Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) celebrated its 50th Anniversary at Spice Island Beach Resort on Saturday 15th December 2012 and honored distinguished son of the soil Sir John Augustus Watts KCMG for his years of service to his country and in particular to Grenada’s Tourism.
Present at the ceremony were the Governor General Sir Carlyle Glean and Lady Glean, Prime Minister Hon. Tilman Thomas, leader of the Opposition, Dr Keith Mitchell, Minister of Tourism Dr George Vincent and the President of GHTA Mr Ian DaBreo as well as past presidents, board members and members of the association and the Press.
The evenings host, owner of Spice Island Beach Resort, Sir Royston Hopkin KCMG gave a synopsis of Sir John’s years of service to Grenada, recognising him as being the driving force in persuading the hoteliers in 1962 to form the Hotel Association and then of Sir John himself becoming President of the Caribbean Tourism Organization that same year. Dr Watts as he was then known, was a Charter Member and the driving force behind the formation of the Rotary Club of Grenada, holding the post of District Governor for the Caribbean and parts of South America for two years. Sir Royston gave an example of Sir John’s unstinting commitment , stating how Sir John gave up his dental practice in Grenada for two years and moved to Trinidad where the airlift was available to fulfill his duties as district Governor which involved traveling throughout the region and internationally. He stated that when you talked Tourism, John Watts and Gert Protain were the Grenadians you thought of.
Earlier in his career, Sir John with his friend Herbert Blaize started the Grenada National Party (GNP). Dr Keith Mitchell in his congratulatory speech made mention of his bid for leadership of the party in 1989 when he ran against Herbert Blaize, noting that Sir John, unlike many of his peers, was the one person who stated, “Let Democracy prevail” when he wrested leadership from Mr Blaize, which led to the formation of the New National Party.