Jamaica needs the money
Tourism stakeholders defend arrival of cruise ship on no-movement dayMonday, September 13, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James — While frowning on what they see as “never-ending lockdowns”, tourism stakeholders and residents say they have no problem with a cruise ship being allowed to dock on a no-movement day.
The comments come following accusations in both mainstream and social media, taking the Government to task about engaging in what has been described as a double standard as it relates to allowing tourists to roam about freely while locals must stay within the confines of their homes.
“I have absolutely no problem with a ship being allowed to dock on a designated no-movement day,” explained Garfield Dussard, owner of the Ocho Rios-based Garfield's Diving, which has franchises in Falmouth and Montego Bay.
“We have to put country first. It doesn't make sense hitting out against the ships when they are an important part of our tourism recovery programme. I don't care which Jamaican port is getting a ship…the point is that ships are coming back and we should do everything to accommodate them.”
Sanju Chatani, owner of the Taj Mahal Plaza, agreed. “We must appreciate the fact that one of the biggest cruise lines in the world — Carnival — has been sending ships and we need to do our part. Cruise shipping has been also a major source of income for many Jamaicans and is an important revenue earner for the nation. It's mind-boggling to think that anyone would have anything bad to say about an employer of many Jamaicans and a long-standing partner of the island of Jamaica.”
The 1,700-passenger Carnival Sunrise will be in Ocho Rios today (Monday, September 13), its third voyage in a month to the resort town, but its first on a no-movement day.
“So far, so good,” is how chairman of the island's resilient corridors, John Byles, describes the Carnival visits.
“Look…we have to look at the bigger picture,” he said. “Ocho Rios is only the beginning. If we do this right then, very soon, we could be seeing Falmouth, Montego Bay, Port Royal, and Port Antonio getting ships. We should be all in unison, celebrating the return of the ships.
“It is what will speed our tourism recovery. It is what will be able to put food on many tables. Please don't destroy it. Nurture and support a sector that has consistently demonstrated a sense of reliability and dependability,” Byles urged.
For her part, former Ocho Rios Craft Market President Mildred McCalla said, “All who don't want to see the cruise ships don't mean this country any good.”
“Why would anyone want to fight against progress? Whether it's no-movement day or whenever, it's all about Jamaica and the fact that we are getting back an important part of our visitor arrival partner,” she said.