Haiti and the cruise ships

Royal Caribbean has decided that its cruise ships will continue to stop as scheduled at the Haitian port of Labadee. The decision has angered some people. But what is the alternative?

The alternative is for the ships not to stop at Labadee, and for their passengers not to disembark and spend money in a country that desperately needs it. It’s for those ships not to drop off food and supplies while they’re in port, as Royal Caribbean has pledged to do.

Not doing these things might satisfy some sense of propriety. But the people of Haiti would gain nothing from this abstention.

Yes, Haitians need emergency relief aid right now. But the donations will never be enough — they also need whatever additional income they can muster, and there may not be much of an economy beyond tourism in the near future. (Royal Caribbean has more than 200 employees in Labadee, and the company has reported that none of these employees were injured.)

If I were a passenger on one of these ships, I would certainly be inclined to go about my visit differently than I would have before the earthquake. But I’d definitely want the chance to help Labadee, even in a small way, start getting back to normal.

36 comments Add your comment

Horrible Horrace

January 19th, 2010
8:07 am

Im curious as to the 30 billion invested in haiti over the last 10 years. Where did the money and the crooks go and if we invest our money again then who is too stop if from going down the same RATHOLE!?

Portal

January 19th, 2010
9:08 am

Those angry passengers must be bleeding heart liberals. All talk, no action. Just take them to another port where they can party free of guilt. Corporations have donated roughly 35 to 40 million dollars, give or take, to Haiti relief efforts.

Business=bad=$40M

Emotional outrage=good=$0

Road Scholar

January 19th, 2010
9:22 am

Who in their right mind would want to vacation in Haiti right now? Now if the ships were used as offshore hotels for emergency workers and volunteers…

Why oh Why...

January 19th, 2010
9:23 am

Unlike so many, I think Kyle is right that Royal Carribean should continue to stop at an not affected by the quake. It’s honstly a win win. Has anybody said, don’t travel to california right now because they have a flood…..Hmmm

Why oh Why...

January 19th, 2010
9:25 am

FYI..this is a private island not on the mainland Haiti that many visitors aren’t even aware of part of Haiti because the ENTIRE island is owned by Royal Carribean.

Joan

January 19th, 2010
9:25 am

It is hard to say that pouring money into a country that has long been a cesspool is going to have a good net result. You may keep people alive, but for what? To live their whole lives in poverty because they are uneducated, lazy, uninspired to rise up against their dictators. Haiti is just another version of West Africa where people expect to be taken care of. This phenom seems only to happen in warm countries. I guess in cold countries people are required to work to live.

Davo

January 19th, 2010
9:31 am

Just when it couldn’t get any worse for Haiti; a boat-load of New Jersey lands on its shore. God help those poor people.

Kyle Wingfield

January 19th, 2010
10:12 am

Mr. Croydak: We can do without the slurs against other readers. And no, it doesn’t matter that you were making a (bad) reference to an SNL skit.

neo-Carlinist

January 19th, 2010
10:13 am

who cares? did George Clooney, Pat Robertson, Royal Carribean, Rush Limbaugh, or the NFL care about Hatai the day before the quake? there are two disasters in play here; the obvious, unavoidable Natural Disaster; and the Man-made disaster which is the result of the self-serving nature of government. this should serve as a cautionary tale for Americans (here’s what happens when the government/politicians assume – or should I say; TAKE control of day-to-day life). it’s obvious there was no contingency play or “emergency management” plan in place. why would there be such a plan? they people of Haiti have lived like animals for years (no infrastructure, no law, no government). remember when Katrina hit and people said; “outside of the French Quarter New Orleans is a third world city.”? well, Haiti is the 10th world.

Just my 2 cents

January 19th, 2010
10:18 am

Joan @9:25am, I hope the moment you are in need of life saving help, someone will decide to let you die because of how ignorant you are. You foolish idiot.

