Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas will call at Labadee, Haiti, on Friday, stocked with relief supplies.
John Weis, RCCL's associate vice president of private destinations and overseer of Labadee operations, wrote on Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein's blog, "We are committed to continuing calls to Labadee with Independence of the Seas tomorrow. There were a lot of discussions about this, but in the end, Labadee is critical to Haiti’s recovery and hundreds of people rely on Labadee for their livelihood."
Weis said that the U.N. Special Envoy of the Government of Haiti, Leslie Voltaire, said that Haiti would benefit from the revenue generated from the call, "which is critical to their recovery."
"We also have tremendous opportunities to use our ships as transport vessels for relief supplies and personnel to Haiti," Weis said. "Simply put, we cannot abandon Haiti now that they need us most."
The Independence will carry relief supplies to Labadee tomorrow, and the line plans to send additional relief on the Navigator of the Seas and the Liberty of the Seas on Monday and Tuesday of next week.
"This effort is going to be a marathon, so we will be partnering with Food for the Poor on the back-end distribution in Haiti," Weis wrote.
Goldstein was in New York today, meeting with former President Bill Clinton to discuss the disaster response.
Goldstein said on his blog that the meeting was planned a while ago, and was originally to have been about economic progress and investment in Haiti. Prime Minster Jean-Max Bellerive originally was going to be in attendance.
"When I was on Governor Bush’s Haiti Advisory Group about four years ago, we identified disaster response as one of the top three priorities for rehabilitating the country," he wrote.
"There have been several disasters since that unfortunately reinforced the priority. But no one ever imagined a disaster like this."