The brilliant and innovative philanthropist, Chuck Feeney, founder of Atlantic Philanthropies, said: “Imagine having the resources to build something that can dramatically alter the lives of people, communities, and even nations.”
This is our benchmark. The Caribbean is on a path to truly exploiting maritime as a pathway for growth and poverty alleviation. Although much remains to be done, governments and policy makers have ratified many essential maritime regulations and are instituting best practices, rules and international standards that address threats, including environmental.
Also important, is the need to close the knowledge gap between the Caribbean maritime sector and the global industry, which involves contributing to and/or conducting relevant high-level interdisciplinary research and increasing its complement of global certifications.
To that end, the Caribbean—through the Caribbean Maritime University—has begun to move in that direction with the May 2017 ground-breaking of the FESTO Fact Center. The Center is a USD3M multipurpose training and productivity center that offers training in advanced skills and specialization, application based training and certification. It is the first in the Caribbean and joins four other similar centers worldwide. The Center will be a major development and learning imperative for the region that increases its competitiveness in shipping and logistics. Other global maritime conventions, such as MARPOL, that establish maritime environmental and operational protocols, are also vital to the development of the sector.
We encourage the establishment of international centers of excellence in the Caribbean that enable the maritime industry to grow, thrive and create jobs for current and future generations.