Several Tobagonians who hoped to get jobs offered by the Royal Caribbean Group international cruise line were disappointed on Thursday on learning they had to be vaccinated against covid19 to be considered.
A young man from Mason Hall told Newsday, “I registered online but I didn’t recall seeing anything about being vaccinated, and now I am being told that I have to be vaccinated if I have any chance of being accepted."
He said he intends to take the vaccine because he desperately needs work.
“During the height of the pandemic, I did not want to take the vaccine. But I have been out of work for so long, I owe it to myself to try something.”
He is hoping he gets accepted.
“It will be hard if I take the vaccine and still don’t get through.”
A few others, who also were unvaccinated, expressed similar concerns.
On Thursday, scores of people, mostly between the ages of 18-35, turned out to the Shaw Park Cultural Complex hoping to get jobs with the cruise line.
Tobago’s recruitment drive for jobs, which include culinary arts, hotel management, entertainment and guest service and relations, came after similar exercises at the National Academy for the Performing Arts and Southern Academy for the Performing Arts on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
Applicants, many of whom carried large brown envelopes with their documents, arrived at the complex around 6.30pm hoping for an early interview.
Many sat on the steps leading to the complex while others stood on the pavement.
The interviews, which began around 9 am, were held in an area beyond the facility’s main entrance.
Vaccinated applicants who registered online were asked to line up outside the main entrance. Those who were unvaccinated sat under a large white tent in the courtyard.
Police ensured the process was smooth, in keeping with covid19 health protocols.
A woman who heard about the cruise ship opportunity on the news said she "ran away" from work “just to try my luck.”
She said although she is currently employed, “I want betterment for myself like everybody else.
“Look, all I have is my passport but I keeping meh fingers crossed.”
Another young woman, who lives in Bon Accord, said although work on a cruise ship is difficult, she is willing to make the effort. The 25-year-old woman, who worked in the hospitality sector, said she has been unemployed since the start of the covid19 pandemic over two years ago.
“Anything will be better than this right now,” she said.
The woman said although she had received the salary relief grant, it was still difficult to make ends meet.
“So I am hoping that something good will come of this. I don’t have any children yet, so now is the time to make my move.”
She said given her years of experience in the sector, she is certain she could excel in any position.
“Cruise ship is about people and hospitality, so I would be a good fit.”
A 26-year-old man from Bethel told Newsday he has never been away from Tobago and felt a job on a cruise ship would be a great opportunity to experience different cultures.
The man, a welder by trade, said while Tobago will always be his home, “I welcome the chance to work out there and meet new people.”