National Focus

The journey begins for first 50 seafarers

by: Sharell Lockhart, News Reporter

Minister of Tourism Obediah Wilchcombe on Wednesday, March 4 addressed the first 50 seafarers on-board the MV Grand Celebration during an orientation exercise.

Hundreds of Grand Bahamians recently participated in the International Cruise Industry Job Fair held at the Grand Lucayan Resort, hoping to obtain a position on the cruise ship.

Thus far, only 50 seafarers have been selected and will undergo a rigorous training and vetting process before being employed as a member of the MV Grand Celebrationâ s crew.

Charles Kinnear, President of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, owners of Grand Celebration was the first to speak to the seafarers stating, "You all are about to embark upon a voyage that would lead you in a completely different direction than you ever expected to go, which can be absolutely wonderful.

" Just like any other voyage when you are looking down the road all can seem overwhelming but all you really need to do is take that first step.

" Before you know it you will come upon the next step and be well on your way to having a wonderful career.

" We are in partnership with The Bahamas Government and a lot of good people, who have decided to make your first step a bit easier by providing you with the necessary guidance on how to start that voyage.

" The cruise industry on the whole prides itself upon service and providing an experience for their passengers that cannot be had anywhere else.

" On this ship we provide value, great service and take pride in all we do because to us this is not just another job." 

Noting that on the vessel, the seafarers that would be employed must realize they would be embarking upon a great responsibility, Kinnear encouraged them to take the training seriously.

The safety of all the souls aboard (passengers) the MV Grand Celebration and making sure their vacation special is the crewâ s top priority.

" So as you go through your training by making the decision to take your first step please pay careful attention to it, as this job is very important and not a task or something to hurry up and get out of the way or through.

" Everyday the crew on this vessel get up, work 14-16 hours a day, do drills, which is all about providing that experience and making sure everyone is safe and that is a big responsibility.

" Please take advantage of this opportunity, make your country and family proud and join our family, as I am sure you would not regret it,"  said Kinnear.

Before addressing the seafarers Minister Wilchcombe thanked Kinnear, James Verrillo and George Zeitler Grand Celebration owner and marine operations vice president respectively, for the work they have done and continue to do for The Bahamas in spite of many challenges said, â We all must appreciate that during the roughest times that we have had in decades, your company stayed with us.

" You never abandoned us during the Recession in fact, you kept on bringing visitors to our shores and doing everything necessary to keep our economy moving in spite of the fact that things are very challenging.

" So for it all I say thank you, thank you for the doggone good job."

The Tourism chief also noted that the opportunity the Bahamas Government saw when discussing the possibilities of a brand-new vessel with Kinnear, Verrillo and Zeitler coming to Grand Bahama involved seeing opportunities for Bahamians to have their first chance of being involved in the cruise industry has opened the door to great prospects.

He too encouraged the seafarers to not only embrace the opportunity set before them, but also prove all doubters wrong and do their country proud.

" All of you, who sit in this room today represent a new day, as you are pioneers and would determine where we go from here, whether or not other Bahamians would be given this same opportunity and if the industry begins to change.

" The truth is the cruise industry has been tremendous to The Bahamas as we welcome more than 4 million cruise passengers to the country each year and no one else in the Caribbean has accomplished this.

" And if we continue to see cruise vessels coming to our nation, which includes the biggest and luxurious all because of what God gave us, we sure would carry on being blessed.

" The blessings of our God we are suppose to enhance not taking them for granted or looking in disbelief saying, 'oh this is never going to happen' but instead work to cause it to happen.

" And we are never suppose to ignore the opportunities or when we are given that first step not taking advantage of it,"  Minister Wilchcombe admonished.

All dreams should be realized through hard work and dedication and according to Minister Wilchcombe, if the seafarers simply want a job or are looking for a paycheck, then they are in the wrong place.

However, if they want a career, then their dreams can be realized because they were right where they should be.

He encouraged them to put their heart and soul into everything that they do and challenged them to want to serve for in serving they would receive joy, have their own life and others would appreciate their qualities and the talents God gave them.

" Each one of us has a talent and many of us hide it and are afraid to use them, stand up, show the world what we have, go the extra mile and work hard.

" The Bible admonishes us that if we do not use our gifts and talents we would surely lose them and all of you have talent.

" I know for a fact you would not have been chosen to be in this room today if you did not.

" As Bahamians we must grow with the knowledge and appreciation of the fact that we can be the best, all we simply have to do is just do it.

" We can be the best in anything and everything at all times and examples of this are Bahamian Rhodes Scholars Desiree Cox, Christian Campbell and Myron Rolle, NBA stars Mychael Thompson and Rick Fox, NFL players Geno Smith and Dâ Brickashaw Ferguson, Tony Award-winner Bert Williams, Oscar Award-winner Sir Sidney Poitier and all our Olympian medalists, who prove it does not matter how you star but your determination to finish.

" All of you have this wonderful opportunity, look at where you can start, what you are going to do and everyone should know that you are a Bahamian not because you say it, but because they see it in your attitude, determination, pride, dignity and quality of being a human being,"  he said.

The Tourism chief revealed The Bahamas depends on the throes of the cruise industry and should the seafarers be employed aboard the MV Grand Celebration, they cannot come not appreciating that they are going to be the best.

" So go and do your best, make yourselves proud, your families proud, your nation proud showcasing that yes it is indeed, 'Better in The Bahamas,'  Minister Wilchcombe concluded.



Published  Thursday, March 5, 2015


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