The world has understood with intense clarity that the earthquake in Haiti is an event of enormous magnitude requiring a global outpouring of assistance. Initial fund-raising efforts appear to be very successful. The crucial variable is the organization of the relief effort and the ability to get supplies to the people in need. The Royal Caribbean community is touched in many ways by this crisis. One of the primary impacts is on our Crown & Anchor Society members many of whom have been to Labadee and have interacted with our Haitian employees either onboard or at the site. I asked Betsy O’Rourke, our Senior VP, Marketing, to share some thoughts at this juncture and here is what she wrote:
It has been truly gratifying to hear from so many loyal to Royal Crown & Anchor members as the tragedy in Haiti has unfolded. These wonderful people have contacted us with so many well intended ideas for how to help, looking for us to facilitate the delivery of goods and services to those in desperate need. Adam’s involvement with former President Clinton on the economic development of Haiti has been instrumental in Royal Caribbean’s quick response to the crisis. Yesterday our first ship delivered much needed supplies as Independence of the Seas called on Labadee. While we are very fortunate to be able to help in this way, please remember President Clinton’s strong advice to well-intentioned individual donors – please make cash contributions to reputable charities rather than individually attempting to provide supplies.
There are some who are criticizing us for continuing to call on Labadee with vacationing guests knowing that less than a hundred miles away people are suffering. We gave a lot of thought to that very question, is it appropriate for us to continue business as usual at this destination? We reached out to Leslie Voltaire, Haiti’s liaison to President Clinton and someone who has known and worked with us for more than 10 years in different minister-level positions in the Haitian government. Mr. Voltaire fully supported the continuation of our ship calls. He said there must be both rescue and recovery and the economic benefit of our ship calls is part of recovery. It reminded me of Mayor Rudy Giuliani after the 9/11 crisis in New York City going on national television over and over again begging people to come to the city if they really wanted to help so that the economy would rebuild as quickly as possible.
So while we recognize that it may seem insensitive to some to have our guests enjoying the beautiful waters and beaches on one side of the island while there is misery on the other side, we know that by continuing to bring our ships to the island, we will not only be delivering much needed supplies, but we will be continuing to contribute to the overall economic well being of the country as we have for almost 30 years now. I am really proud of our Crown & Anchor members for their encouragement and support of Royal Caribbean’s leadership in aid to Haiti, a country which so many of us have enjoyed first-hand.
Interested in helping? Royal Caribbean International is working with Food For The Poor and the Pan American Development Foundation. We encourage guests to make monetary donations to either of these organizations which are currently engaged in the relief effort. For even more information on Royal Caribbean’s humanitarian relief to Haiti, click HERE.