Craft vendors president welcomes cruise call scheduled for tomorrowSunday, September 12, 2021
PRESIDENT of the Ocho Rios Craft Council Devon Mitchell yesterday welcomed news of the arrival of the Carnival Sunrise cruise ship set to dock in Ocho Rios tomorrow, exclaiming that he was happy and the craft vendors were anticipating accommodating the visitors.
“I'm looking forward to the arrival of the cruise ship. Arrangements have been put in place to facilitate persons who operate in the resilient corridor. As a representative for the crafts market, we are anticipating accommodating those visitors the same as the other two times when the ships came in during the closing down since COVID-19,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell added that in light of Monday being a no-movement day, the cruise ship call is a well-needed visit to help shoulder the economic blow brought on by the pandemic.
“Some people might have mixed feelings about it and think within themselves that it is a blatant double standard of the Government, but at the same time people have to understand that people have been suffering for the past 18 months; and while we are trying to curb the whole COVID situation that we are facing here in Jamaica, we have to still think about the lives and the livelihood of people. If there is a vessel that's coming in to try to do something for the people, I think it should be anticipated and accommodated without any form of mixed feelings,” he said.
Mitchell added that he only has one request — that there be a level playing field.
“Ocho Rios is comprised of eight craft markets but five of them have been active. I only want to know that when the ship comes there is a level playing field where those people operating in the markets can get some of the business. I know of one craft market — it's two times now we have ships coming and that market has been somewhat exempt from that opportunity, and that is the Ocho Rios Craft Market. I have spoken to the powers that be to make sure that when the ship comes on Monday they can be part of the operation,” he said.
For others who might not get to benefit from this opportunity, Mitchell asked that they not view it as blatant disrespect from the Government or as a double standard, as “everyone is facing the crisis and we have to be our brothers' keepers”.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, in a press release, outlined that this will be the third cruise ship arrival following the reopening of cruise tourism in August 2021.
He said the schedule for the cruise season had been agreed with Carnival Cruise Line prior to the imposition of the no-movement days under the Disaster Risk Management Act.
“The two previous cruise arrivals in August were successful and all the required protocols that had been agreed on with the cruise line were very strictly observed and monitored,” he added.
Minister Bartlett explained that the protocols and strict monitoring will remain in place for this and subsequent cruise ship calls. Arriving cruise visitors are permitted to visit only establishments within the resilient corridors that are certified by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), and are permitted to travel only on transportation licensed under the Tourist Board Act.
“ Carnival Sunrise has to meet strict measures governing the restart of cruise shipping, requiring approximately 95 per cent of passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated and for all passengers to provide evidence of negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of sailing. In the case of unvaccinated passengers, such as children, a PCR test is mandated, and all passengers are also screened and tested [antigen] on disembarkation,” Minister Bartlett underscored.
He also emphasised that the port of call has met protocols laid down by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the cruise companies, with TPDCo also monitoring conformity to the rules.
“The Cabinet made a decision to facilitate the cruise arrival on a no-movement day to honour our agreement with Carnival Cruise Line. We are confident that the robust protocols and controls that have been put in place are sufficient to keep both our population and the arriving passengers safe,” Bartlett added.
“In our quest to protect lives and livelihoods, the Government seeks to maintain Jamaica's position as the premier cruise destination in the region while working closely with our cruise partners to maintain the highest standards of safety,” he said.