CocoCay to have 400 Bahamian employees by year’s end
By the end of the year, “Perfect Day at CocoCay”, the $250 million Royal Caribbean International (RCI) development just off Great Harbour Cay, the Berry Islands, is expected to have 400 Bahamians employed, according to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.
Minnis led a delegation to the island on Friday for the official opening of the property.
The island getaway, which is only open to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line passengers, features the tallest water slide in North America, the largest wave pool in the Caribbean, a fresh water pool, a helium balloon that takes you 450 feet in the sky, a zip line, white sandy beaches and more.
“I am pleased that RCI has pledged to have 400 Bahamians in its employment by the end of 2019,” said Minnis, following a tour of the island.
“Currently, there are approximately 150 Bahamians employed here. Further, RCI has offered approximately 220 aboard ship positions to Bahamians.”
The development has recently been dubbed the number one destination for Royal Caribbean globally, according to RCI President and CEO Michael Bayley.
“We go to 270 destinations around the world and it’s not us saying it, our guests rate every single destination and it’s now the number one destination. So, we’re obviously really proud and I hope you are proud as well,” said Bayley, as he gave remarks during the opening ceremony.
“…Before we began this project there were maybe 50 to 75 Bahamians working here, and today thanks to the partnership with the National Training [Agency], we’ve increased that number to just shy of 200.
“We’ve been working very closely with the NTA to develop a curriculum to provide a variety of job skills.
“We’ve provided laptops for the computer labs and we’ve hosted a series of job fairs to fill positions not only here at Perfect Day, but also Grand Bahama Shipyard and, of course, on our ships around the world.”
Bayley said the company currently employs close to 1,000 Bahamians both shipboard and shoreside.
Of the 4.5 million cruise passengers that visit The Bahamas annually, 20 percent are delivered by RCI cruise ships.
Minnis said the company projects an increase in passengers to two million annually by 2020.
On Friday, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar also urged Bahamians to take advantage of the employment and entrepreneurial opportunities the company has to offer.
“We are pressing upon [RCI], first of all, they [have] to hire a lot of Bahamians on these islands, and from what I can tell there are a lot of positions available for Bahamians, so Bahamians need to apply,” he said.
“I saw a lot of non-Bahamian employees on this island, and, so, obviously there are a lot of opportunities for Bahamians but they need to apply and get trained.
“There are a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities as well, so Bahamians need to rise up so we can get a greater share of the economic pie from these types of projects in The Bahamas.
“It’s very important that we follow right through instead of just getting a job.”