After more than 40 years in the Tourism and Hotel Industry and 25 years in charge of Flamboyant Hotel, General Manager, Lawrence Lambert has decided to call it a day and go into retirement.
A ceremony was held last Friday night to celebrate the accomplishments of Lambert and it attracted many leading figures in the industry including Tourism Minister, Alexandra Otway-Noel and Vice-President of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA), Russ Fielden.
The hotelier said that his decision to retire followed medical problems which affected his knees over a year ago.
However, he made it clear that his retirement will not be one of sitting at home doing nothing.
“There’s still a lot to be done,” he told guests, “a new beginning for me…. a time to enjoy the new lease on life”.
Lambert’s desire is to enjoy his flower garden while continuing to provide yeoman support to the hotel he help to improve, expand and upgrade once his expertise is required.
He also made an impassionate plea to Government to adhere to an ongoing agreement to sell to the owners of Flamboyant the state-owned lands on which the hotel sits to ensure the security of jobs of the employees.
Like most hotels in the south of the island, Flamboyant presently operates via a lease agreement.
Lambert recalled his journey, which began in 1971 when he migrated to Antigua as a trainee in management at the Jolly Beach Hotel.
When the business was closed one year later, Lambert received a scholarship from the Canadian Government to study Hotel and Restaurant Management in Canada and in 1972 he departed Grenada to pursue a three-year study course at the Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology.
The hotelier also had a stint with the Canadian Government at the Department of Revenue and Taxation where he remained for four and a half years while doing a part-time job at Harbour Castle.
Lambert returned to Grenada towards the end of 1989 with the hope of starting his own business in the hotel industry and he partnered with a small group of investors to purchase Flamboyant Hotel, a nine unit property overlooking the internationally acclaimed Grand Anse Beach.
One year later the hotel expanded to 26 rooms and seven years later multiplied to 41 and now 68 with Lambert at the helm.
During his 40 years of dedicated service to the tourism and hospitality industry, Lambert served as GHTA President, a Director on the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, a member of the GHTA Training and Culinary Committee and a member of the Grenada Airlift Committee.
Lambert’s departing request of Government is to treat local hoteliers/investors with the same level of respect extended to foreign investors.
Chairman of the Grencan Board that looks after the Flamboyant hotel, Hugh Dolland, said in his remarks that Lambert has never received the respect he deserves.
According to Dolland, the retiring manager was his friend from since school days and can recall the special treatment he often gave to locals since he was always warm and open, and that the hotel can be considered as “a home away from home”.
“He was always ahead of his time, a Grenadian to his core,” Dolland said before congratulating the new retiree on his accomplishments.
GHTA Vice-President Fielden stated that it is amazing that after more than 12 years of disappointment in the industry the 9-11 events in the US, two hurricanes and the great economic recession, Lambert was able to keep his hotel open for business.
He referred to Lambert as one who was naturally generous, a born giver and his mentor in the industry and wished him continued success despite his retirement.
Tourism Minister, Alexandra Otway Noel assured the retiree that better days are ahead.
“You are calm, kind, generous and constant. Your service to the sector is appreciated”, she told Lambert, as she encouraged him to continue living by his standards.
Lambert was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2000, won the prize “Hotelier of the Year” from GHTA in 2006, and one year later in 2007 received the insignia of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).
Despite his retirement, Lambert will remain a member of the Board of Directors of the hotel.