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Tourism veteran Betty-Jean Gilbert wins top award

The best and brightest of the Island’s hospitality industry were honoured on Saturday at the 12th annual VIP Excellence Awards.

Of the 54 finalists representing all areas of the industry, it was Betty-Jean Gilbert who took home the top honours — the Minister of Tourism Best of the Best Award and the $10,000 prize.

The 30-year hospitality industry veteran said she was excited by the win, thanking her co-workers, her employers and the Bermuda Industrial Union.

She also won the Best Waiter/ Hostess/ Wine Steward/ Room Service Award.

Following her win, she said: “I have put in a lot of hard work into the industry. I wasn’t looking for recognition, but it is nice to be recognised.

“I try to make sure that my job is happy and my staff is happy. One of the most important things is that I am involved in the hospitality section of the Union, so I try to make sure that all of the members are treated properly.”

She also expressed her love of working at the visitor tent at Cup Match, bringing visitors Rum Swizzles and Yellow Birds.

Bus operator Mark Anderson meanwhile took home the Transportation Award.

He said despite his years of experience performing as Sybil, he was nervous about speaking to the crowd.

“There’s a reason for that,” he said. “It’s because Mark is not used to the stage. Sybil is used to the stage.”

And musician Dennis Fox who received the Performing Artist Award, joked that he felt he should have been playing with the house band.

CedarBridge Academy’s Patricia Nesbitt, who received the Production Services Award, said: “This is the proudest moment of my life.”

She said that with the incredible amount of artistic talent on the Island, Bermuda should have a renowned performance art industry.

“Who wouldn’t want to come to Bermuda?” she asked. “Who wouldn’t want to have Bermudians working with them?”

Staff at the Fairmont Resorts managed to win a total of five awards.

In addition to Mrs Gilbert’s award, Kimberly Terceira of the Fairmont Southampton won the Convention and Marketing Award, and Anthony Mocklow of the Fairmont Southampton Golf Club won the Activities and Attractions Award.

Meanwhile Serge Leibowitch and June Durham of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess were awarded the Best Chef and Housekeeping award respectively.

Peter Bell of the Red Carpet Bar and Restaurant won best bartender, while Joe-Ann Scott of Astwood Dickenson won the Retail Store Employee award — an event celebrated with the sound of vuvuzelas.

Awards were also given to:

n Winfield Todd of The Reefs — Best Bell/Doorman,

n Crystal Anderson of Rosewood Tucker’s Point — Best Front Desk/Telephone Operator,

n Lorrie Bennett-Bean of the St George’s Club — Best Concierge/Tour Desk Operator,

n Deborah Trott of the KEMH Hospital Concierge — Best Airline Employee,

n William Ming of Grotto Bay — Heart of the House Award,

n Donna Lindo of Class Act Design — Hospitality Support Services Award,

n Bruno Fiocca of Tom Moore’s Tavern — General Administration Award,

n Jennifer Looby of Rosedon — Young Person with Promise Award.

Retired cultural tourism officer for the Bermuda National Trust, Connie Dey, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Along with working as a part of the Tourism Department team, Mrs Dey played a part in organising the annual Floral Pageant and College Week activities when not taking part in countless theatrical productions.

She told the audience that she has expected something was happening when people insisted that she attend the event.

She said: “This is the best birthday present I could ask for. It’s not till next month, but close enough.”

She’s the best: Best of the Best winner Betty-Jean Gilbert of Fairmont Southampton stands with her prize of ten thousand dollars after the VIP Excellence Awards ceremony held at the Fairmont Southampton Saturday night.

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Published April 15, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 14, 2013 at 11:36 pm)

Tourism veteran Betty-Jean Gilbert wins top award

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