Beginning June 5, 10,000 Jamaicans will be recruited to work on cruise ships overseas, says Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett.
Bartlett, who was speaking to reporters following a function at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on May 27, said the massive recruitment drive comes at a time when the cruise sector and tourism, by extension, are showing signs of growth and is a telling indicator that Jamaican workers are viewed positively on the global stage.
“This is a very big deal and a sign that cruise shipping is back,” the Minister argued.
“The cruise lines can recruit anywhere, and to express a commitment to hiring 10,000 of our countrymen and countrywomen is a sure sign of the confidence they have in our workers. We are talking about chefs, bellboys, room attendants… seafarers in general… just about in any department,” he added.
The Minister pointed out that recruiting will be handled by the operators of the cruise lines, and Jamaicans only need to have a clean police record and a clean bill of health.
“Scores of Jamaicans have been working on the major cruise lines… travelling all over the world for decades. Our workers have distinguished themselves in every department imaginable, and the cruise owners have taken notice. The best is yet to come because as soon as the cruise sector opens up more, you will see more of our people being recruited,” he said.
Bartlett said that in recent discussions with cruise officials, Jamaica continues to be a first-choice country as it relates to hiring workers, adding that “our work ethic and iconic stature are well known and will always give us that preferential edge anywhere in this region”.
Most of the major cruise lines have recently been on a global recruitment drive for workers, with Jamaica, based on numbers, being one of the highest on their list.
This is not surprising, considering that scores of workers have, for decades, been plying their trade on board mega liners owned by Carnival and Royal Caribbean, from which they have contributed immensely to Jamaica’s economy.
Bartlett said the fact that these workers have made such significant contributions over the years to their country of birth would automatically qualify them for the newly formed pension schemes for tourism workers.
They have, for years, been making significant contributions by way of remittances. They have been sending back much-needed foreign exchange into the local economy and have been the source of stability for many families,” he added.