Hotel Mockingbird Hill – your Home in Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com Sustainable Excellence from Port Antonio, Jamaica Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:23:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Meat Matters: The Value of Local, Heritage & Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/meat-matters-the-value-of-local-heritage-jamaica/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/meat-matters-the-value-of-local-heritage-jamaica/#respond Tue, 14 Jun 2016 11:34:11 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12445 Meat MattersPart of the joy at eating at a small independent restaurant in Jamaica is revelling in the fact that they serve local meat. Despite the economic advantages enjoyed by a farmer who can fatten their livestock with growth hormones, animals that are reared outdoors and grass fed do create a meat with a superior flavour and texture whilst insuring the meat is rich in Omega 3 & 4.

Mille Fleurs is Port Antonio’s only organic restaurant and we take great pride in the provenance of the meat we serve, it is sustainable, local, heritage and all cuts are prepared by our Chef.  We believe our guests deserve the same high standard of organic meat that is ethically produced that they are used to at home, and not the cheap, intensively farmed imported meat that is popular with Jamaica’s larger hotel restaurants.  We buy local, sustainbly reared meat that enables us to guarantee that all meat served in the restaurant is free from gms, steroids, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones nor has it undergone saltwater plumping. By stocking locally produced meat we are helping to guarantee that our local farmers and their employees directly benefit from tourism to the island.

Beef

Early maturing, well marbled Jamaican Jamaica Brahman Black Poll, Jamaican Red Poll beef is served in the Mille Fleurs restaurant and patronised from sustainable farmers who sell directly to Jamaica’s independent butchers.  For reference the ox in Jamaica’s fabulous spicy oxtail dishes is created using beef from ‘oxen’, the historic name for the castrated male steers.

Lamb and Mutton

Jamaican’s love of their scotch bonnet and pimento laced curries means that in smaller restaurants you will be offered mutton from sheep which are most commonly raised on the hillsides of St Elizabeth Parish, south west of Kingston and from where our most famous indigenous breed gets its name.  Hardy and suited to their tropical island habitat, Jamaican sheep are smaller than those found outside the Caribbean.  Jamaica has one specialist lamb provider, Longeville Park Farms in the parish of Clarendon and it is their delicious lamb we serve in the Mille Fleurs restaurant.

Chicken

Our  succulent chickens are free range and organic, reared by one of our very own Mockingbirdhill gardener who tends our beautiful pesticide free, bio-dynamic gardens.  The chicken receive a nutrious, natural organic feed and have a spacious environment to roam, which means  reduced disease, less fat and greater health benefits for our guests.

Pork

We never serve cheap, subsidised imported pork as we believe that pigs are as one of the most intelligent and social of our domesticated animals and deserve more than a life in a crate.  All our pork is reared by a small-time farmer in Usain Bolt’s homeland, Trelawny.  His pigs get to explore and forage in a natural environment which we believe cuts down on disease and the need for antibiotics whilst improving the flavour and texutre of the pork.

Book dinner at our Mille Fleurs restaurant and enjoy delicious and ethically produced Jamaican meat that benefits our local farmers

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Jamaican Banana Crumb Muffins http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/jamaican-banana-crumb-muffins/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/jamaican-banana-crumb-muffins/#respond Fri, 10 Jun 2016 10:45:49 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=11013  

Banana Crumb MuffinsOur gorgeously moist Jamaican banana crumb muffins are beloved by our adult and child guests alike. We know that no one enjoys holding a  sticky cake on a hot, humid day but it’s a different story when we bring out our banana crumb muffins….  They make the perfect cake to take on an afternoon picnic as well as a light brunch treat for those who are rather fond of bananas in any form.

