Volunteers spruce up Mastic Trail

The Marriott and Ritz-Carlton volunteers: Back, from left, Reynaldo Jacinto, Neil Bandiola, Altaf Ahmed and Randy Miller. Middle, from left, Christos Patsogas, Leonidas Drogkaris and Cuonz Vu, and front, Jacqueline Jackson and Shaunette Ramesar.

A group of hospitality sector workers recently did their part to give one of Cayman’s most popular nature trails some much-needed upkeep.

Randy Miller lays down gravel with Altaf Ahmed and Reynaldo Jacinto.
Randy Miller lays down gravel with Altaf Ahmed and Reynaldo Jacinto.

Staff from the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman rolled up their sleeves and put in some elbow grease to spruce up the Mastic Trail, a historic footpath that is a popular outing destination for tourists and the local community.

Four Marriott employees and five employees from The Ritz-Carlton volunteered for the charitable endeavor which focused on improving the condition of the trail and creating a more accessible walkway in time for the rainy season.

The two-part project on May 7 and 21 was managed and overseen by the National Trust of the Cayman Islands. One day was dedicated to clearing and trimming trees and shrubbery, and the other day was committed to laying new gravel on the trail.

“This project involved hard work in very hot weather, but the team displayed great enthusiasm and determination to get the job done,” said National Trust field officer Stuart Mailer.

“Marriott International believes that strong neighborhoods, towns, and cities are vital to the well-being of the local society and economy and feels a special responsibility and role in helping communities thrive,” said the Marriott’s local director of sales and marketing, Laura Skec, who noted the Mastic Trail project is part of Marriott International’s “Spirit to Serve” program. These social responsibility and community engagement initiatives focus on five global social issues: poverty alleviation; the environment; community workforce development; the well-being of children; and global diversity and inclusion.

“It was wonderful to be part of a charitable initiative where staff members from both Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton worked together to give back to the community and contribute to the development of tourism on the island,” said Marriott reservations agent Shaunette Ramesar, one of the volunteers.

“We also wanted to show that Cayman is not just known for its white sand beaches, but also for its other beautiful natural landscapes. While working on the trail, a tourist who was hiking saw what we were doing and offered words of encouragement by saying that it was going to have a significant impact of the condition of the trail. It was a testament to all our hard work and it made us feel that we were making a difference.”