Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson has said senior executives of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL), the second-largest cruise company in the world, have advised that they are in need of more Jamaican workers.
Robinson was part of a delegation, led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, which hosted a high-level team from RCCL in Kingston last week.
“In discussions with some of the top brass of RCCL, which included the chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley, we were told that the company hires up to 20,000 persons per year and really want Jamaicans to start filling out many of those positions,” Robinson said.
She noted that Jamaicans have been an integral part of the growth of RCCL over the years, making them “top prospects for any recruitment exercise.”
“It is no secret that the cruise lines have been very impressed with the kind of work ethic that Jamaicans have demonstrated year in and year out, and have never been shy about opening their doors to many of our workers. I am not the least bit surprised that they continue to be very receptive to Jamaicans who seek employment with their company,” Robinson said.
She said the Government is “extremely pleased” with all the investments and employment opportunities that have been opening up for Jamaican workers.
“In the meeting with the RCCL folks, there was a huge push for the development of Port Royal for cruise tourism. We also looked at the continued development of Falmouth as a preferred cruise destination and, of course, opportunities for our local business people, including our craft traders,” she noted.
Senior adviser/strategist in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright, who was also part of the Jamaican team that met with the RCCL officials, said the meeting was “a true testament to how far Jamaica has come as a cruise-shipping powerhouse.”
“We have to look at this against the backdrop that in recent times, we have had meetings of the highest order with the top two cruise lines in the world – Carnival, and now RCCL,” he pointed out.
“We met with Carnival in Miami last year, and now we have just concluded talks with RCCL. These have been very productive meetings that really bode well for our cruise sector going forward,” he said.
Seiveright noted that RCCL has committed to continue having its Oasis-class vessels call on Jamaica, noting that “those ships are (among) the biggest on the planet.
“The historic Falmouth Port has been the regular host of Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, three of the biggest ships in the RCCL fleet. It’s not far-fetched to think that it is just a matter of time before their largest vessel, the Symphony of the Seas, make that maiden voyage to our port,” he said.