Jamaican Banana Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Our famous Jamaican banana crumb muffins with a hint of cinnamon are beautifully moist and loved by young and old
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Jamaican
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp plain/all purpose flour for the topping
  • 1½ cups plain/all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • :
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C or 375 F
  2. Grease 10 muffin cups.
  3. In a large bowl mix together, baking soda, baking powder, flour and salt.
  4. Take a separate bowl and beat together egg, banana and melted butter.
  5. Combine the two mixtures of banana and flour until they have blended well.
  6. Scoop batter into muffin cups.
  7. Take a small bowl and mix 2 tablespoons of flour along with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Blend in one tablespoon of butter and mix, until the mixture becomes coarse.
  9. Sprinkle this over the muffin batter.
  10. Put the muffin cups into preheated oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
  11. The muffin is ready when a toothpick is inserted in the center and it comes out clean.


  12. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


 

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5 Worldly Comforts in Jamaica’s Vegetarian Cuisine http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/5-worldly-comforts-jamaica-vegetarian-cuisine/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/5-worldly-comforts-jamaica-vegetarian-cuisine/#comments Tue, 31 May 2016 13:08:20 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12435 Callaloo Stuffed Plantain

Who needs meat in Jamaica when its gorgeous spicy vegetarian cuisine is one of the most varied in the world, with rich tropical curry, sweet and sour flavours fusing together to reveal Jamaica’s unique ethnic mix.

The African, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese Jewish, Syrian, Lebanese, German and English cuisines afforded each newly arrived hungry immigrant to Jamaica’s shores a common comfort from their respective ‘cucina povera’ (kitchens of the poor), a glorious carbohydrate staple that would quickly be embraced to become pillars of Jamaican cuisine.

We are not suggesting to ignore completely your modern high protein diets whilst sampling Jamaican cuisine but go with the flow and embrace the cultural history of Jamaica by tasting locally grown pulses that are mixed with the freshest vegetables, fruits and world’s spices served with their traditional tasty bedfellows which when eaten together is guaranteed to stop snacking in its tracks.

Roti

If you love spicy filled wraps and burritos you’ll adore Jamaica’s most popular vegetarian snack, a stuffed warm roti.  Our favourite fillings are perhaps the simplest, some zesty but smoky jerk vegetables and plantain, or a beautiful sweet pumpkin and pimento curry.

Rice

Rice and peas is every Jamaican’s favourite one pot wonder, it’s incredibly simple fare but incredibly satisfying from the infused medley of pigeon peas, coconut milk scallion, garlic and thyme, scotch bonnet chili, bay leaves and spring onions that each family adds to the mix.  Look out for Rastafarian style I-tal pumpkin rice with spiced red peas (red kidney beans) or some pineapple barbecued tofu.

Bammy

Bammy makes a wonderful bread like alternative using grated cassava that is submerged in milk (diary or coconut) before it is steamed or fried to a crisp. Try it with a spiced corn soup or callaloo soup made with Jamaica’s less muddy flavoured spinach cousin and okra, black beans, sweet potato and pepper or an intoxicating vegan Rastafarian Ital soup made with assorted Jamaican vegetables cooked in an unprocessed coconut broth and thick enough to be called a stew.

Festival

These gorgeous lightly fried maize fritters with a hint of nutmeg are full of flavour without being too heavy, their slight sweetness offsets the spiciest curry or are a great comfort food served with something simple like a mango coleslaw.  Try our Cheese & Pimento festival recipe at home!

Spinners

Spinners are small thin dumplings that soak up the spicey flavours of the stew like dishes they cook in.  Named from the way they are made with the hands, spinners are particularly good in a I-tal yam and okra stew or spiced squash stewy soup.

Mille Fleurs was the first Jamaican restaurant to offer Meatless Mondays, and vegetarians and vegans are offered an inspired alternative menu each evening.

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6 Tips to Eating Fish in Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/6-tips-to-eating-fish-in-jamaica/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/6-tips-to-eating-fish-in-jamaica/#comments Wed, 11 May 2016 13:20:11 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12405 Tips Eating Fish Jamaica

Fishlovers are spoilt on a holiday to Jamaica. Whether you like your fish escoviche in style or rather steamed, stewed, roasted, barbequed or simply rolled and deep-fried into tasty frittered balls, the island’s rich fusion of cooking traditions from Spain, the UK, Africa, India and China makes the most of the island’s wild assets.