JF McNamara

January 19th, 2010
10:20 am

I always hate when people like Joan make comments like that. You only have that opinion if you lived a middle to upper class life your entire life and never known any real hardship. I only hope that you and your family experience hardship and then maybe you’ll have more perspective and empathy for others situations.

There are tons of hard working people in Haiti. They are uneducated because they don’t have good schools. Why don’t you donate the money for a school for them?

Its not easy to overthrow a government. They have the military on their side. They have tried and failed twice to coup the government in recent years. Once in 1991 and once in 2004.

In other words, you’re just a mean idiot.

As for Labadee, Royal Caribbean can do what they want. They have armed guards and its protected from the mainland by mountains. As long as the customers don’t mind, I certainly don’t.

DirtyDawg

January 19th, 2010
10:21 am

Hey I never thought of this…the cruise ship could leave their ‘used’ watermelon carvings for the Haitians. That way they can get nourishment and water at the same time. And I’m sure that Carnival would be able to arrange an excursion to visit an earthquake-ravaged village (only a $100 or so more) so that their ‘customers’ (or whatever they call the people paying thousands to ride around on a big boat for a few days) can get a ‘taste’ of what the disaster is all about…take pictures…maybe even hand out some of the cruise-provided water.

I’m reminded of a Haiku I heard some years back:

None noticed the smell,
Walking to church in the snow.
Burgers of Dachau.

Leave it to this guy Kyle to come down on the side of ‘a profit deal’. Folks, no matter how you rationalize it, this sucks…it looks sucky, it feels sucky and it is sucky.

Jon

January 19th, 2010
10:57 am

Dear Joan. Please do not breed for the sake of humanity.

LeeH1

January 19th, 2010
11:08 am

The French don’t like what we are doing in Haiti, either. They have 70,000 Haitians living in France- we have two million immigrants living in the US. Perhaps France would take 1,930,000 refugees to France as refugee immigrants. This would relieve the overcrowding in Haiti, allow for a good education and life for the refugees, and make everyone happy.

And give another ethnic group to compete with the North African immigrants for government handouts, money and special treatment.

And Royal Caribbean can get the contract to ship all the refugees to France. Then everyone will be happy. ;-)

Horrible Horrace

January 19th, 2010
11:17 am

JF McNamara

January 19th, 2010
10:20 am

I agree with Joan because she is correct. None of this fluff and circumstance garbage.

Algonquin J. Calhoun

January 19th, 2010
11:17 am

Pretty damn ridiculous to be parading around in fine clothes and eating great food while the people of that nation have no food and are dressed in dirty rags! Only Republicans would accept this as an appropriate thing to do!

Gerald West

January 19th, 2010
11:19 am

Good article, Kyle! You’re at your best when you don’t whine. As the comments show, any praise, suggestion, or idea you come up with will be ridiculed and opposed by many readers.

Isn’t that why Americans can’t get anthing done? Our economy is in the tank and unlikely to climb out, our trade balance has been a disaster for 30 years because we can’t produce things we and the rest of the world want, and our privileged, wealthy citizens put their millions in bogus financial instruments instead of investing in American commerce and industry.

Could we pack all the soreheads into cruise ships and send them on a one-way voyage to Haiti?

Cutty

January 19th, 2010
11:40 am

I was all with Wingfield until I looked at a map of Haiti, and saw that Labadee is nowhere near the earthquake zone, or near Port-au-Prince. If Carnival did want to be a good neighbor, and really help out the people of that country, they would use at least one of their cruiseliners to assist in housing volunteers or those who have lost everything for a period of time. This decision just makes them oblivious to what is going to the rest of the country in the name of profits.

GOPis Gone

January 19th, 2010
11:50 am

How can one begin to fathom the ignorance that is Joan and et al? It is OK to keep up life support on a brain dead, Christian White American forever, but because the majority of Haitians are poor, uneducated and Black, let them die. They must be lazy, or else they would not be poor.

