Categorized | National News

Atlantis Boss Unapologetic About Vendor Crackdown

The Atlantis Resort has no regrets about how it abruptly stopped vendors from operating on Cabbage Beach last week and a top Kerzner official said enforcing regulations at the beach is important to the overall survival of the country’s tourism product.

George Markantonis, president and managing director of Kerzner International stood firm and was unapologetic about the action taken by Atlantis when he spoke to reporters about the issue yesterday.

Last week, angry vendors complained that their livelihoods were being jeopardised and in some cases destroyed after their goods were confiscated by hotel security and they were prohibited from conducting business on the beach.

Atlantis maintained that the measure was taken to restore order to the beach and to crackdown on unauthorised vendors, some of whom, the resort has claimed have criminal records.

The resort said in a statement addressing the issue last Thursday that it was further prompted to toughen restrictions on the vendors after a violent altercation occurred on the beach in front of beachgoers.

“The experience is not what it should be. There is no visitor that is going to tell me that they like lying there on the beach and people pull out knives and stab each other,” Mr. Markantonis said. “We do not want to be chasing people around this is not our core business – our core business is bringing people here and operating major hotels.”

Many of the vendors claimed that they were being unfairly treated and forced to suffer because of the actions of others and Mr. Markantonis insisted that Atlantis has no intentions of hindering the efforts of legitimate and law-abiding vendors.

“I’m not going to go in depth about this subject except to say that we have spoken to the relevant government authorities on this subject the people that we have not allowed on our beaches are either unlicenced or undesirable,” he said.

“We are fine when you have the relevant licences but we can’t affect Bahamas tourism through the behaviour of four or five individuals it’s not going to happen and it’s as simple as that. We are part of The Bahamas and we have a national pride too and it’s embarrassing and painful to see and to hear things like that.”

Kerzner International recently announced that it has embarked on a stringent vetting process to ensure that corrupt, violent and unlicenced businesspersons who are working on the popular beach are removed.

Mr. Markantonis comments on the issue reiterated a position stated previously by another top Kerzner official.

Ed Fields, senior vice president of public affairs and retail services at Kerzner, said that the resort has compiled a list of the names of the people working on the beach and he added that it has been found that a number of people on that list have been charged for various criminal offenses.

“I will say that a significant portion of persons on that list have been charged with firearm possession; they’ve been arrested for drug possession and we’ve discovered a whole plethora of unsavory behavior that some of these folks were involved in,” he said.

Mr. Fields assured that while the resort is cracking down on unauthorised vendors and those with criminal records, recreational beachgoers to Cabbage Beach will not be affected.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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