia how to do its job and that she re­spects the up­hold­ing of free­dom of the press and free­dom of ex­pres­sion. “But equally there has to be some sort of stan­dard and pro­fes­sion­al­ism as well as a re­spon­si­bil­ity on the part of the me­dia to fact check and en­sure that what­ever it puts out there is ac­cu­rate,” Trou­bet­zkoy noted.

On the ques­tion of LGBT rights as it re­lates to tourism the SLHTA pres­i­dent said that the time has come to ini­ti­ate dis­cus­sion on the sub­ject as the is­land may be los­ing out on a niche mar­ket with spend­ing power. “With the le­gal­iza­tion of same sex mar­riage in the US the time has come for the is­sue to be dis­cussed on a na­tional level,” Trou­bet­zkoy stated. “As a ci­ti­zen of Saint Lu­cia and also the pres­i­dent of SLHTA I think the time has come for us to re­ally start the con­ver­sa­tion, even if it may be un­com­fort­able for some, and pro­vide an equal op­por­tu­nity space for our LGBT com­mu­nity and also at some point tackle the law it­self. It is a dis­cus­sion that needs to take place,” she de­clared. Ac­cord­ing to the SLHTA, tour oper­a­tors and prop­erty own­ers have been mak­ing such re­quests so that they can tap into po­ten­tial vis­i­tors from the LGBT com­mu­nity.

The SLHTA also dis­closed on Wed­nes­day that crime con­tin­ues to be an is­sue for mem­bers and, as such, it has con­trib­uted EC$152,000 to en­sure that spe­cial pa­trol con­sta­bles re­main on the na­tional pay­roll to of­fer ad­di­tional se­cu­rity for vis­i­tors and cit­i­zens alike.

In­com­ing pres­i­dent Sanovnik Des­tang em­pha­sized his com­mit­ment in en­sur­ing the deep­en­ing of link­ages be­tween tourism and other sec­tors par­tic­u­larly agri­cul­ture.

The SLHTA has pro­claimed 2016 the year of the en­vi­ron­ment in Saint Lu­cia. Through­out the year the or­ga­ni­za­tion will im­press on its mem­bers the need to con­serve the is­land’s frag­ile eco-sys­tem for the long-term ben­e­fit of the in­dus­try and desti­na­tion as a whole.

The SLHTA Ex­ec­u­tive (l-r): Sanovnik Des­tang, First Vice-Pres­i­dent, Pres­i­dent Karolin Trou­bet­zkoy and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Noorani Azeez.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.