I would venture to guess that this lovely lady has never even driven by a slum in this country, much less exposed her delicate sensitivities to a third world country like Haiti.

Well Joan, I have been to Haiti and you know nothing of which you speak woman. Just day to day survival takes a lot more than being lazy. Tending to livestock, walking down to the river for water to drink, bath, cook and wash in, working any job available on top of those chores of just existing in that country, makes one work much harder than most Americans, including me and you Joan. Even though their home were made of tin, lumber scraps or cinder blocks with a compacted dirt floor, those women swept up all the time. Their children were always clean and their clothes washed. Let’s not forget they have no running water or electricity, thus the walk to the river to stay clean. No convenient machine to toss the clothes in like us. I believe the average Haitian would consider Americans lazy and spoiled Joan. And if they were unfortunate enough to meet you, ignorant as well.

dylandawg

January 19th, 2010
12:15 pm

Why is Joan’s comment still posted? Isn’t there an ignorance filter?

Kyle's a Cherry Picker

January 19th, 2010
12:47 pm

Hi Kyle,

This is a non issue in a literal sea of real issues.

See if you can come up with a column in the next little bit about the impact of lax/non-existent building standards on the citizens of Haiti?

Would they have been better off if, over the last few decades, the government had imposed tougher building codes? Or are they better off for having allowed things evolve relative to local market conditions? It’s a tough call…they can’t really afford better buildings, but better buildings would have saved a bunch of lives.

So the bottom line here, for your general line of discussion, is can private markets accomodate excess/inefficiency as a means of protection against unpredictable events?

There’s your debate.

Joan

January 19th, 2010
12:48 pm

Hey guys, reality sucks. But it is still reality. Where is the error in what I said? Political correctness doesn’t make black white. And I was raised in a lower income family, made good grades, and got got jobs and got the heck out of that situation. It must be nice to live in la la land, where everything is sweetness and light–except if you believe that, you are blind.

Jon

January 19th, 2010
1:06 pm

Joan. Good for you made it out of a tough situation. That doesn’t mean everyone in the world has the same OPPORTUNITY to do the same. That’s why America is the greatest country on the planet, the OPPORTUNITY to make something of yourself is here no matter what your background. If you really believe that everyone there is lazy and not trying then you really have a lot left to see in this world. Good luck being you!

Cutty

January 19th, 2010
1:13 pm

Why are you all even commenting on Joan’s post? She’s an idiot, period. She groups an entire nation into being uneducated and lazy. She has no knowledge of the U.S occupation of that nation for decades, or of the coups that have happened there the last twenty years. She knows not what she speaks, therefore, she is an idiot.

JF McNamara

January 19th, 2010
1:16 pm

Joan,

I wasn’t being politically correct. I was speaking plainly. The simple fact of the matter is that you stereotyped everyone in a country that you’ve probably never been to. Being in the United States is a huge advantage. That’s why people will risk dying to walk across the Mexican desert or get on a flotilla from Haiti or Cuba just to get here. Being in the U.S. is like being born a millionaire in Haiti.

You’re the one living in la la land. You think everyone grew up in the same situation and had the same experiences you did. That’s what has led to your short sighted, unempathetic, and idiotic point of view.

The reality is that they were born in a dirt poor country with limited educational opportunities for most of the populace and an average income of $1500. If you were born in that scenario and were born poor, you would have probably dropped out and got a job to pay for you existence instead of:

“make good grades, and got got jobs and got the heck out of that situation”

Its likely you wouldn’t have even finished high school since only around 30% even make it to 6th grade. That’s reality for them. You’re right. It does suck.

GOPis Gone

January 19th, 2010
1:46 pm

Actually Joan’s chances of just surviving to adulthood would be much lower in Haiti than in America. Where is the error in what you said? You are far to ignorant to try to enlighten.

Crenshaw8

January 19th, 2010
2:12 pm

ACORN’S Wade Rathke thinks squatting is good for Haitians.