To nurture our reefs and keep fisheries healthy so that local communities and visitors to the island can enjoy local wild seafood long into the future, here’s our 6 tips to eating fish in Jamaica.

1. Each Fish Counts

Take your pick from wild Snapper, Mahi-Mahi, Grouper, Lion Fish, Snook or Mackerel.   If you are offered another type of fish do bear in mind this type is highly likely to have been imported without a guarantee that it was caught sustainably or that it is an endangered fish like Jamaica’s vulnerable parrot fish.

2. Order Lion Fish and then Order Some More

Not only does Lion fish taste great, a buttery white fish that is firm in texture and whose flavour is somewhere between grouper and Mahi Mahi, but by ordering lion fish whilst on holiday in Jamaica you are helping the survival of the island’s coral reefs!

Lionfish are an invasive non-native carnivorous fish that entered our beautiful Caribbean Sea via a Florida aquarium that was severely damaged in 1992 in Hurricane Andrew.  Without any predators and the ability to spawn 30,000 eggs every 4 days, these fish are devouring our grouper, snapper and parrot fish to name just a few.

3. Rainfall Brings Incredible Shrimp

There is nothing better than eating Jamaican wild native shrimp.  Sweet and succulent, Jamaican shrimp aren’t always available at market but are abundant after a good rainfall. Jamaica has 5 types whose shells are pink, white, brown, and royal red and its 5th is recognisable by its rock-hard shell.

Put in an order the day before you intend dining at one of Jamaica’s small independent eateries and restaurant and unlike the chain all-inclusive restaurants you are guaranteed to eat sustainable local shrimp without a carbon footprint and no trace of antibiotics or chemical enhancers to improve appearance and shelf life.

4. Respect the Season

Local Jamaican spiny lobster is ‘officially’  off  the menu between the 1st April and 30th June each year and it is  illegal to catch them throughout this their breeding season.  Throughout the year, it is illegal to catch or serve berried lobsters (those with eggs) or juvenile lobsters that are less than 3.5 inches, and, if you are served either we suggest sending it back to the chef and requesting a dish that is legal and protects Jamaica’s spiny lobsters longterm viability.

4. Pass on Parrot Fish

Please don’t eat parrot fish,  if we reduce the demand to eat it this beautiful endangered fish, it can instead help us to protect the last of Jamaica’s coral and counter the beach erosion of Negril and Montego Bay.

Jamaica’s coral reefs spans 50% of our coastline and its well-being relies upon the beaky parrot fish whose unusually shaped mouth cleans the coral by grazing on the algae that grows on it.  Without parrot fish our reefs would die, suffocated by the algae whilst Jamaica’s beaches would lose the 800 lbs of sand that they excrete over  a lifetime.

6. Avoid a Summertime Dish of Predatory Fish

Avoid eating predator fish like barracuda or amber jack late summer as you could end up suffering the foodborne disease ciguatera whose symptoms can last from a couple of weeks to decades.

Predator fish feed on the smaller reef fish who consume an algal coral bloom that’s highly attractive to toxin-bearing dinoflagellates (plankton).   The toxin doesn’t affect the fish only humans and cooking doesn’t remove the threat.

The Fish Served at Jamaica’s Favourite Organic Restaurant

The FIshermanThe team behind  the Mille Fleurs restaurant believe that wild sustainable harvesting is best done by artisanal fishermen who use less intense fishing methods.  Their boat of choice is a 28 foot fiberglass canoe powered with a 40 horsepower outboard engine which  limits the amount of fish they can catch before becoming tired and returning home.  This is opposed to commercial fishing operations which use advanced technology aboard factory boats to clean out an area, collapse the fish stocks, then move further afield to other areas to do the same.

