Will it be about the quantity or the quality, both in terms of numbers and beneficial contribution when cruise ships finally return to Barbados?
Traditionally of course, we usually only see one or maybe two cruise ships arrive weekly during the long summer months, but come November under post pandemic conditions the Bridgetown Port is thriving with a multitude of cruise ships docking with passenger capacities ranging from 150 up to 6,000 persons plus crew.
Last week the world’s largest cruise line, Carnival Corporation reported a net loss of a staggering US$2.2 billion for the fourth quarter of their 2020 financial year. Their website boasts ‘the cruise lines within our portfolio include the most recognised brands in North America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Australia – areas that account for 85 percent of the world’s cruise passengers’.
Among those brands is Princess, which had no less than seven* of its ships (Grand, Diamond, Coral, Sun, Ruby, Pacific and Regal) involved in serious Covid-19 outbreaks and another two (Emerald and Royal) with suspected cases or given no-sail orders. *source: Wikipedia. Overall, as a consequence of the pandemic, so far Carnival has ‘accelerated the removal of 19, older less efficient ships, 15 of which have already left the fleet’.
To put that in overall perspective, those retired 19 ships represent approximately 13 per cent of pre-pause capacity and three per cent of operating income in 2019. Despite the groups astronomical losses, its chief executive (CEO), Arnold Donald, remains remarkably upbeat , stating ‘2020 has proven to be a true testament to the resilience of our company’.
Adding ‘We took aggressive actions to implement and optimize a complete pause in our guest cruise operations across all brands globally and developed protocols to begin our staggered resumption, first in Italy for our Costa brand, then followed by Germany for our Aida brand’.
‘We are now working diligently towards resuming operations in Asia, Australia, the United Kingdom and United States over the course of 2021’.
‘We are well positioned to capitalize on pent-up demand and to emerge a leaner, more efficient company, reinforcing our industry-leading position’.
At this stage no specific mention of the Caribbean has been made, which for decades has produced their single largest source for sales and passenger numbers, but Mr. Donald is quoted as stating ‘we are working toward having all our ships back in service by the end of the year’.
Clearly, this may encourage our tourism policymakers to plan for the upcoming winter 2021/22 season and to finally evaluate exactly how ‘we’ as a country can justify the massive taxpayer subsidies already spent on our local cruise infrastructure over the past decades, to ensure this ‘investment’ becomes truly cost-effective?
Will the cruise companies remember the overwhelming support given to repatriate passengers and crew during the most challenging times of their entire history, or will this be lost in the wind or stormy seas?
To ensure accuracy, I submitted this column to the media department at Carnival and Princess for any corrections and/or comments prior to submission.
Roger Frizzell, Carnival Corporation’s Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, was gracious enough to respond personally with the following message:
‘We are extremely thankful and greatly appreciative of the assistance and support provided to our cruise lines and crew members during this difficult time’.
Because a little birdie just sent me a note, I am aware the GIS is digitally publishing SELECT sections of the Gazette
BUT….it is available via the government printer at
why they haven’t merged the printery and the parliament sites is beyond my explanation. The Gazette is seems is now published daily, you just have to know how to find it. My bad.
further to a comment/observation from Walter Blackman some months ago, it would appear from the Gazette dated Dec 28/2020, the following now fall under
MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AND INVESTMENT
WITH EFFECT FROM 23RD JULY, 2020
(b) Social Security
National Insurance, including Old Age Pensions
National Insurance Department
National Insurance Board
Subsequently, we now have the MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP RELATIONS
The Caribbean region is viewed by outsiders as low hanging fruit vulnerable to being absorbed by an entity irrespective of their size. For example how was it possible that an insignificant figure such as Mrs Ram was able to have had such an influence on the island. There are many Mrs Rams throughout our region.
The failure of our region can be measured, absolutely, by the fact that we have “never” waged war against each other, that we have never experienced famines, pestilences, tsunamis and a whole host of other great levellers. Some of you may argue, correctly, that each year our region experiences hurricanes. Hurricanes are predictable, we know when they will visit us and should be able to plan for their arrival.
Our infrastructure should be designed and planned to mitigate against this know threat.
The aspirational views of the Caribbean region of Hal and William Skinner are naive. Logic and common sense are not Caribbean traits. For example, Caricom failed to integrate Haiti within the region. Where was Haiti’s Marshall plan from Caricom whilst Haitian citizens lived in squalor?
Yes, the region has had a terrible slave legacy. However compared to so many other nations since the sixties we have enjoyed so many comparative advantages. From Vietnam to Rwanda we have never experienced war. Those two countries have left us far behind.
Who would believe that after 54 years of independence with no great leveller to undermine our country’s future; that we still look towards the tourist industry to rescue our economy from the abyss.
Our leaders have failed us and the citizens of the country are simply not up to par.
I am not certain where the region goes from here. Sadly, too many Bajans are in a state of denial over the future of their country. It’s going to end very badly for large numbers of their off-spring and their descendants.
Fair comment. However how others see us is not the problem; it’s how we see ourselves.
Dreamer maybe I am , but naive I am not. Let me share some facts we need to remember:
Slavery was abolished 1835/1838; by 1954 we had adult suffrage, by the 1960s we were all seeking independence. That is less than 150 years. That means we went from slaves to self government in a very short historical period.
I am putting it to you and anybody else that we can become one Caribbean nation within 50 years or less if we so choose.
All we lack is progressive visionary leadership.
In the 60s Black Americans were experiencing devastating racism in every area of their lives. Within less than sixty years they have had a Black President and the first female Black Vice President.
History is on my side.
You need to do like Facebook and flag inaccurate posts. The post by the Hal Austin at 8:30am is riddled with disinformation and misinformation, which is quite shocking given his background. He refers to the covid response group of doctors as “hangers-on with a bogus expertise.” Both Dr.Best and Dr.Forde are trained specialists.🤣🤣🤣
Like you stated it is 2021.
I 100% with your assessment of where we are and why we are there but we can NEVER give up. We always have to keep striving to improve the region and there is creativity, hope and talent especially with our youngsters. The are avenues that can be explored despite the awfully clueless politicians who can’t implement or manage one damn thing and are useless tools
We do not have the scientists (apart from individuals working in Canada, the US and UK), to provide expert advice to our governments and people; in Barbados we have to ‘promote’ the acting CMO and the other hangers-on with a bogus expertise. We have failed our people at this crucial time…….(Quote)
You need to do like Facebook and flag inaccurate posts. The post by the Hal Austin at 8:30am is riddled with disinformation and misinformation, which is quite shocking given his background. He refers to the covid response group of doctors as “hangers-on with a bogus expertise.” Both Dr.Best and Dr.Forde are trained specialists.🤣🤣🤣….(Quote)