Will Carnival Become the New Pirates of Haiti?

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).

Tortuga Island HaitiPrime 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.  

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our facebook page.

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:

Royal Caribbean "Returns" to its Trademarked, Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® - While Haiti Suffers

Falmouth Jamaica: Victim of the Royal Caribbean System

Belize Tourism Industry Association Sues NCL to Block Mega Cruise "Harvest Caye" Development in Belize

Photo credit: BriceFoundation.org

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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
joseph p.taverne - August 3, 2014 3:51 PM

Way % Haiti will benefit from this project .
And how many haitien will be employed.

Ciceron - August 3, 2014 4:27 PM

Stop all these b.s, haiti needs everything it can can right now. That's an empty island with nothing in it ( pls stop it ok)

Harry Comeau - August 3, 2014 4:38 PM

Interesting! My last visit to Labadee goes back to 1986 and I do understand there have tremendous progress to make it a very nice location or stop over. I am unclear if it is a resort where people can spend a week or a weekend. Wonder if there was ever a research made by an economist or social scientist about a positive impact on the local community for Hatian artists or vendors? It will be good for the likes of Ciceron to ask important questions about any development projects that will benefits foreigners instead of using foul language to demean any one questioning selling out the country to corporations under the pretext of the island has nothing; negating the existence of its inhabitants as well as the possibility of a better future which may have resulted by a Memeorandum of Understanding that offers and secures them employment with decent wages.

Tim Baker - August 4, 2014 6:41 AM

Last year I was in Labadee on the Allure and talked a while with the driver of the boat who was a Haitan citizen. We was very emphatic about how he wanted MORE cruise stops in his country. He and his family have been helped greatly by the tourism and he wants more helped. Although, I was disappointed that excursions didn't go out of the confines of the resort area because there is a lot that I would like to visit.

Jim Walker - August 4, 2014 3:17 PM

Tim: Unfortunately the "benefit" to Haiti is limited to the Royal Caribbean resort. The Haitians on the other side of the barb wire ten foot fence are screwed.

Tim Baker - August 5, 2014 6:40 AM

Well Jim, the Haitian I talked to would disagree with you. You need to talk to them. The resort can't help everyone in the country just like no business can hire everyone.

Charles Anel - August 10, 2014 6:48 PM

Laurent good job.

Philippe Rocourt - August 20, 2014 4:09 PM

While I do understand that the right questions need to be asked of such deals, i feel too many times that individuals want to first criticize before actually knowing what will really be done. Ciceron might have put it with blunt wording, but he is right in general because Haiti needs any glimpse of economic growth that this additional cruise destination will bring, not only to the Tortuga Island, but also to the perception or stigma being continuously put on Haiti. I am simply sick and tired of reading in the press the same line.... Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere... The press never sees the positives, and always dwells on the negative. Hopefully Jim Walker has taken a trip to Labadee to seek out the truth that Tim Baker reported. Because I have been to Labadee both on a RCL boat and on land, and recorded similar positive comments from the vendors, boat captains, etc... from inside the site, and outside in the neighboring village, home to these vendors. Stop bashing the Haiti Government efforts to better the lives of every Haitian, and paint a different picture of beautiful Haiti. This is exactly these kinds of comments / blogs that keep people from changing their views of Haiti, and experience its wonders and culture.

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