I am proud of what our people and our ships are doing and below John Weis gives some very specific examples of great contributions being made by great Royal Caribbean people and their family members
The ships going back to Labadee, including Navigator of the Seas today, are obviously making a very valuable contribution to the relief effort by offloading supplies at Labadee. The media understand this and generally have written and spoken about the relief effort in positive terms. But in the last 24 hours, sparked by an article in the Guardian in the UK, a different and more critical view has emerged that questions how our guests can justify having a good time in Labadee when there is such misery less than 100 miles away.
My view is this — it isn’t better to replace a visit to Labadee (or for that matter, to stay on the ship while it’s docked in Labadee) with a visit to another destination for a vacation. Why? Because being on the island and generating economic activity for the straw market vendors, the hair-braiders and our 230 employees helps with relief while being somewhere else does not help. These 500 people are going to need to support a much larger network of family and friends, including many who are in (or are missing in) the earthquake zone. Also, the north is going to bear a good part of the burden of the agony of the south, and the more economic support there is to the north, the better able the north will be to bear this burden. People enjoying themselves is what we do. People enjoying themselves in Labadee helps with relief. We support our guests who choose to help in this way which is consistent with our nearly 30 year history in Haiti.
The team has been working through this holiday weekend and has been in contact with several people on the ground in Port Au Prince so I wanted to focus this blog on the efforts that are taking place there. We have all come to appreciate the resilience of the Haitian people and I think its important to share with you some of the positive things that are happening on the ground that are being coordinated by regular people like you and I.
Maryse Kedar, the President SOLANO, which is our company in Haiti, is an incredible woman. Despite some of their own losses, her and her team have started organizing their own relief efforts in Petionville by coordinating a water distribution process. She obtained access to a large water truck and found a safe water source for consumption and has orchestrated the distribution of this critical resource.
Fritz Montlaifir who is the brother of our close colleague Martine Pasquet is working with businesses in Port Au Prince to organize all available trucks to carry supplies from Labadee to Port Au Prince. He is also using his hotel as a first aid station and a central point to distribute supplies.
Also we have received a flood of inquires from the Haitian community in the US and Florida asking how they can help and what they can do to coordinate relief efforts in partnership with Royal Caribbean.
These are the types of people that are going to make the difference and help in Haiti’s recovery over the long term.
Finally, I want to again ask for you support by donating to one of the charities we have partnered with. Cash donations to the Food for the Poor or PADF is still the best way to show your support. I encourage you to make a financial contribution at www.foodforthepoor.org/royalcaribbean. Again, no matter how small, every contribution counts towards helping Haiti through this horrendous time.