Michael D. Williams is not just one of those run- of the mill professionals, the British born Jamaican is a public relations practitioner of international repute with diverse experience in advertising and hotel management, in fact, getting to meet the unassuming expert for a chat is like having a chanced opportunity to know more about what hospitality has to offer in a broader spectrum.
The lanky middle aged man who’s standing a terrific height of 6ft 2inches, in case you don’t know is one of the aides of Cross River State governor, Mr. Liyel Imoke, he is in charge of the State’s Tourism Bureau in the capacity of managing director.
Flaunting a quiet mien, but with a discerning dexterity of an experienced international business manager, one of the first topics we dragged was the issue of hotel standards, taking one or two Nigerian hotels as a case study, Michael is of the opinion that, most of the hotels here are not 5-star, “though am not saying there are no good hotels, yeah maybe a few, ever since I got here like four years now, I have travelled far and wide and can’t possibly point out a clear 5-star hotel, fine give it to Wheat Baker in Lagos and a couple like that, but there are more to hospitality than what they offer, the funny thing is, they’re so expensive for nothing in return”, he noted.
“I have travelled far and wide and I’ve seen properties, I could remember when I assumed office, I took some of my Nigerian staff for a tour of Jamaica, we visited many hotels and they were all saying this is 5-star, this is 5-star and by the time I took them to Royal Plantation, they couldn’t say anything again, a 5-star hotel doesn’t necessarily have to be big but what they offer is the most important, most 5-stars are built in villas of say 4, 5 or even 7 rooms together with an all inclusive service including separate cooks”, he told us.
Before his present job, Michael Williams was the director of the popular Nottinghill Carnival that holds in London every year, “I was the director of the Nottinghill Carnival, I was invited, among other people to be part of the presentation to manage the Cross River State Tourism Board, I never believed I’ll be considered until I was given the portfolio to consult as the Special Assistant To The Governor on Tourism, I spent like a year and a half years before I was seconded to head the Tourism Board as the MD.
So far, he considered working with Nigerians as both interesting and challenging, ‘I think Nigerians are interesting people to work with and specifically, Governor Liyel Imoke is one of the best persons I’ve ever met on earth, full of humility and dedication, this is a man who will drive by himself at night to inspect several projects being handled by contractors, I think the man is a clear example of what a good leader should be”, he opined.
On a final note, when Michael was asked on his observation on Nigerian politics, this is what he said, “I’ll say Nigerians don’t know the value of democracy, from my own point of view, I don’t think they realize they can change a whole lot of things by this democratic power, and not until they’re ready to do this will there be the expected change, it is a fabulous country of plenty but being mismanaged by leaders”.