Why Micky should thank protesters who disrupted Carnival meeting

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When Micky Arison gets into his office at Carnival Corporation HQ in Miami today, the first thing he should do is sit down and write a big thank you letter.
The chairman and CEO of the biggest cruise company in the world – which owns UK brands Cunard and P&O – may not have enjoyed being harangued by activists at the annual shareholders’ meeting yesterday, but in a roundabout way they did him a huge favour.
Protesters from a group calling itself 1Miami, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, bought shares so they could attend the meeting and then lined up to ask question after question. They claimed the company was not paying its fair share of taxes. They demanded it provide more funds for a local hospital, and they wanted to know why its ships were not built in American yards.
The more irate the activists became, the more frustrated was Arison. “I’m so insulted by your question that I can’t answer,” he told one. To another, who persisted in alleging Carnival paid only 1 per cent tax, he responded: “Regardless of how many times I say we paid $400m, you’re going to ignore that?’
A woman who wanted to know how much of the company’s taxes funded the Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital, chanted “Pay your fair taxes” over and over, before having the microphone wrestled from her by bouncers.
Arison responded: “How insulting your rant has been,” and then pointed out that children at the hospital are treated in the Carnival Cares for Kids unit.
The activists were eventually ejected from the room at the W hotel in Miami Beach. But their protests meant that there was hardly any opportunity to bring up the subject of the Costa Concordia disaster during the time allotted for questions and answers.
The fatal capsize did not go unmentioned, of course. A minute’s silence was held in memory of those who died, and Arison opened the meeting by saying the past three months had been “the most difficult and challenging in our company’s history,” adding “we will learn all we can from this accident.”
He was saved from more searching questions by the diversionary tactics of 1Miami. And while he may not have been grateful to them last night, he should have cause to say a silent word of thanks as he looks in his shaving mirror this morning.

By | 2012-04-12T06:40:24+00:00 12 April 2012|Cruise news|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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