Squatting is a hard way to live and requires hard work to survive, but removing the extralegal restraints and immediately supporting with raw building materials, potable water, and electricity in the Haitian climate could be a workable solution with a real partnership between people and the rebuilding resources.

Lowering standards is what keeps ACORN alive. Keeping standards low is what ACORN calls progress. Collectivism at its worst. Let us all come together and squat.

Davo

January 19th, 2010
2:19 pm

Teachable moment?

http://www.survivalblog.com/2010/01/america_is_more_like_haiti_tha.html

Don’t click if your a liberal; the common sense will cause your head to explode.

Archie

January 19th, 2010
3:32 pm

Let’s hear Crenshaw’s solution. I know, we could send in Blackwater and build a new Embassy. No bid contracts to boot.

neo-Carlinist

January 19th, 2010
3:57 pm

Davo, interesting link, if not a bit cliche’. first off, seems to me that those who are aware of the situation and have “prepared” need not educate or inform the unwashed masses, lest they are prepared to pay more for the aforementioned “bullets, beans and band-aids” (the price of ammo has spiked since Katrina). secondly, when/if the “Schumer” hits the fan, the government will respond as it has in Haiti (82nd Airborne, “security” first), which means, unless you are hunkered down in some remote location, you’re gonna be taking orders from the big green machine, and not your own “Christian” values. which brings me to #3, Mr. Rawles (kinda) had me until he tried to connect “Christian values” with human behavior. In my humble opinion, it is not the erosion of Christian values, so much as it is the governemnt’s sellective employment of Christian values as justification for behaving in an un-Christian manner, which creates the possibility of chaos, anarchy and social collapse.

Churchill's MOM

January 19th, 2010
4:15 pm

Where are we going to borrow the money from? I think we should cut federal waste by a few billion, fat chance of that happening.

Rhett

January 19th, 2010
5:20 pm

I’m an American (Black, African-American, whatever you want to call it, but born and raised in America so just consider myself American). I think there’s a balance to everything.

I truly want to give to the Haitian efforts, but have concerns about where the money and supplies will go. Who will oversee distribution? We can pour the funds in, but will the people we’re trying to help, wind up in the same conditions one or two years from now.

I was okay with the ships docking & tourists spending their money until I just read the Yahoo article relaying it as tourists frolicking on the beaches, and drinking and partying while only a short distance from all the devastation and bodies still under buildings. Sounds pretty ruthless when you put it like that. But just so the truth is told, the passengers say they were shocked when they docked there.

Question: can any of the [empty] cruise ships dock for a month and give some of these homeless people a place to live? It’s a difference when you have the option of staying in a shelter after a disaster, but most of their buildings are unusable right now. I know the military sent floating hospitals.

Also, why put President Clinton on the relief force? If I remember correctly, it was him who said Haitians cannot enter the U.S. Even if they made it to dry land like the Cubans and other refugees, they would be detained and returned to their country (and they were…in massive droves). And President Bush? I have a lot of respect for DubYa, but isn’t he the one who sat back and let all the Blacks and poor people drown in Katrina? (I know the Black mayor is the first person to blame and I blame him deeply. Then, the white female governor; and I blame her, too…with a great deal of disrespect because I’m also a woman. But when DubYa got the news, he was very very slow to respond. Unlike his quick response to 9/11…and we all know not many Blacks and very few poor people worked in the Towers. (Still my condolences to the families.)). Although I support President Obama, I will not be donating through this presidential fund.

joe taxpayer

January 19th, 2010
10:26 pm

Take there jobs from them that will help the people who are suffering from the earthquake. I am so tired of this fake emiontial outrage that accomplishes nothing. UPS and there pilots are flying there for free and donating over 1 million dollars. Capitialism will save and rebuild that island nation.

Michael H. Smith

January 19th, 2010
10:33 pm

Which is worse as Teddy Roosevelt questioned, softness of heart or hardness of head, Rett.
I’m certainly no Obama fan, however, he said it right and said all that needed saying in giving enormous emergency aid to Haiti: It’s who we are, it’s what we do.

