ACTING prime minister Colm Imbert is happy that 2,000 citizens were able to get jobs with Royal Caribbean International.
He expressed his joy while responding to questions from the Opposition in the House of Representatives on Monday.
Imbert observed that a question from Naparima MP Rodney Charles on this matter contained some exaggerations.
"It is my information, I have been so advised, that just over 4,000 persons showed up seeking, 2,000 job opportunities (with Royal Caribbean)."
He said Charles's claim that Royal Caribbean's recruitment drive was "heavily and massively oversubscribed" was wrong.
"That is not unusual, that if jobs are available, that twice the (number) of persons seeking the job opportunities would apply for the jobs."
He congratulated the Tourism, Culture and the Arts Ministry "for making these opportunities available to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago."
The cruise tourism industry was one of the first casualties of the covid19 pandemic when it began in 2020. The pandemic also made it difficult for new applicants to seek jobs in the industry.
Imbert said, "This is an industry where persons have been out of work for quite a while.
"These are good jobs. They are foreign-exchange-earning jobs. There is consistent and tremendous training within this employment opportunity."
As acting prime minister, Imbert was happy that "2,000 of our citizens can now get access to these good jobs."
Charles insisted the recruitment drives were oversubscribed. He demanded Imbert give his personal opinion as to whether this would have happened in a more developed country.
Imbert replied, "From my 30-odd years' experience in this Parliament, it is improper to ask a (government) minister for his opinion."
He reiterated, "The use of the terminology 'massively oversubscribed' is incorrect. There were twice as many applicants as there were jobs."
Imbert also reiterated his congratulations to the ministry and the government.
On May 23, the ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with Royal Caribbean, for jobs for roughly 2,000 citizens on its cruise ships. They are eligible under 500 job titles in categories such as food and beverage management, culinary arts, guest service and guest relations, hotel management and entertainment.
Recruitment fairs were held last week in Port of Spain, San Fernando and Tobago.
At a post-Cabinet news conference on June 9, Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Randall Mitchell said he attended the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Summit in Puerto Rico from June 1-3, and learned: “A number of other cruise lines are interested in a labour force from TT, recognising internationally that we do have a high-quality labour force, so those are additional opportunities coming forward. They reached out to us at the conference."