The Star (St. Lucia) - - TOURISM - By Doretta Fran­cois

On Sun­day Gordon "Butch" Ste­wart, chair­man of San­dals Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional, made an ap­pear­ance at the com­pany's lat­est ac­qui­si­tion: the golf club and 18-hole course in Cap Es­tate. With a team of San­dals management, and ac­com­pa­nied by Tourism Min­is­ter Do­minic Fedee, he wanted to ex­plain his plans for the new "San­dals Golf and Coun­try Club".

"We don't plan to change too much in terms of ac­cess and sig­nif­i­cance," com­menced Ste­wart. "We plan to make the fa­cil­i­ties bet­ter for the mem­ber­ship and all those who use it. We plan to re­fur­bish and put ad­di­tional fa­cil­i­ties, maybe a pool for fam­i­lies, maybe a ten­nis court, and the thoughts are to put a big con­fer­ence cen­tre; that would ac­com­mo­date our ho­tels and the wider com­mu­nity in Saint Lu­cia.

"It's a mag­nif­i­cent spot. I've al­ready been in touch with Mr. Greg Nor­man . . . who de­signed the cham­pi­onship golf course in Ex­uma in the Ba­hamas; that's a spec­tac­u­lar course . . . What we'd like to do is bring it up to the level that we can have ma­jor in­ter­na­tional golf tour­na­ments."

Mr. Ste­wart de­clared his pride in work­ing with Mr. Nor­man and em­pha­sised his ad­mi­ra­tion for the dra­matic dif­fer­ence that the golf­ing ex­pert had made to the Ba­hamian course, an­tic­i­pat­ing that sim­i­lar im­prove­ments will be made here.

Ste­wart con­tin­ued, "We don't plan to race. We plan to take our time and re­fur­bish this build­ing. We'll put to­gether a mas­ter plan of what ex­ists and how we think we can im­prove it. We know the ba­sics of what we'll do and I re­ally think we'll do a job here that will ben­e­fit every­body in Saint Lu­cia."

Mr. Ste­wart con­firmed that Mr. Win­ston An­der­son, as the man­ager of San­dals Grande, will have over­sight of the golf course. He also ac­knowl­edged that Mr. Do­minic Fedee, when he worked for San­dals for 16 years, had been 'top drawer'.

Mr. Fedee opined, "The ac­qui­si­tion of this golf course is an­other in­di­ca­tion of that com­mit­ment, that con­fi­dence that San­dals has in the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia, and the des­ti­na­tion . . . Today brings on board a ma­jor multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tion that will now be able to se­cure the fu­ture and sus­tain this im­por­tant el­e­ment of the tourism sec­tor."

The STAR asked Ste­wart about the free golf lessons that the club and Grow Well vol­un­teers or­gan­ise for lo­cal chil­dren. He ad­mit­ted that he was un­aware of this char­i­ta­ble work but im­me­di­ately con­firmed his in­ten­tion that not only would it con­tinue, there would be ad­di­tional pro­grammes and ini­tia­tives to help un­der­priv­i­leged Lu­cians.

With it be­ing Fa­ther's Day, Ste­wart was asked about his son, Adam, who was ap­pointed CEO of San­dals Re­sorts at the age of 26. Ste­wart se­nior has not lost his sense of hu­mour: "I used him for child labour."

Gordon "Butch" Ste­wart, Chair­man of San­dals Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional.

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