So to all the American haters, all the America loathers and all who feel inclined to monger guilt for the prosperity of this country in the face of others disparity and devastation: Just be glad of who we are and what we do, for few if any in this world have yet shown themselves to be our equal in this regard. Whether one of us is a Clinton or a Bush, it is in these moments, these times, we unite as one America as one American: It’s who we are, it’s what we do.

While in our own country there is disparity and devastation a plenty to go around, albeit we as a people, as a nation of one, preserver in self sacrifice to respond immediately to others more desperately in need of help, as a friend, as a neighbor, as to a fellow human being mercilessly caught in peril of providence, as the ones seen favored by it’s blessing: For this is who we are and that is what we do.

Perhaps this is not enough; others may feel still more needs be done. Then do, don’t condemn what has not been done by whomever for whatever reason. For we as Americans have all given and shall no doubt give more again. It’s who we are, it’s what we do.

Karen

January 19th, 2010
11:25 pm

Some of these comments are a disgrace to America!! I have traveled the world and seen poor people. They are not just in Haiti, but every country of the world. In my opinion, most poor, uneducated people in other countries are not lazy! They struggle for their daily survival – seeking pitiful small, very low paying jobs, frugally living, yet happy! Survival has replaced the opportunity for education. Their home may be of tin, cardboard and sc raps, but they are proud and they love their families as much or more than American’s do. Only in America do we have two classes of poor – THE LAZY, and the hard-working. The Haitians are accepting aid from other countries because without help, they will NEVER survive.

I think Royal Caribbean made the right choice. Yes, a select few have the opportunity to be employed and continue to serve the needs of tourists. I’m sure they too have loved ones lost, homeless and dealing with the disaster. The sense of family is very strong. Undoubtly they are helping and the employment they are receiving during this disaser is being directly used to support and help their families and fellow countryman.

Royal Caribbean is never going to put their passengers or crew in an area that is unsafe or dangerous. They have too much invested in the quality of cruises, advertising, and their employees. And to the rude person who thought they’d be charging $100 or an excursion – get real! If i was on that cruise ship, I would probably donate a bunch of things I had – clothes, toothpaste, toiletries, clothes, shoes, etc.. to help those on the mainland. Chances are there are professionals on that ship that might want to take their “excursion” to help out in the hospitals, building, etc….for the day. Let people choose how they’d spend their day. So even basking on the beach would be disgraceful??…. what about the rest of us. We most likely enjoyed meals, clean clothes, fresh water. And for sure you have had some elecricity in the past 24 hours if you computer is charged and running.

And Joan’s insult to West Africans being lazy???? My neighbors are from West Africa and they are anything but lazy. I’m glad they are my neighbors! They are well educated, quickly learned English, and are generous supporters of the needy and community activities.

Keep it up Royal Caribbean!

GOPis Gone

January 20th, 2010
7:45 am

Rhett,

I think you can safely give to the Catholic Relief fund in Haiti. I have been there and seen the good work they do, and have been doing for years in Haiti. Just in the town where I worked a Medical Mission, the donations from Catholic Relief had built a school and a clinic for the public. In these smaller towns in Haiti the Bishop functions as a leader as much if not more so than the elected officials. Most of the Priests I came in contact with were Haitian, however I did meet some ex-patriot Americans down there also. I recall one in particular who had lived in Haiti for over 30 years. He took the long, over land route just to visit with us and speak English with a few Americans for awhile. The roads have been traditionally bad down in Haiti. It is no wonder things are even more difficult now to get out supplies. A trip of about 60 miles can take hours, on bumpy, washed out roads.
Although I do not consider myself Catholic any longer, I do recognize the great work they do. I am sure you have noticed by the news reports that Haitians are a very religious group of people. Amazing that they continue with their high optimism and beliefs in such a demolished country.