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D'Aguilar Likely To Let Carnival Dock Here

Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar.

Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar.

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas will likely say “yes” to Carnival Cruise Lines stopping at its ports if sailing resumes on August 1 as planned, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.

Carnival Cruise Line announced plans yesterday to resume sailing in three months. These plans come despite the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention saying that cruise ship travel exacerbates the global spread of COVID-19.

“Right now I would say yes,” Mr D’Aguilar said when asked if The Bahamas would allow the cruise ships to dock here. “We don’t know what would happen in Florida in three months. We don’t know what will happen in The Bahamas in three months. We have to play it by ear and as we get closer to the intended date, we will make that call.”

Mr D’Aguilar said while no one can predict what will happen in the future, it is good to set a target date and work towards it.

“We would have to look at conditions on the ground here and also to see where these people would be coming from to see whether it’s a go,” Mr D’Aguilar explained. “We will evaluate that closer to the time, but right now, right here, I would say yes.

“There are two concerns that The Bahamas will have as it relates to foreign visitors returning to the country. The first concern is that foreigners that come here, don’t make us sick. The second concern is that we don’t make the foreign visitors that come here sick. We are working on the proper protocols to prevent all of this.”

At the start of the COVID-19 spread, many cruise lines experienced horrific incidents of being stuck at sea with both sick and healthy passengers and crew on board. Many nations, including The Bahamas, refused to let ships with COVID-19 positive or suspected cases dock and disembark. Most notably, the Diamond Princess had 712 COVID-19 positive passengers and crew on board.

In early March, as ports turned them away and many passengers fell ill, and amid reported pressure from the White House, major cruise liners announced a temporary halt on their operations.

Yesterday, Mr D’Aguilar said he is confident cruise companies will put the necessary measures in place to protect their passengers in light of the bad publicity they received at the height of the crisis.

“If we specifically zero in on the cruise industry, I am sure given the public relations nightmare cruise companies have recently experienced, they will be looking to address two issues,” Mr D’Aguilar continued.

“The first will be that if I am going on that ship, I am not going to get sick. And, the second concern is, God forbid if someone does get sick I don’t get stuck on that boat. There were so many stories and the public relations disaster of the Diamond Princess and all these other ships that were floating around with people who couldn’t get off. The cruise companies are going to have to do a heck of a lot to provide comfort to the traveling public by addressing those two issues.”

Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement that it is “committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the Covid-19 situation.”

The statement continued: “We are taking a measured approach, focusing our return to service on a select number of homeports where we have more significant operations that are easily accessible by car for the majority of our guests.”

Carnival said on August 1, three of its ships will cruise from Galveston, Texas; three others will sail from Miami and two ships will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida.

All other North American and Australian cruises will be canceled through August 31, Carnival said, and the company will use that time to “engage experts, government officials and stakeholders on additional protocols and procedures.”

Mr D’Aguilar said he suspects travellers will be more interested in short, quick cruises to test out the industry first. The Bahamas, he says lines up with that type of cruise out of Florida and once travellers have a negative COVID-19 test, he is counting on the, “robust team of Vernice Walkine, Mike Maura and Joy Jibrilu to see to it that we will be ready and all will go well.”

Comments

Clamshell 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I really have to wonder what sort of 70-IQ moron would get on a cruise ship less than 90 days from now. Maybe Carnival will be offering group rates for cretins.

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ISpeakFacts 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Not to mention, August is arguably the peak of Hurricane Season!!!

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B_I_D___ 4 months, 3 weeks ago

" really have to wonder what sort of 70-IQ moron would get on a cruise ship less than 90 days from now"...

Sadly, probably more than you can ever want to imagine.

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Clamshell 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Sadly, you’re prob’ly right. Dunning-Kruger Effect.

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joeblow 4 months, 3 weeks ago

The only thing we should be hearing right now is when he will tender his resignation too!

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DDK 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Good pay off Mr Minister: or should we say eejit? After all our country has been through and is continuing to go through?

