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Guest accuses Buccament Bay Resort of discrimination against dark-skinned individuals

Guest accuses Buccament Bay Resort of  discrimination against  dark-skinned individuals


Some members of staff of the Buccament Bay Resort have been criticized, for what a British national claims is discriminatory behaviour against dark-skinned individuals.{{more}}

On May 2, Sharon Mercury contacted SEARCHLIGHT to relate what she says was a bad experience she had at the Buccament Bay Resort, when she visited on May 1 with her sister and aunt, using day passes.

Mercury said her grievance began when she and her relatives were turned away at the breakfast area and told that they could get breakfast at the resort’s café, instead.

“We tried to get breakfast and they refused us at the breakfast area. They said that’s not included in the day pass. When you’re paying US$150 per person…what does that include if it doesn’t include a bit of breakfast?” she said.

“They said we have to go to a coffee shop, which is the same old garbage that we left back in the UK. Nothing healthy. We’re not offered a piece of fruit or anything. I started to get a headache. When I cannot eat well, that affects me seriously.”

Mercury also expressed dissatisfaction at the manner in which she was treated by a security guard, who, she said, approached her while she was lounging in the pool area.

“I went to sit by the pool because I had my bikini underneath my clothes, so I just went to sit down on one of the sun loungers. The attitude was just ‘how dare me, as a black person, can like relax among the white folks’. That’s the attitude that came across from the security staff. A security female, black like myself, came over and said ‘you’re not entitled to use the sun loungers. Only people who have got a pass for the facilities are entitled to use the sun loungers,” the British national related.

Mercury, whose parents were born in St Vincent and the Grenadines, told SEARCHLIGHT that she explained to the security guard that she did have a day pass and showed it to the guard when she requested to see it.

She added that the security guard took the pass and began walking away.

“I don’t know where on earth she started walking back to, because we paid for our pass. It was a recently issued pass, because we only just checked in for the day,” Mercury said.

After this occurred, Mercury stated that she and her family went to reception area and asked to speak with a member of management; however, they were not able to do so.

Although they stayed at the resort for the duration of the day passes, the unsatisfied customer said she only did so because May 1 was a bank holiday and there was nowhere else to go.

She added that she was apprehensive to return to the pool area after lunch, following the humiliation that she had been subjected to in the morning, in front of other customers.

“Wherever I’ve been, not in the UK – I’ve been across Europe – France, Italy, Spain, Greece, where they don’t see black people and I’ve never encountered this sort of humiliation. I know what discrimination looks like. It’s really ugly when it’s your own people doing it and if it’s not your own people doing it, it’s your own people allowing it,” an emotional Mercury said.

While stating that she hoped this was not the kind of tourism that St Vincent and the Grenadines wanted to encourage, Mercury indicated that when she returns to the UK, she will be informing the media, as well as her friends in the United States of America.

“I’m going to raise it when I get back to the UK, with the black press and with the national media,” she declared.

In their response to allegations posed by Mercury, the Buccament Bay Resort noted in a written statement that they take all complaints seriously and are disappointed if any guests may not fully enjoy their time at the resort.

Furthermore, the statements obtained by SEARCHLIGHT, described Mercury’s complaints against their staff and establishment as “very serious, misjudged and unjustified accusations.

“Prejudice of any kind has never and would never be tolerated or condoned at Buccament Bay Resort. The resort prides itself on the excellence of its team, which is the key reason for the hotel’s success. It is the team’s goal to show all guests a truly Caribbean luxury experience with warmth, charm and attentive service,” the statement said.

According to the statement, many staff members at the award-winning resort have extensive international hospitality experience. In addition, it was noted that the hotel welcomes guests from across the globe, as well as many Vincentians.

“Buccament Bay Resort’s ethnically diverse, multi-cultural executive team is in fact 75% Vincentian, whilst the resort team as a whole is 98% Vincentian,” the release said.

“It is therefore unfair for accusations of prejudice to be aimed at a team that both includes and regularly welcomes Vincentians, not to mention many people from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds.”

With respect to being approached by the security officer, the release said that day passes are valid from 10 a.m., but Mercury and her relatives had arrived early and were approached to confirm why they were at the resort.

“The guest is mistaken in the belief that she did not see a manager as she did in fact speak with the Front Office Manager, who tried their best to make the party feel welcome and valued,” the statement read.

Included in the release was an invitation for Mercury to write a complaint directly to Harlequin Hotels and Resorts, highlighting the full nature of her complaint.