Recently General Manager Gerrit Griffith announced his retirement, having worked for Divi Resorts 43 years.
He retired as General Manager, Phoenix Aruba Beach Resort and declared his intentions to spend time with family members including a cute granddaughter, travel with wife Leonora, but most importantly, join Ban Uni Man Pa Cria Nos Muchanan, a local not-for-profit foundation, as their fund-raiser, with an ambitious goal, he says, to secure finances to continue feeding over 650 disadvantaged elementary school kids breakfast every day, for the next five years.
His farewell reception at Divi Links Club House Plaza was nicely attended by members of the community, government ministers, industry partners and colleagues including his successor, General Manager Pearl Lake and Divi Resort’s President & COO, Marco Galaverna.
The party featured many heartwarming and grateful speeches as well as a most entertaining and insightful video, starring company and community personalities, talking about Griffith as a leader, a friend, and a role-model.
Wishing Griffith good luck on behalf of the Government of Aruba, Glenbert Croes, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. While hospitality is losing a strong player, he said, social affairs is gaining a gladiator, a formidable contributor to those in need of assistance.
Calypsonian Lloyd Baptiste gave a guest performance singing ‘Celebrate Good Time…. Come On,’ reenacting his gig at the Tamarijn Beach Resort Happy Hour on Sundays, 40 years ago.
Griffith accepted the gift of an all-inclusive European vacation for two, and a rare vintage vinyl record, produced by the resort back then, featuring Lloyd and the Jays, the house band of yesteryears.
Gerrit Griffith graduated Cornell University in Ithaca NY along with a group of other local kids, who are all still working and enjoying good careers. Upon his return he was hired at the 75 room Tamarijn Beach hotel as assistant manager. Those were the days.
He then moved on to manage the hotel as it expanded into a resort and during his years with the company, he left his mark on Divi Divi, the Dutch Village, Divi Village, the chain’s Flamingo Beach Resort in Bonaire, and its Little Bay hotel in St Maarten, finally he served as GM at Divi Phoenix Aruba Beach Resort.
Somewhere in between he went to Barbados, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, and immediately came back to Aruba. That pasture was not for him. So basically, he enjoyed diverse settings, and jobs, under just one employer, and left it all behind September 1st, 2019
Griffith reports he enjoyed an exceptional run with the company, there is something about DIVI, he says: Once Divi, Always Divi.
Managing Director Alex Nieuwmeyer took advantage of the occasion to also introduce the recently recruited Ferry Zievinger, Divi Village & Dutch Village General Manager.
With six different bars, and ten beautifully presented food stations, the party was a first-class production with anything from butler passed hors d’oeuvres to sushi, Italian, and Latin specialties, a carving station, a sizzling grill, and enough bite-size desserts to feed an army.
Thank you industry partners for pitching in: Elite Production, the Smiley Band, Aruba Trading Company, Romar Trading, Pepia Est, The Little One, Sunny Ray, Divino NV and Bersa.
Gerrit Griffith is the recipient of the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
You will now find him at the door of Superfood, throughout October, fundraising for Ban Uni Man Pa Cria Nos Muchanan, you cannot say no to the man.