The AP published an article today regarding the plight of Falmouth. The world's biggest cruise ships are sucking most of the money out of the Jamaican port and leaving little behind except crushed expectations of the local community.
"World's Biggest Cruise Ships Drop Anchor in Caribbean, But Ship-to-Shore Feud Brews Over Cash" takes a look at Royal Caribbean's "development" of this historic port where it promised that if Jamaica spent a couple hundred million dollars building a deep water port for its monstrous ships the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, the mostly U.S. passengers would each spend would over $100 ashore and infuse the local Jamaican economy.
Jamaica lived up to its end of the bargain, at consideration damage to the mangroves and coral reefs around Falmouth. But the residents of Falmouth are seeing little money in return. The AP article quotes a local businessman saying: "We were promised that we'd be able to show people our Jamaican heritage, sell our crafts. But most of the tourists stay far away from the local people . . . we're on the losing end."
I have been to Falmouth and feared that it would be another Royal Caribbean project that benefited the cruise line and exploited the local community. Three years ago I wrote an article critical of what I believed would be another Royal Caribbean scheme (like Labadee Haiti) to suck money from another Caribbean island and sail the loot back to the cruise line's coffers in Miami - "Historic Port of Falmouth - Jamaica's "Crapital" for the Oasis of the Seas."
I followed this article up with "Will Royal Caribbean Ever Live Up to Its Promises to Falmouth Jamaica?" Unfortunately, the people of Jamaica have a history of being exploited by foreign plantation owners, sugar barons, slave owners, and bauxite-mining companies. Royal Caribbean is the latest robber baron to appear as the country's professed savior. But like other false prophets, it will do no better for Falmouth than those in the past who have taken greatly and given little in return to this beautiful island.
The AP article says that the people in Falmouth are "growing angry" and predicts that things will only get worse, quoting a local vendor:
"The pot is starting to boil and, trust me, it will boil over if things don't change around here . . . why can't we, the people who actually live here, make a living off the cruise ships, too?"
The answer lies in history of the non-sustainable cruise industry. Poor Caribbean countries like Jamaica are beholden to selfish billion dollar U.S. based cruise corporations. In the end game, the local Jamaicans are victims of the exploitative cruise line system.
Video credit: "Victims of The System" - Rootz Underground
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