The restaurant’s delicious fish is sourced from sOrganic, a specialised small scale processor/distributor for local inshore seafood who supply artisan fishermen with the support needed to fish sustainably and profitably.

They work closely with Jamaica’s most enlightened fishermen to harvest responsibly and invest the proceeds of their catch in improving their business and lifestyle. These selected fishermen carry adequate ice to sea, where catches are then promptly cleaned, shrink packaged and frozen. Absolutely no enhancers are used (e.g. sodium tripolyphosphate), a practice which most large fish dealers engage in. The company helps widen the range of products fishermen target and consumers can experience by introducing seasonal and less familiar species which may not  be commonly consumed in Jamaican culture but which are delicious in the hands of its knowledgeable chefs.

 

 

 

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Sustainability Makes for a Beautiful Planet http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/sustainability-makes-for-a-beautiful-planet/ Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:39:33 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12382

Today we are toasting the signing of the Paris Climate Treaty by 155 countries, keeping everything crossed that each country keeps to the accord!

Protecting our environment with sustainable practices needn’t be difficult, look ugly or require long-term expense but it does require careful planning. For any environmental minister looking for a few ideas how sustainable tourism could be better practiced in their country we invite you to look at our own interactive map.

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The Cleanest Water in Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/the-cleanest-water-in-jamaica/ Fri, 22 Apr 2016 11:15:24 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12340 Pool Reich Falls

Jamaica’s first inhabitants, the Arawaks named Jamaica, ‘Xaymaca’ – The Land of Wood and Water“.  Today local communities face the challenge of food and water security, the result of deforestation and global warming which over the last 3 decades has meant that areas of the island suffer mild to severe drought.

In our quest for sustainability, to enhance our guests stay and lessen the effect of drought on the hotel, we removed the impact of our business footprint from our struggling national water provider. 70% of national water is lost in leaky pipes and a staggering 69% of Jamaican households receive untreated water.

On a rainy day we have the capacity to harvest a staggering 85,000 gallons of the softest rainwater which we treat, store, heat and pump into our hotel to reduce each of our guest’s carbon footprint and the strain on national water provision.  The water is treated by UV and reverse osmosis and not only tastes much better than chemically treated water but stops any reliance on imported bottled water. Each of our guests and staff are guaranteed a powerful, stable water supply no matter what the climatic conditions are and which is environmentally clean as it uses only the energy from our solar panels during the day to produce it.

harvesting

In December 2015 we were awarded a grant by CHENACT that will allow us to store the energy from our solar panels by the end of the summer of 2016 in an aqueous hybrid ion battery.  Our guests will then have access to a water supply that is completely carbon free, removing the need to use the JPS national grid for electricity at night that is generated by burning imported oil.

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The Chic Escape: Jamaica & Spring Water Rum http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/the-chic-escape-jamaica-spring-water-rum/ Fri, 22 Apr 2016 10:18:23 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12344 1

We recently hosted Net-a-Porter’s team The Edit  for the 5 days they whilst were on location in Port Antonio for their summer shoot, and were overjoyed to read  our inclusion as the place to stay in their latest online magazine The Chic Escape: JAMAICA.  Do check it out for the latest trends and stunning photographs taken in Port Antonio.


“Book into tranquil Mockingbird Hill, an eco-friendly hotel with uninterrupted ocean vistas. For pure relaxation, have a unique Tao massage in the lush garden spa.”
4 9

The team adored our Mojitos, perhaps it’s because we use a boutique Jamaican rum that is ‘northern’ in production and conforms to our own policy of sourcing local to reduce our food and drink miles.  Its unique, smooth taste comes from its ingredients, spring mineral water which has filtered through the volcanic and limestone rocks of the Blue Mountains down into the foothills of a spring near Mcleish Town, and sugar cane sourced  from family estates in Port Maria, the former spanish capital of Jamaica.

