Businesses divided on cruise ship cancellation

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By Theresa Goodwin

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Traders and taxi drivers in downtown St John’s are applauding the government’s decision to bar US cruise ship Aida Perla from docking in Antigua and Barbuda on Tuesday with 3,000-plus passengers on board – despite the loss in revenue.

However, others are suggesting a more strategic approach when deciding whether or not a vessel or plane will be accepted at ports of entry.

Health authorities decided late Monday not to allow the Aida Perla – apparently carrying several passengers suffering a respiratory illness – to make its scheduled call to Antigua, days after the vessel was also denied entry in St Lucia and Dominica. It was however allowed to dock in St Vincent on Friday.

Taxi drivers and vendors at the Nevis Street and Redcliffe Quay piers told OBSERVER media yesterday that safety should always be the number one priority.

“I think the government made the right decision; it is just one ship,” a taxi driver said.

Another driver said, “It was the best decision under the circumstances, especially in light of the fact that the entire population could be affected by this dreaded virus.”

The exact illness the ship’s passengers are said to have is unclear.

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