By Caribbean News Now contributor
ST JOHNS, Antigua –The government of Antigua and Barbuda representatives, having had further dialogue with executives from Carnival corporation, fully understand and acknowledge the misunderstandings of the past. Both parties expressed their desire to maintain the relationship that has been in place for the last 30 years.
Minister of tourism, economic development and investments, Charles Fernandez stated, “The brands of Carnival Corporation have been partners with Antigua for many years and have contributed approximately US$48 million to the Antiguan economy over the past five years. Certainly, we appreciate and respect their desire to provide a great experience and value to their guests visiting Antigua.
Meanwhile, to date, the government of Antigua and Barbuda has invested capital of more than US$110 million in cruise facilities and other upgrades beyond the port related to a great cruise experience. Further upgrades to be invested will bring the total capital investment to over half a billion EC dollars or US$200 million. This will create the basis for more cruise visitors as well as opportunities and added jobs for our people.”
At the conclusion of the meetings, both parties agreed to an arrangement that provides a foundation for Carnival to continue to operate in Antigua for many more years to come. While some calls were rescheduled, other calls that were being considered for cancellation will now call as planned and both parties agreed to continue discussions on the possibility of having more summer calls. Further, it was agreed that berth reservations and scheduling will be made directly with the government or to an agent appointed by the government.
Carnival Corporation indicated that they are committed to continue their historic relationship with Antigua and Barbuda.
Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, commented that “We are extremely pleased to have come to an agreement with our very valued partner. We are looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship that will bring even greater prosperity to our people.”
Meanwhile, in an ironic twist, a federal judge has threatened to temporarily bar Carnival Corporation from docking its ships at any US ports, because it may have violated probation in a massive illegal dumping and cover-up case.
Carnival was ordered to pay a $40 million settlement — the largest of its kind — back in 2017 for illegally dumping oil-contaminated waste overboard, and falsifying official logs to conceal the discharges, on its Princess Cruise Line ships. As part of the settlement, Carnival was put on a five-year probation, requiring all Carnival cruise ship companies to put environmental compliance plans into place and undergo independent audits.
But court filings show as recently as September 2018, Carnival has been working around those audits, preparing ships just before the court-appointed monitor would arrive, to avoid any negative findings.
On Wednesday, US District Judge Patricia Seitz said she would make a decision about whether to revoke Carnival’s probation and punish the company at a hearing in June.