Smatts Mojito
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A mojito with a difference using Smatt's Gold - sun-bronzed in colour with notes of Demerara sugar and molasses and strong hints of coconut and apricot. It has an aroma of dried petals and wood spice and contains a creamy, yet spicy texture.
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktail
Cuisine: Jamaican
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 60 ml Smatt’s Gold Rum
  • 1 Whole Lime
  • 3 Stems Organic Mint
  • 1 tblsp. Simple Syrup
  • Soda Water
Instructions
  1. Squeeze the lime juice into a tall glass. Add the simple syrup, rum and most of the mint, keeping a small sprig for the garnish.
  2. Crush the ingredients together to release the mint flavour.
  3. Fill the glass with ice and top up with soda water.
  4. Stir and garnish.

 

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1 Night FREE & Complimentary Continental Breakfast Summer Offer http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/1-night-free-complimentary-continental-breakfast-summer-offer/ Mon, 18 Apr 2016 10:29:29 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12304 Winnifred Beach

Book now for the summer and enjoy not just our low season rates but take advantage of our irresistible summer offer:

    • Complimentary luxury home-baked continental breakfast
    • 1 bottle of  red or white wine or Red Stripe served with a plate of our organic Jamaican Tapas
    • Artisan Food Basket
    • 1-night FREE, a saving of 14% IF you book for 7 nights or more

Available Dates – 18 April – 18 December 2016 – BOOK NOW

 Complimentary Continental Breakfast

Our continental breakfasts receive so much praise, freshly brewed Blue Moutain or Italian style coffee, freshly squeezed organic fruit, a range of our own home backed pastries and speciality breads, home made preserves and a platter of organic seasonal Jamaican fresh fruits.

Complimentary Jamaican Tapas  & Bottle of Wine on Arrival

We are big fans of Spanish tapas, the little dishes and snacks served alongside your welcome aperitivo and we have created our own with a Jamaican fusion twist that could include 

  • Tuna Ceviche with Scotch Bonnet Papaya Salsa
  • Goat Chops with Guava and Tamarind sauce
  • Green Banana Mussa (cooked mashed Bananas with Coconut Milk and Baccalà)
  • Hemp crust pizza with Ackee & Baccalà or Callaloo & Cheese

Complimentary Artisan Food Basket

In between a cooling swim in the Caribbean Sea and kiting, enjoy dipping into our coconut and wicker basket gift for a handful of irresistible roasted Blue Mountain coffee beans that have been richly coated in chocolate which is also grown up high on our UNESCO mountains’ misty slopes. A pack of Jamaica’s finest Blue Mountain coffee beans, the most expensive in the world will be included in your basket, for you to take home and have your most indulgent cup of coffee that will rekindle memories of simple pleasures whilst on holiday in Jamaica. Chef Barbara’s aromatic Pimento Liqueur is fabled throughout Port Antonio and this delicious rum-based dram will be part of our basket.  Whether it makes it back home with you or you’ll indulge yourself in exotic allspice Jamaica’s nightcap on your room terrace we wouldn’t like to predict!  If it doesn’t there is the  bottle of her homemade organic Jerk Sauce to help re-capture your Jamaican holiday mood!

Save 14% off your Room Price

If you book one of our comfortable airy rooms for 7 nights you will only pay for  6 nights, a saving of 14% allowing you to explore Portland enjoy an extra special treat on your last day

PLEASE NOTE

Between 1-29 May 2016 the Mille Fleurs kitchen will be open to non-resident guests for breakfast and lunch only.  Following on from Chef Barbara’s presentation to the Terroir conference in Toronto on Food, Art and Passion she will be travelling to Europe on a study trip to explore ‘local’ and ‘heritage’ ready to bring back new skills and tastes into the Mille Fleurs kitchen.

