What Went Wrong? ‘Be our Guest’ – The Rules of Hospitality

Go Lean Commentary

Be our guest
Put our services to the test …
– Song: Be Our Guest from the Movie: Beauty and the Beast – See Appendices below.

The economic principle – slavery – at the origins of Caribbean society had both winners and losers: for the slaves, it was a Bad Start; but for the slave masters it was a Life of Leisure, they had servants to do all the heavy-lifting to sustain their life.

Change came … slavery ended …

… most of the slave masters left the region. A transformation had to take place: socially, politically and economically. So yes, the Caribbean transformed economically from that Bad Start.

Or did we?

Now the primary economic driver in the region – every member-state – is tourism. We are still in the Life of Leisure business. Except now, instead of a Life of Leisure it is now only a week of leisure, or a forth-night, or a month, or a season (i.e. Winter Snowbirds). We have replaced one master for multiple masters at  the resort properties; “one master at a time” still enjoys the leisure.

The more things change, the more they remain the same!

For the former slaves, the Black-and-Brown of Caribbean society, the community ethos – (the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society) –  for them changed from a spirit of servitude to a spirit of Hospitality. Consider the historicity of Hospitality from a Judeo-Christian perspective:

Hospitality – refers to the relationship between a guest and a host, wherein the host receives the guest with goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Louis, Chevalier de Jaucourt describes hospitality in the Encyclopédie as the virtue of a great soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity.[4]

Historical practices – In ancient cultures hospitality involved welcoming the stranger and offering him food, shelter, and safety.[7]  …

Judaism … praises hospitality to strangers and guests based largely on the examples of Abraham and Lot in the Book of Genesis(Genesis 18:1–8 and 19:1–8). In Hebrew, the practice is called hachnasat orchim, or “welcoming guests”. Besides other expectations, hosts are expected to provide nourishment, comfort, and entertainment for their guests,[10] and at the end of the visit, hosts customarily escort their guests out of their home, wishing them a safe journey.[11]

Christianity … hospitality is a virtue which is a reminder of sympathy for strangers and a rule to welcome visitors.[12] This is a virtue found in the Old Testament, with, for example, the custom of the foot washing of visitors or the kiss of peace.[13][14] It was taught by Jesus in the New Testament [as well]. Indeed, Jesus said that those who had welcomed a stranger had welcomed him.[15] Some Western countries have developed a host culture for immigrants, based on the Bible.[16] – Source: Wikipedia

Now consider the fantasy associated with Hospitality in our pop culture. See this song-and-dance – Be Our Guest – from the animated movie “Beauty and the Beast” in the Appendix VIDEO below.

In general, the better we are at Hospitality, the better the financial rewards – think gratuity.

This has resulted in distortions in our society. The rules of Hospitality means that we place the needs of the “Stranger” ahead of the needs of the neighbor. Consider the above scriptural reference in Genesis 19:1 – 8, where Lot extended hospitality to two strangers while in the City of Sodom. He “urged them not to spend the night in the public square”. The strangers accepted his hospitality, but before they could retire, a mob surrounded Lot’s house, “from boy to old man.” They cried out to Lot that he turn over his guests for immoral purposes, but he [Lot] firmly refused; he protected them, even offering to pacify the mob with the offer of his own family members.

In these modern days, albeit public safety protections for all in society including strangers, along come Direct Foreign Investors. We perceive that their needs supersede the needs of the “townspeople”. Everyone, everywhere senses this. At times, the Direct Foreign Investor is even pejoratively referred to as “Dragons”. This theme was elaborated upon in a previous blog-commentary; see quotation here:

… assigning the term “Dragon” to a “Dependence on Foreign Investors” or DFI. …
Normally DFI refer to Direct Foreign Investment, but in this case the “Dependence on Foreign Investors” is portrayed as a negative factor or pest – a dragon –  unless “trained”, caroled and controlled to harness the energy in a positive way. …

The [Go Lean] book, and accompanying blogs posit that “dragons can be trained”. The sad state of affairs in Freeport (Bahamas 2nd City] can be turned around by the embrace of a “double down” strategy on the island’s nascent ship-building industry [in place on the sole reliance of tourism].

This – shift to depending on hospitality of strangers – is What Went Wrong in the Caribbean development. Time for a change!

The 2013 book Go Lean … Caribbean opened with this warning:

The Caribbean has tried, strenuously, over the decades, to diversify their economy away from the mono-industrial trappings of tourism, and yet tourism is still the primary driver of the economy. Prudence dictates that the Caribbean nations expand and optimize their tourism products, but also look for other opportunities for economic expansion. The requisite investment of the resources (time, talent, treasuries) for this goal may be too big for any one Caribbean member-state. Rather, shifting the responsibility to a region-wide, professionally-managed, deputized technocracy will result in greater production and greater accountability. This deputized agency is the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).

To recap, it is not Tourism that is wrong is the Caribbean, rather it is the spirit of ” only accommodation to strangers” that is wrong. It subverts the community ethos and causes the stakeholders to become complacent, and settled that the “Foreign Man” – the Tourist or the Investor – will take care of us, rather than taking the necessary steps to take care of ourselves, like leveraging  and confederating with our neighbors, our neighboring communities and neighboring islands.

This is What Went Wrong in Caribbean history, society and culture.

Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come”. – Ancient Chinese Proverb

This commentary continues the July series from the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean. This submission, 4-of-6 on the theme “What Went Wrong?” focuses on Caribbean history and why we still have many of the same defects that other societies – think North America and Europe yes, but even Asia – have already remediated. The full catalog:

  1. What Went Wrong? Asking ‘Why’ is Important
  2. What Went Wrong? ‘We’ never had our war!
  3. What Went Wrong? ‘7 to 1’ – Caribbean ‘Less Than’
  4. What Went Wrong? ‘Be our Guest’ – The Rules of Hospitality
  5. What Went Wrong? Failing the Lessons from Infrastructure 101
  6. What Went Wrong? Losing the Best; Nation-building with the Rest

In this series, reference is made to the need for a comprehensive roadmap for elevating the regional engines of Caribbean society, for the full 30 member-states. The challenges are too big for any one member-state alone. We need the whole neighborhood, despite the language, race, colonial heritage or political structure – we need All Hands on Deck. The movement behind the Go Lean book asserts that this change is possible; we do not want to abandon Tourism; no, we want to optimize it and make it even better as an economic engine for our region. See how this theme was developed in many previous Go Lean commentaries; see a sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=17337 Industrial Reboot – Amusement Parks
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=17072 Cruise Ports ‘Held Hostage’ – Need to Reboot Cruise Eco-System
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15907 Industrial Reboot – Navy Pier 101
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15844 Doubling Down on “Snowbird” Tourism
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15521 The Need for Caribbean Unity to Mitigate Tourism Missteps
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15380 Industrial Reboot – Cruise Tourism 2.0
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15378 Industrial Reboot – Tourism 2.0
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13856 Bad Case Study: Baha Mar – Doubling-down on Failure

All of the Caribbean had the historic background in slavery. Most of the Caribbean profess the Judeo-Christian religious affiliation. Most of the Caribbean have Tourism as the primary industry. The propensity for the Judeo-Christian form of hospitality and the mono-industrial expressions of Tourism is more than coincidental:

It is What Went Wrong with the Caribbean.

Now the focus must be on the changes that we need to move forward – the Way Forward.

Finally, we need to reboot our societal engines. While still extending our arms of hospitality in touristic expressions, we need to double-down in working with our neighbors – all neighbors in the region. We must convene, collude, cooperate, collaborate and confederate to address all our collective problems with collective solutions.

And we must carol and control our invitation of hospitality to Direct Foreign Investors – better train our dragons.

Yes, we can.

This is the urging of the book Go Lean…Caribbean and the resultant roadmap. We hereby urge all Caribbean stakeholders to lean-in to this roadmap. This roadmap is conceivable, believe and achievable. We can make our homeland a better place for all stakeholders to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

iv. Whereas the natural formation of the landmass is in a tropical region, the flora and fauna allows for an inherent beauty that is enviable to peoples near and far. The structures must be strenuously guarded to protect and promote sustainable systems of commerce paramount to this reality.

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix VIDEO – Be Our Guest | Beauty and the Beast | Lyrics – https://youtu.be/GXlgmqHpBkU

Disney DeKa
Published on Jul 8, 2011 – I do not own anything! Thanks for watching 🙂


Appendix – Lyrics: Be Our Guest | Beauty and the Beast

“Ma chere Mademoiselle, it is with deepest pride
And greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight
And now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair
As the dining room proudly presents
Your dinner!”

Be our guest, be our guest
Put our service to the test
Tie your napkin ’round your neck, cherie
And we’ll provide the rest
Soup du jour, hot hors d’oeuvres
Why, we only live to serve
Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious
Don’t believe me, ask the dishes

They can sing, they can dance
After all, miss, this is France
And a dinner here is never second best
Go on, unfold your menu
Take a glance and then you’ll
Be our guest oui, our guest
Be our guest

Beef ragout, cheese soufflé
Pie and pudding, on flambé
We’ll prepare and serve with flair
A culinary cabaret
You’re alone and you’re scared
But the banquet’s all prepared
No one’s gloomy or complaining
While the flatware’s entertaining
We tell jokes, I do tricks
With my fellow candlesticks

And it’s all in perfect taste that you can bet
Come on and lift your glass
You’ve won your own free pass
To be our guest if you’re stressed
It’s fine dining we suggest
Be our guest, be our guest, be our guest

Life is so unnerving
For a servant who’s not serving
He’s not whole without a soul to wait upon
Ah, those good old days when we were useful (hey Cogsworth)
Suddenly those good old days are gone
Too long we’ve been rusting
Needing so much more than dusting
Needing exercise, a chance to use our skills!
Most days we just lay around the castle
Flabby, fat and lazy
You walked in and oops-a-daisy!

It’s a guest, it’s a guest
Sake’s alive, well I’ll be blessed!
Wine’s been poured and thank the Lord
I’ve had the napkins freshly pressed
With dessert, she’ll want tea
And my dear that’s fine with me
While the cups do their soft-shoein’
I’ll be bubbling, I’ll be brewing

I’ll get warm, piping hot
Heaven’s sakes! Is that a spot?
Clean it up, we want the company impressed
We’ve got a lot to do!
Is it one lump or two?
For you, our guest (she’s our guest)
She’s our guest (she’s our guest)

Be our guest, be our guest!
Our command is your request
It’s been years since we’ve had anybody here
And we’re obsessed
With your meal, with your ease
Yes, indeed, we aim to please
While the candlelight’s still glowing
Let us help you, we’ll keep going

Course by course, one by one
‘Til you shout, “enough I’m done!”
Then we’ll sing you off to sleep as you digest
Tonight you’ll prop your feet up
But for now, let’s eat up
Be our guest
Be our guest
Be our guest
Please, be our guest

Source: Retrieved July 25, 2019 from: https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/33715733/Alan+Menken/Be+Our+Guest

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