Luxury Cruise Liners Continues Docking At Private Beaches Near Haiti’s Devastated Earthquake

by Project Censored

The 4,370-berth Independence of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean International, disembarked at the heavily guarded resort of Labadee on week after some 300,000 Haitians died in the massive earthquake The Florida cruise company leases a picturesque wooded peninsula and its five pristine beaches from the government for passengers to “cut loose” with watersports, barbecues, and shopping for trinkets at a craft market before returning on board before dusk. Safety is guaranteed by armed guards at the gate.

The decision to go ahead with the visit divided passengers. The ships carry some food aid, and the cruise line has pledged to donate all proceeds from the visit to help stricken Haitians. “I just can’t see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water,” one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic internet forum.

Some booked on ships scheduled to stop at Labadee are afraid that desperate people might breach the resort’s 12ft high fences to get food and drink, but others seemed determined to enjoy their holiday.

The company said the question of whether to “deliver a vacation experience so close to the epicentre of an earthquake” had been subject to considerable internal debate before it decided to include Haiti in its itineraries.

“In the end, Labadee is critical to Haiti’s recovery; hundreds of people rely on Labadee for their livelihood,” said John Weis, vice-president. “In our conversations with the UN special envoy of the government of Haiti, Leslie Voltaire, he notes that Haiti will benefit from the revenues that are generated from each call.

Title: Cruise Ships Still Find A Haitian Berth

Source: guardian.co.uk, 17 January 2010

URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/17/cruise-ships-haiti-earthquake/print

Author: Robert Booth

Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips

Sonoma State University