Gloomy prospects for cruise-ship applicants at SAPA

HUNDREDS of people set out in rainy weather for the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) in San Fernando on Wednesday to apply for jobs being offered by the Royal Caribbean Group International cruise line.

Many left disappointed.

People lined up along pavements outside SAPA waiting to enter. When the rain began, they ran for cover inside SAPA’s compound.

Those who could not find shelter outside the main building huddled under nearby tents normally used to shelter people who come to SAPA for covid19 vaccines.

SAPA officials sought to maintain order. One told the crowd, “Let us not get into any unnecessary antics, please.”

Those waiting were told that because of covid19 protocols, only a certain number of people would be allowed inside the building at any one time. Sheets of paper were subsequently handed out to people waiting outside.

A woman said, “All they want is your address and a phone number.”

A second woman said, “That not sounding so good.”

A man named Adrian was not pleased at being told to leave his name, phone number and e-mail address, saying: “I was here since 4 am. I am very disappointed.” .

Ansel Ragoobar said, “I hoped I could get through today, but this is madness out here.”

San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello was at SAPA to witness the events, and commented, “I want to give commendation to the Ministry (of Tourism, Culture and the Arts) for this initiative and for collaborating with Royal Caribbean in this exercise.”

Regrello was happy that people from South Trinidad could apply for jobs with Royal Caribbean.

“The greatest experience is to travel, to see other countries and other cultures.”

He was confident that successful applicants would adapt to the work ethic of Royal Caribbean and make Trinidad and Tobago proud of them.

He described the turnouts at SAPA and the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain on Tuesday as exceptional.

He believed some of the people who came to SAPA could be coming from as far south as Cedros or Mayaro.

“Our radius, our span, would be much more than the north. That is to be expected,”

Regrello did not know details of the application process being used by Royal Caribbean, saying only, “At the end of the day, it is what it is.”

He did not think the large turnout at SAPA and NAPA reflected high unemployment.

“I think there are two sides to it. I think it is more the opportunity to travel.”

While people around the world became unemployed because of the pandemic, Regrello said this did not mean there are no jobs in TT.

“While we are saying there is unemployment (in TT), foreigners are coming to Trinidad and getting employment. That is another side to the story.”

The Tourism Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding on May 23, with Royal Caribbean, for jobs for roughly 2,000 TT citizens on its cruise ships.

They would be eligible under 500 job titles in various categories, such as food and beverage management, culinary arts, guest service and guest relations, hotel management and entertainment.

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