Guests are most welcome to come and enjoy the sunset from our bar terrace and sample some of our tropical cocktails and the Jamaican Tapas Platter.  We will be serving soups, salads and light options for dinner. Reservations MUST be made the day before the date of dining to allow our team to plan. To make your reservation  talk to any member of staff or email – reservations@hotelmockingbirdhill.com or telephone +1 876 993 ext. 7134 or 7267.

CHECK AVAILABILITY

 

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Jamaican Coconut Bread for a Low Sugar Treat http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/coconut-bread-for-a-low-sugar-treat/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/coconut-bread-for-a-low-sugar-treat/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2016 18:51:29 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/more-than-the-beach/?p=1429 Coconut Bread
One recipe that we get asked for again and again by our guests is for our moreish Jamaican Coconut Bread recipe that we serve as part of our home-baked breakfast breads in the Mille Fleurs Restaurant.  Ask any Jamaican what their favourite sweet bread is and coconut bread will be at the top of the list.  Everyone has their own favourite family recipe with an assortment of flours used including breadfruit for those following a gluten free diet and often chickpea flour by Jamaica’s rastafrians.

Coconut Bread is relatively healthy; the sweetness of the coconut decreases the amount of refined sugar that baking a cake normally requires and there is no butter, shortening or fats  required. Interestingly, coconuts are rich in medium chain triglycerides that have actually been shown to reduce appetite and therefore help to eliminate abdominal obesity.

COCONUT BREAD

4-Cups/480 g Plain Flour
2 tsps  Baking Powder
½ tsp  Salt
3-Cups/360 g Grated Coconut
¾ Cup/150 g  Caster Sugar
1 tsp  Vanilla Extract
1  Egg (beaten)
1-Cup/240 ml Milk

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add coconut, sugar, vanilla and beaten eggs. Pour in a little milk each time until dough is firm but not sticky.

Bake in greased loaf tins, for about 1 hour or until golden brown.

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Tipping in Jamaica http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/tipping-in-jamaica/ http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/tipping-in-jamaica/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2016 08:04:59 +0000 http://www.hotelmockingbirdhill.com/?p=12281 Mockingbirdee TreasuresWithout our wonderful staff we would not have our much loved hotel and restaurant in Port Antonio Jamaica. It is for that reason we believe in paying a monthly living wage to each and every member of our team including all our trainees which is neither dependent on age or gender. Tips for our staff are shared equally amongst the whole team and because we do not use tips to make our team members wage liveable, tips can be saved or used towards a well earnt treat for themselves and their families.

Tips – A Reward not a Top Up to Get By

Jamaica is one of the most expensive islands to live in the Caribbean due to the amount that the island needs to import which is why the monthly minimum wage in Jamaica is high J$22,400, US $1,800 gross.  Our trainees start at J$ 30,000 and the average minimum wage amongst our team is J$ 45,000.

During the low season in Jamaica as occupancy levels drop so do tips which is why we recommend booking a sustainable hotel who believes in fair pay and assuring their team members that their living needs will be met irrespective of occupancy levels.

If you feel that the service in a sustainable Jamaican hotel or restaurant has been outstanding we recommend leaving a 10-15% tip.

Sustainable Hotels Create a Viable Economic Future for Jamaica

Sustainable hotels like Hotel Mockingbird Hill do not employ staff on a casual contract, which is the norm within much of the tourism sector in Jamaica, particularly at the all-inclusive resorts in the west of the island. Casual contracts allow the larger hotels to increase their profit margins by avoiding paying the obligatory statutory deductions and contributions required by the Jamaican government for their full-time employees.

These contributions are vital for Jamaica’s long-term economic development and include pension payments, a necessity for an aging population and additionally to the very important National Housing Trust which enables Jamaicans to borrow money to purchase land or build/buy a house at low interest rates.

Healthcare for the Mockingbird Team

Although health care is free in Jamaica the waiting time to see a doctor is extensive. Each of Hotel Mockingbird Hill’s long standing employees enjoy the benefit of our private group health insurance policy which guarantees decent health care for them and their family and immediately covers them in the event of major crises.

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