Slow pace of loan disbursements for cruise ship employment causes panic

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Slow pace of loan disbursements for cruise ship employment causes panic

Successful candidates of government’s EC$3 million Cruise Ship Employment Initiative are worried that funding will not be made available soon enough to allow them to secure a job with a cruise ship in Miami.

Reports reaching St. Lucia News Online (SNO) indicates that a few successful candidates, who have applied for loans over a month ago, have not received any response from the bank.

This is despite the fact that a group of successful candidates are required to get a United States visa from Barbados and travel to Miami, Florida, before November 29, to commence working.

One of the successful applicants told SNO: “We are yet to have anything ready… looks like if this goes on like this, all of us will miss our date and forfeit our employment.”

The candidate, who requested anonymity, said she completed the course during the end of August and was referred to the bank to get a loan. Over 100 persons graduated with her. However, until now the bank has not been able to provide her with the loan.

She told SNO that she paid for her tuition and medical examinations, but was depending on the loan to cover her travel expenses. The successful candidate said she was told by a friend, who is currently employed with the same cruise ship, that the loans usually take a long period to process.

She was also told that it has the possibility of affecting her travel arrangements, especially in getting a reasonable flight to Miami. She was therefore advised to try and get a personal loan instead.

The successful candidate also told SNO that there are many persons in her batch, who don’t have money to even start processing their medical certificates. They are however hopeful that they will make it in time to get their US visas and be able to reach Miami to secure their spot on the cruise line.

Other persons have also come forward to say that they too have not received any response from the bank and are worried as to whether they too will get the loans in time to complete all the requirements necessary to travel.

However, an official of the St. Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) told SNO that while the students may be anxious about acquiring loans, it has to pass through a system. The banker emphasised that certain criteria must be met before the bank can provide that loan.

The SLDB official believes there is enough time for persons to acquire the loan. She said that students may take between four to five days to acquire a US visa in Barbados and after that they can start booking their flights to Miami, reiterating that the timeline is until November 29.

Another SLDB official explained the process in which these loans are distributed . The official said persons are first trained by the Spring Board Training and Development Centre.

Once successful, the candidates are usually referred to the SLDB where they apply for the loans. The bank would usually begin processing the loan right away.

The candidates can access up to EC$5,915, but this depends on how much they want to be loaned. It most times include monies for: tuition, a trip to Barbados and Miami, medical reports, a capitalized interest and bank fees.

However, the successful candidates are adamant that the time frame to acquire the funds is limited. The successful candidates said because they have been given a maximum of six weeks to confirm with the employers in Miami that they will take up the job offer, it makes it even more difficult.

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.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. From personal experience with SLDB I have to warn those persons waiting for their loans. Most Staff at SLDB have a laissez faire attitude; they are slow. Slow to process paperwork, slow to respond, slow- thinking. And I won't even start on their disgusting unprofessional attitudes. My experience with them has been a horrible one. I regret I took a loan with them. Their "system" is very much inefficient, they have no clue how to run the bank and how to identify and treat customers.They don't understand their "system" either. And not to mention the lack of communication among them. If you question 3 different people about the same issue, they all give 3 incohesive responses-just read the article above again.

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  2. I can understand that successful students are impatient however I am in a position to know that the loan approval process is moving forward and going through the appropriate channels of approval. Good luck to the successful students. Please represent your country with integrity and remember that patience is a virtue!

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  3. I spoke to the lady dealing with tht @ the bank and she said the the government hasn't released funds.........that's y its taking so much time.......so yes they're trying to help. But if u doing something, do it well

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  4. Really? 4 to 5 days to acquire a US visa? Seems the SLDB officer is a member of the visa appointment calendar committee. People, I speak from a place of knowledge when I say that processing takes at least 10 business days; unless ofcourse one is requesting an emergency appointment. That, however is dependent on whether or not there are any available dates in the appointment calendar to begin with. An applicant can only have access to the dates once the visa fee of USD160.00 has been made to the embassy.

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    • i totally agree there is the time factor not forgetting that its the peak season flights get more expensive and embassy gets flooded. we need the relevant people to step up and speed the process for us. November is not far away. we are anxiously waiting

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  5. If i can recall there are still persons who successfully completed the course and interviews and are still on the waiting list. My sister was offered a job since last year september after successfully completing the course at Monroe college and signing loan agreements
    She also attended an interview with the cruise line where they later contacted her to inform her that she was hired. However still to this date she is waiting to go to Barbados for a visa. I know how the young lady feels because my sister is already frustrated. The officials need to look into this asap!

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  6. I can fully understand why they're anxious in getting this loan. If the dealine is November 29th then they need to get the ball rolling. Medical (including chest xray, blood, pee, stool) all that needs to be checked and it DOESN'T take one day. Setting up the appointment with the embassy can't be done today for tomorrow, neither paying the flight and waiting for your visa to come back. In addition to that they really do need to confirm with the head offices in Miami that they've accepted and adequately prepared.
    Good luck!

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  7. THINK POSITIVE AND DON'T GIVE UP..IT WILL ALL WORK ITSELF OUT ON TIME..AND THOSE OF YOU WHO NEED THE LOAN TO TRAVEL WILL GET THROUGH....PUT GOD FIRST IN ALL YOU DO..AS BEN SAID EARLIER..PLEASE PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO PAY YOUR LOAN BACK TO THE BANK...VERY VERY IMPORTANT YOU DO SO..TO AVOID OTHER CANDIDATES ENCOUNTERING GETTING A LOAN FROM THE BANK..ALL THE BEST TO YOU ALL IN YOUR NEW JOB.

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  8. I undertsand the anxiety of these young persons who completed the training and have already been offered job. But I want to encourage them to remain positive and hopeful that the system will work efficiently and timely to get them the loan needed so as to start their employment. I also want to take time to wish them well and to encourage them to pay back the loans so as the next batch of young persons can benefit from the program. I also applaud the government on this initiative. Goodluck guys!!!!

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