A delegation of the government of Puerto Rico traveled today to the city of Miami to attend a meeting with the chairman & CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., Richard D. Fain, and other high-ranking executives of the corporation.
As instructed by Gov. Wanda Vázquez, the public officials who will represent the island are Chief of Staff Zoé Laboy, Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) Executive Director Carla Campos, and the recently designated executive director to the Ports Authority (AP by its Spanish initials), Joel Pizá.
THE WEEKLY JOURNAL previously reported that the local government would hold a meeting with Royal Caribbean following reports that the cruise line would cancel and reduce a number of sailings come next summer.
The meeting intends to forward the discussion regarding concerns over the public-private partnership (p3) underway to set forth infrastructural improvements to the cruise ports in Old San Juan—a task that will be delegated to Global Ports Holding. Royal Caribbean was reportedly concerned over the p3, foreboding higher capital and loan costs.
“My public policy has been one of openness and dialogue. During the past year and a half, the PRTC has facilitated various meetings with the cruise lines, the AP, and the Public-Private Partnership Authority (P3) in which valuable input has been obtained to inform on the expansion and improvement process for the cruise ports,” the governor stated via press release.
Royal Caribbean asserted that the government had refused to answer their concerns, although a meeting was held last October with the leaders of various cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean. However, the cruise line reportedly wanted a one-on-one meeting.
After conflicting reports concerning future sailing cancellations and drops
Given the possibility of reduced sailings from and to Puerto Rico, the governor deemed necessary “a direct and individual dialogue with Royal.”
“We have maintained communication with Fain and his team during the past days, and I am very satisfied to have scheduled a meeting before the end of the week. I have let them know that we remain open to dialogue and that within the rigorous parameters established in Act 29-2009 (Public-Private Partnership Act), we will listen to their input so that this project—whose intention is to improve the conditions of our facilities for the welfare of the tourism sector—does not become an object of major differences,” Vázquez added in the missive.
The governor finished her statement thanking Royal Caribbean and the cruise industry as a whole for “the trust that they have placed in Puerto Rico as the primary cruise port in the Caribbean and, knowing the importance of working in alliance with he private sector, we reiterate our commitment to remain open to dialogue.”