Point Blanche staff join island’s aviation conference this week

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Seventy prison workers from Point Blanche Detention Centre participated in this week’s CARBAVIA 2021 – the region’s international aviation meet up – to learn etiquette and the art of handling people, in a unique engagement initiative. Their involvement was endorsed by Ms Ludmila De Weever, St Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication, who was pleased to formally open the event this week. And welcome some 60 plus delegates to the Island.

Organiser Cdr Bud Slabbaert and team, responsible for the fifth annual edition of the event, which took place at the Simpson Bay Resort on the Island, despite the challenges of the pandemic, was initially surprised to receive interest in participation. However, he responded positively. “We must be the first event organiser ever to adapt our programme for this unusual audience,” said Cdr Bud. He resiliently changed the schedule for speaker Leif Ytterstad to accommodate some dedicated training sessions for the group. “It turned out to be a great success and we will do it again,” said Bud.

Leif is Head Butler and Trainer in the Sky at Fort Lauderdale, FL. DaVinci Training, one of CARIBAVIA’s long term supporters and sponsors. His usual environment is training flight attendants who take care of the safety and well-being of clients who travel on private jets, or who serve in the VIP hospitality industry.

Leif highlighted the need to be kind to people who will be in their establishment and care for some time. He dispensed advice on how to keep day to day life simple and sweet – ‘KISS,’ as he calls it.

Leif’s engaging style swiftly brought delegates from the back of the room to the front as he encouraged them to express the issues and feelings they experience on a day to day basis. He highlighted the value of leading by example –listening to fears and plans for outside life – being a listener and showing compassion. There was laughter and warmth as they listened to the Norwegian-born speaker, who adapted his presentation to reflect and appreciate the often intense and challenging environment these workers encounter in their daily lives.

The prison staff also met with international aviation, travel and tourism delegates at CARIBAVIA who had flown in from all over the USA, various parts of the Caribbean and internationally from France and the UK.

They look forward to taking on board many of the ideas DaVinci’s trainer shared with them in a very useful and engaging educational exercise.