The Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) has responded to a St. Lucia News Online (SNO) report about the slow pace of loan disbursements for cruise ship employment, assuring that students will be provided with loans in due time.
In a statement, the bank said it is not responsible for any “perceived delay in disbursements to students.”
“To date, the bank has interviewed several students who succeeded the training programme and have been selected for employment by the cruise lines. Those students who meet the programs lending criteria would be provided with loans upon the bank’s receipt of funds expected shortly from the government,” Manager of Business Development and Marketing/Corporate Secretary, Philbert Francis, said.
However, a number of students have expressed concern over the process to acquire a loan through the bank and is worried that they might have to forfeit their employment with a cruise ship in Miami.
The successful candidates are required to get a United States visa from Barbados and travel to Miami, Florida before November 29 to commence work.
Candidates are worried that their loans may not be granted fast enough, since they are not the only ones on the long list of people who have completed the training and have applied for loans.
Members of Parliament on Tuesday, August 12, approved funding for the cruise sector training and employment initiative. The loan was secured from the National Insurance Corporation (NIC), which is being administered by the SLDB.
Last year, 229 Saint Lucians were offered jobs in the cruise ship sector. This year, over 260 trained and qualified young people gained employment.