A reader of Cruise Law News brought to our attention that Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe recently tweeted:
"Le Gouvernement a signé aujourd'hui un protocole d'accord avec Carnival Cruises pour la construction d'un resort sur l'Ile de la Tortue."
Translated, this says that Haiti and Carnival have struck a deal to develop a resort on the Ile de la Tortue (Tortuga Island).
Prime Minister Lamothe later tweeted that Carnival will initially invest $70 million into the development.
Tortuga is a very popular place in Haiti for tourism. In the 17th century, it was a major center of Caribbean piracy. Some say that it is synonymous with the Pirates of the Caribbean. There are many people in Haiti excited by the news.
But the devil is in the details. Will this be a private island for the exclusive benefit of Carnival and its passengers? Will this be a lease similar to the 260 acres of prime waterfront property (Labadee) which Royal Caribbean leased (ripped off) from Haiti?
Will Haitians really be employed? Royal Caribbean initially employed only Europeans on its private resort in Ladadee.
Will a pier be developed which can accommodate giant cruise ships? This would involve substantial dredging and environmental destruction to a beautiful, pristine area.
The Haiti Internet Newsletter covered the story. There are interesting comments to the article, including this one which was spot on:
It is very likely going to be private on long term lease, run by them, not much employment for Haitians and we'll never know how much they are polluting the environment on and around the island since it's probably a long term lease with all kind of exclusions since they will basically own it for the terms on the lease.
Unlike so many, I'm not having a party over this. I know the cruise industry too well to trust that this is going to benefit Haiti in any significant way. I can guarantee you Carnival is getting more out of this than Haiti ever will.
Cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean are inherently predatory (see articles below). Let's hope that Prime Minister Lamothe has his eyes wide open while dealing with Carnival.
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August 5 2014 Update: The AP covers the story and quotes Cruise Law News.
August 6 2014 Update: CBS covers the story and quotes Cruise Law News.
Interested in the cruise industry's relationship with Caribbean islands? Consider reading:
Photo credit: BriceFoundation.org