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TalRussell 4 months, 3 weeks ago

This is what happens when a redshirt's plan already started to backfire even before first sailing gets underway all because of an obviously foolish attempt to redirect the heat away in a whole new direction when the flames are nearing too damn close your own ministerial office - by setting a whole new even if was unintentional fire to draw attention away from one's own involvement the debacle brewing over a plane's six passengers landing by switching the focus ahead to the month August, when the cruise ships will start using their short sailing runs to set their ships courses to power full steam ahead for the colony of 700 islands and cays aka the guinea pig of 700 islands and cays for virus medical research? Just can't make this shi# up. Just, can't. Nod once for yeah, Twice for no?

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ISpeakFacts 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Nodding for yes, well said TalRussell

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months, 3 weeks ago

THE Bahamas will likely say “yes” to Carnival Cruise Lines stopping at its ports if sailing resumes on August 1 as planned, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.

Carnival said that on August 1, three of its ships will cruise from Galveston, Texas; three others will sail from Miami and two ships will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Carnival would not have scheduled these August 1 cruises to the Bahamas and commenced accepting paid reservations from their passengers without first obtaining prior written confirmation from both Minnis and D'Aguilar that our country would accommodate the planned itinerary of each of these three ships.

It therefore seems Minnis and D'Aguilar have somehow managed to assume the Red China Virus will pose little if any threat to Bahamians by August 1, especially the more vulnerable elderly and those with existing medical conditions. But the CDC and WHO are on record as saying it is highly unlikely an effective vaccine will be developed and made available to the public before mid-2021 at the earliest. Accordingly, such early assurances given to Carnival by Minnis and D'Aguilar are much to pre-mature, in fact imprudent, having regard to the significant unknowns and uncertainties at this time.

Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean are behaving, not unexpectedly, as if they 'own' Minnis and D'Aguilar and therefore get to decide when our country should re-open its territorial waters and ports to their monstrous floating hotels and on what safety terms.

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ISpeakFacts 4 months, 3 weeks ago

LOL Mudda, this is the same country that had THOUSANDS of spring breakers in and out of the country daily via cruise ships and air planes during early March, arriving from well known Covid-19 hotspots

It seems Minnis wants to fully reopen the country by August 1st, right in time for the peak of the active 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

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TalRussell 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks to Trump and the USA's Federal Reserve Bank's intervention, Carnival's Miami-based company, may still yet manage to survive for the foreseeable future. Several of the major cruise companies will be forced into bankruptcy.
Carnival was a sponsor of Trump's NBC reality TV show The Apprentice

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Be rest assured, what happened here regarding the Fed Reserve's de facto bail-out of certain cruise line companies did not go unnoticed by Trump's base in the heartland of America. A lot of his supporters feel they've been betrayed by all of the debt he has allowed the US government to take on for the benefit of the fat cat owners of favoured US and foreign domiciled corporations. Trump's seeing a lot of anger from his base manifest itself in his latest poll results.

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DDK 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Those of us that keep harping on the 'Red China' effect seem oddly oblivious of the US of A effect. Perhaps we should be a wee bit less globally biased..... Wait for it.......🤣 ..

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concerned799 4 months, 3 weeks ago

So covid is highly contagious. Its spreads easily on cruise ships. Likely many people who would sail on August 1st would have it and not know of it. Hasn't this recent disaster with cruise ships been enough to tell everyone the industry is a health disaster?

Thousands still stuck aboard ships as workers as the industry has no real national regulation! We want to be a party to this?

https://www.theguardian.com/environme...">https://www.theguardian.com/environme...

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joeblow 4 months, 3 weeks ago

... we should be glad our waters have a chance to recover from them dumping their waste!

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regrolli 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Cruise lines did not benefit from any US government funds as most are domiciled outside the US.

If we and the world are not in a position to allow international travel including cruise travel, we will have a lot more to worry about than spreading COVID-19 to Bahamians or otherwise.

Everyone here needs to realize that what we are currently experiencing is going to pale in comparison to what we will all have to endure in the short to medium term.

People die; it is a sad but certain fact of life. So far 11 people against the tens of thousands of Bahamians that will suffer in the next months and years.

Economic lock down is no longer a viable proposition, nationally or globally.

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