Posted by: Admin | November 16, 2010

Money talks

 

Carnival Splendour (from Virgin Holidays website)

Cruising being a pastime for which over 50s are renowned (cruising of the big boat kind, I hasten to add!) I was interested to read last week about the fire that broke out on the cruise ship, Carnival Splendour. The 952 foot vessel was 310 km South of San Diego last Monday morning, having sailed from Long Beach, California, to spend seven days cruising the Mexican Riviera. Power supplies were cut which meant no air conditioning, no hot food, running water, phones or toilets for several hours.

Carnival Cruise Line boss, Gerry Cahill, admitted that conditions for the passengers were “very challenging”, though the 4,500 people on board were being provided with drinks, cold food and entertainment and the toilets were back in commission by the evening. All passengers would, he promised, receive a full refund. Meanwhile, supplies were being brought by US Navy helicopters, flying from the aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan.

Remains of a bridge spanning Lake Pontchartrain

I read this story on the day that George W Bush offered his apologia, via the serialisation of his autobiography, Decision Points in the Times, for his reaction to Hurricane Katrina. When the storm hit the Southern coast of Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday 29th August 2005, the speed of the rescue mission was excruciatingly slow. Most of those left behind in New

Still sporting the chalk marks left by the authorities to show the house had been searched

Orleans hadn’t the means to flee. The lucky ones managed to find refuge in shelters such as the New Orleans Convention Centre and the Louisiana Superdome where they waited for help to arrive. They had a long wait – the last of the 20,000 people to be evacuated left the Dome on the following Saturday.

The evacuation of the Dome was halted at one point on the Friday so that 700 guests and staff at the Hyatt opposite could be ferried to safety. Bush was roundly criticised at the time with many arguing that, had the residents of New Orleans been white and wealthy, the response would have been very different. I would

The tip of a roof can just be seen in the Louisiana swamp - the house had been lifted clear of its foundations and dumped hundreds of feet away by the storm

suggest that economic status played a more significant role than race – the Hyatt certainly didn’t appear to be offering hot showers and priority evacuation to anyone who couldn’t pay.

Incredible, too that the US Navy felt it appropriate to mobilise an aircraft carrier to “rescue” tourists on the Carnival who had suffered the misfortune of losing their amenities for a few hours, yet in 2005 the President held back from scrambling troops to rescue his own people who were battling one of the worst natural disasters the country had ever experienced. 275,000 homes were destroyed in that disaster. 3,299 holidays were disrupted last week. What a mad world it is.

(photographs taken in 2007 – two years after Katrina.)

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Responses

  1. Those with money make the new rules as well and new rules are coming to make it easier for those with a lot to get more. Such is the way it always has been and always will be.


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