Preliminary discussions and arrangements are being made with a number of renowned cruise lines to facilitate employment for qualified and interested Virgin Islanders.
The opportunity to work internationally within the cruise industry was mentioned by Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie over the last two weeks during many House of Assembly sittings. However, Hon. Fahie was sparing in the details about the initiative.
On Wednesday 14 August the Premier disclosed much more about the initiative. He stated that the initiative is moving beyond talks with cruise ship representatives planning to visit the Territory in September to explore training options.
In noting that the prospect of employment within the cruise ship industry would be a lucrative opportunity for Virgin Islanders Hon. Fahie said: “When I announced that we were trying to get some employment on the cruise ships it was said in a vein that that’s just one option. We know that all our people wouldn’t want to work on a ship but if the option is there; if the opportunity is there that’s what we will try to do and in terms of that angle we have spoken with all the cruise lines and all of them agree.”
The Premier noted that certain legal structures would need to be put in place to facilitate this employment option and that the Attorney General’s Chambers was already concentrating on the task: “We are now working on a legislation that they want us to have in place. We are in the middle of trying to agree on that legislation to get it to be agreed upon and finalized by the Attorney General who has done a good job with it,” Hon. Fahie mentioned.
At the time of the disclosure Hon. Fahie was speaking at the launch of the ‘Back to the Sea’ program which seeks to prepare Virgin Islanders to benefit from employment within the marine sector. Premier Fahie noted that some of the training would be applicable for those wishing to work on cruiseships. “What we want to do is we really want to see all our people certified and qualified and we want to make sure that all our people have an opportunity to get a job,” the Premier noted.
Next week the Government intends to launch its ‘1000 Jobs, in 1000 Days’ initiative which is an employment initiative that is geared for Virgin Islanders. The Premier said that even in this area the cruise lines mentioned that they can assist.
“The cruise ship industry when we told them that we were doing 1000 jobs in 1000 days they smiled. They said look we need 6500 we could swallow your 1000 people in one gulp if all of them want to work on ships,” the Premier said.
In addition to noting that the opportunity to work on the cruise ships would be lucrative Hon. Fahie also explained that the option to work on the cruise ship was multifaceted and extended to all levels. “It is not just certain jobs in certain stores. We are talking all the way up to be the captain,” he said.
The Premier also disclosed that the cruise ships are open to exploring training options and promised to discuss this offer during the September visit.